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Good Beer Hunting

Oct 28, 2017

Last week, GBH flew me to Aberdeen, Scotland to visit BrewDog—the fastest growing brewing company in Europe. I first visited the brewery in 2015, and what I experienced on that trip would eventually materialize as my first ever GBH story. Since then, operations at what can now only be described as BrewDog’s “campus” in the town of Ellon, around 30 minutes from Aberdeen itself, have expanded exponentially.   For starters, there’s a brand new, purpose-built brewing facility featuring a 255-barrel German brewhouse. Once fully operational, it will be brewing up to 10 times per day. Also inside this new build is a labyrinth of offices, which amongst them features a brand new lab and quality control department—the result of a $2.6 million dollar investment. There’s also Lone Wolf, BrewDog’s brand new spirits division. And the expansion doesn’t stop there. They have a standalone sour beer facility, Overworks, which is nearing completion, coolship and all. Following a comprehensive tour of these facilities, I sat down with BrewDog co-founder James Watt. You might be more familiar with his more extroverted and outspoken persona. He's prone to standing on bar tops a'la Stone's Greg Koch (a mentor of Watt’s), but on this occasion he cut a far calmer and more softly spoken figure. Over the next hour we tackle pretty much every topic BrewDog’s name has come up with over the last few months. This includes selling 22% of the company to a private equity company for £213 million, opening a brewing facility in Columbus, Ohio, and future plans to build similar operations in Australia and China. And, of course, we even discuss whether or not a multinational company with millions of dollars in investment behind it can still be considered “punk.”