Magazine article Marketing

Brand Builder: BrewDog

Magazine article Marketing

Brand Builder: BrewDog

Article excerpt

Will the brewer's upfront attitude work as well in its bars as it has for its beer, asks Gemma Charles.

BrewDog, the attention-seeking Scottish brewer, is looking to extend its brand to the pub scene. The self-styled 'beacon of non-conformity' launched its first bar in London at the end of last year in typical BrewDog fashion - by sending a tank down Camden High Street - and intends to open 10 more this year.

Since arriving on the scene in 2007, BrewDog, which was founded by friends James Watt and Martin Dickie, has revelled in its status of professional mischief-maker, using PR and product launches to generate headlines.

Its stunts have included the roll- out of a pounds 10 Viagra-laced beer, Royal Virility Performance, with the strapline 'Arise Prince Willy' - a typical offering from the BrewDog publicity machine.

This approach may not be to everyone's taste, and it is not surprising that BrewDog has found itself on the wrong end of a Portman Group ruling or two, but it seems to be working. Its turnover almost doubled in 2010, to pounds 3.3m. The company predicts that 2011 turnover will be about pounds 7m. A share issue for the brewer at the end of December raised pounds 2.14m and it now hopes to gain an AIM listing in 2016.

BrewDog, which owns the Punk IPA and Hardcore IPA brands, launched as a brat and has evolved into an awkward teenager, but how should it manage its forthcoming adulthood?

We asked Lee Rolston, a former AB InBev marketer, and Richard Alford, managing director of M&C Saatchi, which held the Foster's account for 14 years until 2010.

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Two industry experts offer advice on how BrewDog can be the leader of the pack


BrewDog is one of those dream brands that oozes the philosophy and personality of the people behind it. It is the result of what the founders do and don't believe in, based on a great product about which they are passionate.

As is the case in all good stories, they also have an enemy: the big boys of brewing. In a cautious category, where there is less choice and products are becoming less challenging, BrewDog does the opposite to the big boys with its crazy stunts and stronger, more complex brews.

As it grows and becomes more mainstream, it will face the classic conundrum of how the underdog takes the lead without selling out. …

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