BrewDog’s ninth annual general meeting — dubbed the Annual General Mayhem — saw more than 8,000 of its Equity Punk investors from around the world descend on the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre for a celebration of beer, food and music.
Co-founders James Watt and Martin Dickie took to the stage to deliver the financial reports from 2017, as well as announce a series of exciting developments for 2018 and beyond.
One of the announcements drawing the largest round of applause was BrewDog’s move into cider production, as James Watt confirmed the brewer has invested in London-based cider company, Hawkes.
BrewDog’s investment in Hawkes means the cidery is now owned by BrewDog, with founder Simon Wright maintaining his role at the helm.
Hawkes is a five-year-old London-based cider business with a portfolio of six products, including the UK’s first co-fermented beer and cider hybrid.
The brand name and label design will remain in place, and all existing staff are to retain their roles. BrewDog will offer support from its senior team and resources to help grow the brand and business, both in the UK and internationally.
Other business updates included BrewDog’s 2017 financial results. Last year was a banner year for BrewDog, with sales up by 78% and overall revenue up 55% on 2016.
The brewery’s flagship beer Punk IPA has been the best-selling craft beer in the UK off-trade for the last three years, and currently, five of the top ten best-selling craft beers in the UK off trade are BrewDog beers.
BrewDog’s remarkable growth has been powered by its record-breaking Equity for Punks crowdfunding initiative, which has seen the brewery raise over £55million since 2009. Last October, the brewery launched its fifth round of Equity for Punks, looking to raise a target £10m to further its global expansion. As of today, this latest round of Equity for Punks has raised over £14 million from more than 31,000 investors.
Last week, BrewDog launched Fanzine, a one-of-kind beer club that will deliver three, brand new beers to subscribers every fortnight. More than 3,000 craft beer fans have already subscribed to Fanzine in less than a week.
The AGM also marked the official launch of OverWorks, BrewDog’s new sour beer facility, located at its Aberdeenshire HQ. Head brewer Richard Kilcullen, formerly of North Carolina’s Wicked Weed brewery, presented OverWorks’ first releases in a series of tastings with Equity Punks. The OverWorks taproom was also previewed to Equity Punks on Friday in an exclusive event for shareholders.
Hawkes Cider founder, Simon Hawkes
At the AGM, James and Martin updated the crowd on the continued success of BrewDog USA, based in Columbus, Ohio. The brewery will be opening two bars in Columbus over the next four weeks, and its much-anticipated craft beer hotel — The DogHouse — is scheduled to open later this year.
BrewDog also announced that it has grown its American distribution to six states — Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, New York, New Jersey and Kentucky.
Finally, it announced plans for several new bars, as well as updates on the progress of sites already in construction. Bars scheduled to open in 2018 include: Inverurie, Aberdeenshire; Peterhead, Aberdeenshire; Perth; St Andrews; Glasgow (the site will feature ten pilot homebrewing kits where visitors can try their hands at brewing beer); Edinburgh Airport; Manchester; Brixton; Essex Road, London; Tower Hill, London; Franklinton, Columbus, Ohio; Short North, Columbus, Ohio; Seoul, South Korea; Paris, France; Barcelona Airport, Spain; Norrkoping, Sweden; and Reykjavik, Iceland.
BrewDog co-founder, James Watt, said: “Hawkes has grown a distinctive, bold and innovative business in an industry full of conformity, timidity and tradition. Our additional firepower will not only enable Hawkes to expand the reach of its incredible ciders, but also provide the opportunity to really make an indelible mark on the evolution of cider in the UK.”
Simon Wright, Hawkes’ founder, added: “Our history and mission parallels that of BrewDog, so this unification is truly a meeting of like minds. We are in an industry that has, for far too long, allowed ‘big’ cider and mass market products to hold back innovation and growth.
“I’ve long been impressed by BrewDog’s attitude and approach to challenging the status quo of beer in the UK and around the world. Just like us, they stand up for those who want to break free, make a difference and take the cider scene into an entirely new era. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”