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BrewDog to open first U.S. brewery

Large_brewdog-logoLife could not be better for James Watt and Martin Dickie the outrageous co-owners of Scotland’s BrewDog Brewery. The duo has a popular program on the Esquire television network, are known for making enormously alcoholic brews (their Nuclear Tactical Penguin once held the title for beer with the highest ABV) and are insanely likeable as beer personalities. On their home turf of Europe, the gregarious Scots have opened a slew of BrewDog pubs with more on the slate to open soon. But, for Americans, the latest news may be the most exciting: yesterday BrewDog announced plans to open a brewing facility near Columbus, Ohio.

In the formal announcement, released June 30, 2015, the company detailed its plans to finance part of the expansion through crowd funding, a method that they have used in the past to great success.

“Our international expansion plans have always been ambitious, but our intentions stateside are probably up there with some of the most ambitious, bombastic, exciting ventures we’ve ever embarked upon,” said Watts of the project. “America has one of the world’s most eclectic, energetic beer scenes imaginable, and we’re psyched to be pledging allegiance to the craft beer revolution in the USA. Planet BrewDog just gained a continent.”

Read the entire press release below:

(Columbus, OH) – Scottish brewery announces details of USA expansion plans

Scottish craft brewery, BrewDog today formally announced its plans to open its North American headquarters and first production facility outside the UK in Canal Winchester, located in the Columbus Region of Ohio. The brewery was inundated with enquiries after it revealed preliminary plans for its USA expansion earlier this month, with the BrewDog Facebook page noting unprecedented shares of the story, reaching more than 150,000 people.

BrewDog’s investment in the brewing facility in Columbus will total $30.4million, including the construction of a 100,000 square foot facility in Canal Winchester, to be completed by August 2016. The site will be the main brewing site for all BrewDog USA’s beer production, as well as boasting a restaurant, taproom and visitor centre.

The launch of BrewDog USA will generate 125 jobs at the Canal Winchester site, and the brewery has announced that it is recruiting for some senior positions immediately.

Applications for the role of CEO, BrewMaster, VP of Sales and CFO are welcome by emailing usajobs@brewdog.com, and prospective Brewers, Packaging Operators and Lab & Quality Managers are invited to get in contact via the same email address.

The site in Ohio will initially serve the U.S. market with potential to export to other countries. It will produce more than 85,200 barrels in its first year of production, increasing capacity in years 2 and 3 until it reaches 852,000 barrels.

Economic development partners in the project include JobsOhio, Columbus 2020 and the City of Canal Winchester.

Columbus based, Triad Architects has been appointed to develop the design for the brewery and headquarters. Hiring for the brewery’s USA site will begin in 2016 and will include positions in production, sales and management.

The crowdfunding revolution

BrewDog has announced that it will be funding the American expansion in part using finance raised via a U.S crowdfunding round; Equity for Punks USA. Last month it launched a landing page for more information about the scheme, which it hopes to open later this year. Interested potential investors can sign up for more information via brewdog.com/equityforpunksusa

Equity for Punks has enabled the brewery to expand as quickly as it has done, and the fourth round of funding opened in Europe in April this year. In the first three weeks after launch, the brewery raised a world record-breaking £5million, a fifth of its £25million target. The amount raised broke the previous record set by BrewDog in 2013, when it raised £4.25 million (less costs) in just over six months.

With the latest round of Equity for Punks, 526,316 shares in BrewDog have been made available, for a minimum investment of £95 for two shares.

The capital raised from investors will be used to fund in particular the expansion of the BrewDog brewery and its international bar division, as well as launching new projects like a craft beer hotel, custom sour beer facility and a distillation plant.

 

 

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Posted by on July 1, 2015 in Craft Beer Brewery

 

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BrewDogs; an exclusive conversation

BREW DOGS_JamesandMartinAnyone that has spent a few minutes perusing the videos at the website for BrewDogs’ website knows that owners James Watt and Martin Dickie are a bit eccentric. Those very eccentricities are what drew producers Steve Stockman, Chris Burke and Jared Cotton of Custom/Redtail Partners LLC to reach out to them for a new beer-centered television program for the Esquire Network.

“It has to be put into the context of the UK,” Watts said when asked about their image. “The UK doesn’t have anything like the craft beer culture that you’ve got in

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the US. In the UK before 2007, you had two options; you could have industrial generic beer or you could have cask beer. We just didn’t have the excitement, the diversity, or the innovation that was happening in the US. So, we wanted to capture some of that.”

