BrewDog has never done business the way other companies do. Now, co-founder James Watt has written a ‘staff manual’ to share how they think, work and create craft beers. Want to get a taster? We’ve got a short extract of their story so far, below:
2006: THE BEGINNING
Armed with a cobbled together 50L brew in Martin’s mum’s garage, in 2006 we (James and Martin) set out to recreate our favourite beer at the time, Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. We could not find many beers we wanted to drink in the UK back then so we decided the best thing to do was brew our own. In October we met the legendary beer expert Michael Jackson (not the pop star!) and we let him taste a whisky barrel aged stout we had made at home. He tasted it, put the glass down slowly, looked us squarely in the eyes and told us to quit our jobs and start making beer full time. So we did.
Things started getting crazy for us in 2008 and they’ve stayed crazy ever since. We masterminded the UK’s strongest ever beer, Tokyo, resulting in a huge media storm and – if you believe the headlines – the downfall of Western civilisation. Despite this, we started exporting to Sweden, Japan and America and we told some lies to a bank so we could get some money to buy our first proper bottling machine.
Opening our first craft beer bar in our home town of Aberdeen was a dream come true, and we were blown away by the response from our community. We held our first AGM for our Equity Punk shareholders, picked up the Gold Medal for Hardcore IPA at the World Beer Cup, and brewed a 55% abv beer packed in roadkill, fusing art, craft beer and taxidermy to make it the world’s most expensive beer ever.
After BrewDog Aberdeen worked out kind of ok, we opened bars in Glasgow and Camden. In true BrewDog style we announced our arrival in the capital by driving down Camden High Street in a tank. We brewed a beer at the bottom of the ocean, dispensed a 28% abv beer from a modified deer’s head and started building our eco-brewey. We also welcomed 5,000 new shareholders, raising over £2.2 million with our second round of Equity for Punks.
As part of our commitment to transparency, with the revolutionary DIY Dog, we gave away the recipe in full for every single beer we had ever made. We also installed a new 300 hectorlitre brewhouse in Ellon and built an amazing craft distillery. We also launched the amazing Elvis Juice, started building our new brewery in America and opened six great new BrewDog bars.
MY NAME IS ELVIS
The Elvis Presley Trust sued us for using Elvis’ name on one of our beers and demanded a licence fee for every can we sold. Martin and myself (James) both legally changed our name to Elvis and sent them a letter back asking them for a licence fee for using our name on all of their music. Case closed.
2020 AND BEYOND…
Our first 12 years have been a pretty crazy ride. Here’s to the next 12…
Read the rest of James and Martin’s story, and find out how they use unconventional marketing to reach new customers and spread the word about their bars and pubs in BE. MORE. BREWDOG., out now, published by Ebury Press.
See a full list of BrewDog pubs on our website here, including the outpost in Bristol, which is featured in the Good Pub Guide itself.