By Daniel Hunter

SABMiller, the world's second largest brewery firms, has bought London craft beer brewer Meantime for an undisclosed amount.

The popularity of craft beer has surged in recent years and SABMiller said the takeover allows it to enter the "fastest-growing segment of the UK beer market".

The deal, which is expected to be completed in June, will see SABMiller expand production to achieve national sales and eventually export to Europe.

Meantime saw sales rise 58% in 2014, compared to the UK beer market average of 1%.

Meantime's founder Alastair Hook and chief executive Nick Miller will continue to run it as a separate company. SABMiller said it was aware that independence contributes massively to the popularity of craft beers, and did not want to affect it.

Sue Clark, managing director of SAB Europe, said: “Nick Miller, Alastair Hook and their team have built a strong sense of pride and identity within Meantime, which has an excellent reputation for brewing consistently high-quality beers and for industry-leading innovation. This expertise will boost our strategy to develop beers that appeal to more people, including women, and which can be attractive alternatives to wine and spirits.”