Brewdog - Share your opinions

Brewdog - Share your opinions

With the recent purchase of the Stone Brewing Berlin venue Brewdog is massively expanding their stand. I am interested in your opinions regarding Brewdog, their standing in the market, their funding…

Here are some of my kick-off thoughts and questions:

  • For me personally Brewdog can be seen as McDonalds or Starbucks of the Craft Beer scene, their way of aggressively expanding and opening new venues almost every month is imperssive.

  • Breweries in UK, USA, Germany, Australia and plans for China in the next two years. Is this still craft? Shouldnt we create new categories/terms for independent brewing giants that emerged from the craft scene?

  • Beer quality wise, do you think they were better couple of years ago? How do you feel about their range? Overworks is putting out some crazy stuff, their high ABV Imperial Stouts are still stunning, core range is getting more and more adapted to the broader masses with lagers and pilsners and now an alcoholfree beer.

  • How do you feel about their marketing? To bold and aggressive? What about the British Airways deal? And also about their own “airline”?

  • Whats your opinion on their crowdbased funding? Simply an expensive membership? Or do you see the benefits? They have a big fan and drinker base that travels to all their bars, I think this concept is from a marketing point of view incredibly awesome. This is how you create customer loyalty.

  • Are you an Equity for Punk member? Would you consider it?

  • Do you think they help smaller breweries because they push the term “craftbeer” and make it appealing to broader masses or do you think their price policies harms the smaller ones? Especially in Germany I think a lot about this and in general I think it helps in the way that people getting in contact with a broader diversity try more and as well more regional beers than only sticking to the brewing giants.

These are just a few of my thoughts and I am looking forward to hear your thoughts and start a discussion.
We on Ratebeer are beer nerds, we tend to stick to the smaller ones, I explained my struggle with these “inbetweeners” like Brewdog so I have mixed feelings.


It’s not quantity - it’s process. AB in St. Louis runs a chemical plant where faucets are electronically turned to add water to a beer stream to affect ABV (and other similar things occur). One mass production of alcohol is modified through the plant to change the original fermentation result into various things. Contrast Sierra Nevada.

  • For me personally Brewdog can be seen as McDonalds or Starbucks of the Craft Beer scene, their way of aggressively expanding and opening new venues almost every month is imperssive

I find it good. I also consider BD as the Starbucks of Craft Beers. It is somehow good to know that wherever you go, you can find a BD pub which serves (more or less) good beer. That said, I will probably not visit any BD bar outside Berlin, unless they offer a huge local selection. For example, if in UK, there’s no need to visit BD, same in Belgium.

For me craft is small and independent. Anyway, there are several good big, but independent breweries. I do not care if craft or not. I care if I like it or not.

Yes and no. Yes, Punk IPA was better with the previous recipe. No, there was - and there is still - no need to pump a bottle up to a squirrel ass to sell some bottle. Yes, new creations and one-off are pretty interesting now, more than before. No, their core range and their lager range is meh

I don’t care about marketing. I drink beer. They are very good with it, but they did not gain a cent from me because of marketing. I drink BD when I want to drink BD. No matter what.

  • Do you think they help smaller breweries because they push the term “craftbeer” and make it appealing to broader masses or do you think their price policies harms the smaller ones?

A 0,5 of Punk Ipa costs in Berlin 5,60 euro. A random Franconian beer at Foester’s cost 5 euro max. No, they are not cheaper than German small breweries. I will not compare them to small craft breweries because BD is way to big to be compared. BD is like Augustiner, both big and independent. Comapring BD to - let’s say - Berliner Berg is like comparing apples with strawberries

Especially in Germany I think a lot about this and in general I think it helps in the way that people getting in contact with a broader diversity try more and as well more regional beers than only sticking to the brewing giants.

People in Germany visit BD not for the beers themselves, but for the atmosphere, for the pizzas, for the super nice location. I’ve been a couple of times with friends and colleague who are not into craft beer. While I was having only 0,2 pours of special releases and guest drafts, they were like “Oh, I took that red ale… what’s the name again? Well, the amber one you know?” “5 A.M. Saint you mean?” “Oh yes, nevermind. Why using such complicate names when it’s just an amber ale?” (real conversation with a colleague from UK.

