BrewDog is officially a big deal. Over the past two days the self-styled Scottish punk brewer has raised more than £1m as part of its latest investment round, which sees it poised to become the biggest equity crowdfunded business of all time.
More than 1,000 new investors came on board in just 48 hours, helping take BrewDog towards its short-term target of £10m and further stretch goal of £50m. Describing this latest funding round as the beginning of a “new era of business”, BrewDog will use the money to fund the construction of new breweries in Australia and Asia, as well as increasing the capacity of its brewery in Ellon, Aberdeenshire.
The investment will also fund the opening of 15 new craft beer bars in the UK and the development of its first sour beer facility – The Overworks – which is scheduled to launch later this year.
To date the wider BrewDog empire spans 47 bars worldwide, a second brewery in Columbus, Ohio and its Lone Wolf Distillery for gin and vodka, all supported by £41m of crowdfunding generated since 2009.
Such is the brewer’s success that in April BrewDog sold a 22% stake in the company to private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners, valuing the business at £1bn.
How then can a company valued at £1bn, which has been the UK’s fastest growing food and drinks company for the past five years and whose flagship Punk IPA is the number one selling beer in UK supermarkets, still call itself an independent craft brewer?
How to stay “craft”
The tug of war over the term “craft” rages on. In September Ab InBev-owned Camden Town Brewery said it wanted to transcend its “craft beer tag” as it went live with its first above the line campaign. The reverse was true for Danish beer giant Carlsberg, which in August positioned itself as the “original craft brewery” in a bid to premiumise its offering.