According to Watts, the UK beer scene was stuffy and overly conservative; cask ales and bitters and big name brewers who wanted to keep it that way dominated it. Indeed there are legions of cask ale fans led by members of the Campaign for Real Ale, also known as CAMRA, that shudder at the very thought of changing the status quo. But, throughout the British Isles, there is a growing movement for American-style craft beers.

“A lot of what we did was designed to shake it up,” Watts continued. “How we could sort of cut through that clutter was by doing things that were a bit edgy, a bit provocative and a bit controversial. We had fun doing them and we did them for the sake of getting more people enjoying craft beer in the UK.”

Some of the methods BrewDogs’ founders caught the attention of the UK and the world includes creating some of the world’s strongest beers. It began with a beer called Tactical Nuclear Penguin, which weighed in at an outrageous 32 percent ABV and ended with the almost unimaginably strong End of the World that garnered an ABV of 55 percent. Brewed through a process known as ice-distillation in which the fermented beer is frozen leaving mostly alcohol and removing the diluting water, End of the World has the distinction of having been packaged in stuffed animals much to the ire of animal groups everywhere.

Long the bane of UK drinks industry watchdog the Portman Group, BrewDog challenged allegations that they had breached the Code of Practice set forth by the group that is mostly funded by large beverage corporations. After successfully clearing their name, Watts and Dickie set out to, “…give them something worth banning us for,” and introduced a beer named Speedball after the drug practice. Portman promptly banned the brew and BrewDog renamed it Dogma, but not after getting considerable marketing mileage out of the situation.

Another way the pair got their story out was via videos they shot themselves and posted to their website. The videos, mostly less than five minutes in length, center on the outlandish personalities of the two friends and their struggles to remain at the peak of the craft beer scene in the UK.

“We just made them ourselves,” Watts said. “The production company saw the video content and quite liked it. We got in touch, then we put together a pilot episode and pitched to a few networks. We were lucky enough that the Esquire Network liked it and so we decided to go ahead and make the show.”

The program set to begin airing September 24, centers around Watts and Dickie as they travel around the US meeting with brewers, beer enthusiasts and passers-by. “We took craft beer out to people and places who might not normally drink craft beer like old folks homes, busses, golf courses. It was all part of our mission. Hopefully people will think it is funny and enjoy it.”

When asked how they arrived at some of the show ideas, Watts replied in characteristic style. “Well, we’ve got a lot of messed up things in our heads. We wanted to do things that were a little audacious, we wanted to push the boundaries, to push the envelope and do some things that had never been done before. “

From a quick look at the episode descriptions, boundaries have definitely been pushed. Currently there are seven episodes, each based in and around a particular city. In each city, the Scots team up with a local brewery to make a beer, often in very unorthodox fashion. In San Diego, Calif. for instance, the Scots board a train traveling 70 mph up the Pacific coast and brew a beer with kelp and the world’s hottest pepper. In Seattle, they create the world’s most caffeinated beer on the top deck of the Bainbridge Island Ferry. In addition, in Portland, they brew a Berlinerweiss while floating down the Willamette River in a raft made of beer kegs.

However, perhaps the most iconic beer Watts and Dickie made while in the US was the one they brewed in Philadelphia.

“We wanted to make the ultimate American beer,’ Watts explained. “We brewed it on the fourth of July. We found an old recipe and also worked with a DNA expert who encoded the Declaration of Independence 330 million times onto DNA which we added to the beer.”

As a tribute to the US, a beer with 330 million copies of the Declaration of Independence ranks pretty high.

A particularly poignant component to making the show for the brewers from Scotland was that the show gave them the opportunity to visit and participate in the craft beer scene in America first hand.

“We were massively inspired by the new wave of American beers back in 2007 when we started out as just two humans and a dog. The cool thing about the show is that we were able to visit and make beer with the people who inspired us to quit our day jobs and start making beer in the first place.”

Back in the UK, the craft beer scene is just starting to take off. Over the past few years, small breweries have been starting up and making some remarkable beers. “It’s definitely changing over in the UK,” Watts said. “And it’s so much fun to be part of that change.”

“We’re insanely passionate about what we do. We are on a mission to find other people who are as passionate as we are.” Watts said as the reason the show is based in America. “We came out to the US because the whole craft beer movement is so far ahead. There are so many beers and styles. It’s a fun place to hang out.”