We already do that here by adding the new group name in the Brewer’s name, just like with do with acquisition from macrobrewers…

Well this is the most extreme comparison one can draw :wink: - but I agree with the process term, everyone business wants to grow.

Thats a good point. I feel the same way. If I am in a new city and wnat a quick coffee, I always now I can quickly hit Starbucks for a decent black coffee. Same with Brewdog, but I much more prefer to try local bars and breweries.

Like or not like is the big thing. Why do people drink massproduced boring pale lagers? Because they like it. Thats we I wanted to raise the discussion of craft size. Dogfish Head and Sam Adams just announced they will merge, both recognized as craft brewers.

Punk IPA just got a new slight recipe change as i understood or more or less a filtering differentiation. It is is little more hazy now. But I havent tried it yet. When it is super fresh on tap in BD bars I still really enjoy it. For core and lager range I agree. The squirrel thing was 12 bottles and a marketing stunt, so nothing to sell more bottles. I will go to BD today in Berlin to try a BBA IS and I guess it will be awesome.

Good comparison with Augustiner. I would never compare them to Berliner Berg as well. About cost, craft is always considered to be more expensive, due to various reasons, no one ever said this raises quality, especially fine franconian lagers are unbeaten.

Uhh thats a great point, I didnt really consider from my bubble, but thats very true. Easy, uncomplicated yet good “fast food” along a good beer, and we germans are in. The naming is another thing we in germany never had. It always to be “a Pils please”. Big culture differencies here, germans werent for a long time really deep in to high food and drink quality, they just didnt bother. In comparison to for example Belgium or UK, they always had a different attitude towards beer.

Yes I know and thats a very important “feature” but it was not what i wanted to raise. At the moment we consider a brewery with 5000hl per year and a brewing giant like BD with 10times the amount as “craft breweries”. Well we terms like, micro, macro, regional and what else, but I wanted to implicate that craft isnt craft in all terms. In Germany we have a small group of brewers that call themselves “Deutsche Kreativbrauer” or german creative brewers and they want to demarcate themselves from the term craft which is taken over by the big industry.

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They suck! That is all!

I hear this from many people who avoid them. But why? That’s why I started this thread. I layed down my own suspicions towards Brewdog amd I wanna hear different opinions. Well „they suck“ is an opinion but not very in-depth :wink:

Working in German craft beer I am really interested how people think about Brewdog and their way of dealing with local markets. Especially from an UK perspective as it’s their home market.
I see way more potential and market power in Brewdog here in germany as in Stone‘s approach. That’s why I am interested. Stone did a lot of pioneer work here and now Brewdog takes over a nearly new, awesome brewery and venue and they have the market power in the back. Really interested in how they will compete on the market.

24 BD rates …3.38 average (which is an Ok average for a brewery in my book) and nothing since 2014 so stale expensive imports no doubt … expert opinion offered here !

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Putting a beer in a dead squirrel truly turned me off though I have drank beers from them since.

Fixed it for ya!

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Agreed. Calling them the Starbucks of craft beer is such a good analogy.

Yes I still class them as craft. Of course, they are far bigger than pretty much every other craft brewery in Europe. But compared to giants like ABI, Heineken etc. and their processes, they are still very small and very much craft.
If you mean a term in between microbrewery and macro/commercial I don’t really know what we’d call it.

Not an easy straight answer to this. Part of the problem here is that BD pump out sooo many beers now, especially if you count in Fanzine stuff. A lot of these were fairly average, few I’d say were very good. This could be why some people perceive them as worse now. But the point is, they can still produce fantastic beers. And I agree, their Imperial Stouts are largely great. They just have a whole bunch of mediocre beers too.

Overworks is cool. I’m not big into these sorts of beers though, but they seem to be getting fairly decent feedback.

Core range - yeah I’m not a fan of how it’s been changing, but then, am I (or any of us) really the target market for them any more? Unlikely. Core range is targeted towards random purchases in supermarkets, and drawing away the lager drinkers from their usual. For that reason, putting more lagers and such in it makes a lot of sense. Most people should like them, then they might be inclined to try Punk, then they might move on to more weird and wonderful styles and embrace craft.
So while I personally don’t care for it, from a business perspective I’m glad they are doing this.

