Beyond the Brand: BrewDog

Name: BrewDog

Written by: Mark Lupton



BrewDog is an award-winning, independent craft beer company founded in Aberdeen in 2007 by James Watt and Martin Dickie. They operate four breweries and more than 100 bars worldwide.

Why is it called BrewDog? The two young entrepreneurs met at school and went to university together. Reportedly the first microbrewers in Scotland, they launched their company, when they were both 24 years old, from a small industrial unit. They were accompanied by their pet dog – hence the company name of  BrewDog.

How did they start? The business had relatively lowly beginnings, with the pair selling their craft beers at farmers’ markets, from the back of their van. Their first beer was Punk IPA, which kick-started the company, its popularity allowing them to strike up a deal to supply Tesco. The beer was a big hit and orders from other supermarkets followed, leading to further expansion and diversification into other beers, which allowed them to go global.

What’s the company worth now? In 2011, they offered crowdfunding shares through an investment program called Equity for Punks to raise money. People who bought the shares received other benefits, such as discounts in BrewDog bars and when they purchased the beers online. The company is now valued around the £2 billion mark.

Famed for its innovative and headline-grabbing marketing campaigns, Watt and Dickie have become known as the hell-raisers of the craft beers. They have launched a hotel, a chartered airline, a distillery, virtual pubs and a streaming service.

Any other interesting detail? Notwithstanding the company’s disruptive reputation, the founders have shown their sensitive side by donating millions of pounds to charitable causes throughout the world. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, they showed their creativity again by making hand sanitiser at their distillery in Aberdeen in response to the national shortage.  The hand sanitiser was, of course, nicknamed BrewGel.