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2013 in Brewers

 

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Beer gimmicks: the good, the bad, the bizarre

aprihopIn the world of beer, there are many whacky ideas. Just recently the Internet was all atwitter with news that some enterprising soul (pun intended) had decided to start brewing Star Trek themed beers. But, there have been many other odd, misguided and downright bad beer ideas. Some are almost to unbelievable too be true, but be assured, they are.

Not surprisingly the majority of beer gimmicks are brought to you by the mega brewers such as Anhueser-Busch, Miller and Coors. The big dogs always seem to be chasing each other’s tails, each trying to out gimmick the other. Who could forget the Bud Light bottle with a label that features a blank spot for you to write your name with a finger nail or key? As if the beer would last long enough to require a name tag. Or what about the Vortex bottle from Miller Lite? The advertising for this bottle claimed it “lets the great pilsner taste flow right out.” But, does that mean that it flows more quickly than it did before or that it merely comes out of the bottle? The jury is out. And then there is the gimmick that seems to draw the most attention – both positive and negative – the Coors Light Cold-Activated can. This beauty has graphics of mountains that turn blue when the beer is cold. The geniuses in marketing seem to have forgotten that most folks keep their brew in an ice chest or refrigerator meaning that the mountains are blue most of the time.

But, the domestic mega brewer have not cornered the market on beer gimmicks, There are plenty of other breweries that have marketed their brews with gimmicks. Scottish brewing mad scientists Brew Dog have been pushing the envelope of alcohol content in beer for years with soaring ABVs, But oddly, that is not the biggest gimmick. The brewery actually took bottles of their 55% ABV beer called The End of History and stuffed them inside a real squirrel or stoat. PETA members were appalled.

Other breweries are slightly less ambitious with their gimmicks than using stuffed animals as decanters and, to a degree some might call them trends rather than gimmicks. That is for you to decide. But, a gimmick that seems to have gained quite a bit of traction is the notion of barrel-aging beer. At first brewers gravitated mostly towards whisky and scotch barrels to age their beer. This process imparts complex flavors from residual liquors in the barrels and the wood of the barrels themselves. But, of late, brewers have begun taking the barrel-aging craze a step further by employing everything from gin to tequila barrels – not that there is anything wrong with that. Brews that have become legendary because of the barrel-aging include 3 Floyds Dark Lord and Cigar City Hunahphu.

An emerging gimmick – or trend if it makes you feel better – is that of fruit flavored IPAs. Seminal Delaware brewer Dogfish Head has had an apricot flavored IPA on the market for a few years with its Aprihop. Word has it that there is another fruit-flavored IPA coming from Sam Calgione’s off-centered brewery soon. Another brewer that has infused fruit into its IPA is Burnt Hickory Brewing of Kennesaw, Ga. The brewery’s Didjits is brewed with blood oranges and is said to not surprisingly have a bitter citrus flavor.

Gimmicks and beer seem to go hand-in-hand, so we may as well get used to it. That is not to say they are all bad. Who could argue with the genius of ageing beer in liquor barrels or infusing fresh new flavors? But, some truly are outlandish. Then again, if vented, wide-mouth cans help you to enjoy your beer more, who are we to judge?

 
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Posted by on June 8, 2013 in Beer

 

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No Beer at the Wedding

OK, so I can sort of see why beer is not “appropriate for a Royal Wedding.” But, as a commentor to this blog entry points out, Britain is kinda known for it’s beer.

Guess Billy won’t be getting his Viagra beer after all. Pity.

http://petebrown.blogspot.com/2011/04/beer-not-appropriate-for-royal-wedding.html

 
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Posted by on April 25, 2011 in Beer News

 

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Britain’s Brew Dog Brewery, Defining Randy Brits

Not long ago I posted a link about a beer being produced specifically for the upcoming Royal Wedding. I thought that that one was a bit out there. Well, the brewmaster at Britain’s Brew Dog Brewery has topped it. He is planning on brewing a beer with Viagra and several other well-known aphrodisiacs in it.

Wonder if Prince Willie will need any of that on the night of his nuptials. Somehow, I doubt it. I mean, have you seen Kate?

Read the whole story here:

http://www.brewdog.com/blog-article/royal-virility-performance-celebrating-the-royal-wedding-big-willy-style

 
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Posted by on April 19, 2011 in Beer News, Events

 

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