I don’t care for it at all. I’ve never felt like I was in the target market for it so never really paid attention. I get why they do it though. People love bold and aggressive stuff and at the very least it garners attention from non-beery people.
As for the airline, I dunno, it’s kinda cool/weird/gimmicky all at the same time. Again, I personally don’t care for it.

Agreed. Very cool part of their business.

Yes I am. At this stage I’m not sure it’s as attractive to newer investors as it once was. But certainly people who invested in earlier stages have (or have the potential to) make a ton of profit from their shares based on how much the company has grown since then. I can only see BD continuing to grow (as mentioned above with bars all over the world and new breweries). Unlike most craft breweries, I don’t consider it a risky investment in the slightest, they are extremely well positioned in the market and experience strong growth.
Also, the amount of money I’ve saved over the years (20% discount online, 10% in bars, among other discounts) is probably quite significant now.

Well I can’t speak for the German viewpoint, but in the UK I think they are largely responsible for making craft beer a thing. Their core range is now easily available in every supermarket in the country and well priced so that people who only want cheap lager will consider buying them, they have bars in most major cities. They’re a recognisable and (mostly) trusted brand.

I don’t think their pricing policy harms smaller breweries but that’s just my feeling, perhaps it does, I don’t know. As I said above, I don’t think their core range is targeting the same segment of the craft beer market, so the fact that BD beers are so cheap probably isn’t a problem. BD’s one-offs / specials are priced around the same point as any other craft beer of similar strength and style etc.

Yeah I get the impression a lot of people have mixed feelings around BD. I do too, but I think it’s mostly positive to be fair.
The negatives would be the marketing (which I just don’t really care about) as some of their past stunts have been pretty stupid, though they were good enough to acknowledge some of these (pink IPA was weird, the US/Mexico border thing was ridiculous) - these failures don’t sit well with consumers but then again most have probably forgotten them already…
Quality is the other thing, it’s a mixed bag. Not many BD beers I’d say are truly poor though. Many are average, many are good…

Since my response above I came across a Twitter thread with some marketing agencies getting ripped off by BD and not being paid etc. If true then BD are looking very much like the bad guys here, guess we’ll have to wait and see what comes of it. It’s all a bit he said she said at the moment. And according to this article the firms split amicably a couple of months ago. So perhaps it’s a non-story… who knows…

Screenshots of the thread here
Original twitter thread:

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Was the separate thread on this deleted? What the fuck?

Completely different breweries and issues.

Sorry, my mistake

Yes. I would never compare them to the likes of Heineken, AB InBev etc. - but comparing them to small operation craft brewers who really brew “crafty” and not machine controlled it is a huge difference.

Agreed. Core range is essential to feed your more extravagant products, the likes we geeks wanna try.

Everyone always says I dont care for marketing but in the end it does something to us, if we wanna admit or not. It might not change behaviour patterns drastically but it does at least makes us rethink stuff. Bold and aggressive is the term and it wasnt only good stunts they pulled. On the other hand I think, at least they do what they want and try be sort of punk/rebels despite being as commercial already a punk never would be :wink:

To the EFP part:
Of course shares have grown exponentially for the earlier investers but as you slightly mentioned, so far they dont make “a ton of profit” they just have the potential to. BD isnt listed on the stock market or anything else, it is hard to sell or trade shares, so it remains a membership at the moment. But I agree 25$ dont hurt anyone and it gets you good Discounts if you really go or order regularly.

I am not yet an EFP but I am considering to invest in this round. Not for benefits or even less not to make profit but for the good fight against big beer and Brewdog is doing a good job in this case.

Well, as I cant speak for the UK viewpoint thats what I am interested in. Thanks.

That! We can have mixed feelings, we can say we dont liek your marketing or your beers, but in the end they produce well-crafted beers. Yes many average ones but again, we are a tiny bubble in the microcosmos of craftbeer.

Expensive, out of date beers that collect dust on shelves here. That’s what I think of when someone says Brewdog.

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Yet, you rated your BD beers extremely well:

Just kidding a little and putting everything out of context. It is 5 years since your last BD rate and I agree partly with shelf sitting and dust collecting part. Problem of the business, craft is or better should be about freshness, if you wanna grow you cant avoid supermarkets and then your beers obviously can turn into what you described.