Irreverent Scottish craft brewery, BrewDog, this week closed the fourth round of its game-changing crowdfunding scheme, Equity for Punks, with a massive £19m under its belt.
Founders of the fiercely independent brewery, James Watt and Martin Dickie, kicked off the innovative business model in 2009 as a way to scale up craft beer proliferation without relying on faceless suits at the bank. The latest round is the fourth and most ambitious installment, and has resulted in £19m raised in the course of a year.
James Watt, co-founder of BrewDog commented:
“It was a risk creating a whole new business model back in 2009, but we’re all about taking risks to make sure we’re doing things our way, the punk way, and not bowing to stuffy industry formality. It’s paid off, and we’re psyched with the results of Equity for Punks IV. No other company would be bold enough to set the bar this high.”
After a successful first three rounds of crowdfunding, the fourth has broken records along the way – being the first crowdfunding scheme to raise over £5m in under three weeks, the most money taken through crowdfunding of any other business on record overall, and the first time a company has offered equity in tandem with bonds.
BrewDog is now supported by a 42,000 strong army of Equity Punks, a group of fans evangelical about craft beer. Relying on ‘fanvestors’ has allowed BrewDog to close the gap between customers and brewers. As well as grabbing themselves a front row seat to the craft beer revolution, Equity Punks also enjoy discounts and perks such as a free pint on their birthday, and stacked benefits depending on their level of investment.
Recently named the tenth fastest growing company in the UK* with a 3-year annual profit growth of 120%, BrewDog now has 43 bars and BottleDogs globally, employs 540 people, exports to 55 countries, and brewed 65 beers in the last year alone. In 2015, sales in the UK surged by 131%, making BrewDog the number one craft brewery in the UK.
The money raised through Equity for Punks IV will be funding the building of a bigger brewery in Ellon, which will increase capacity fivefold, as well as launching BrewDog’s US brewery in Columbus, Ohio. BrewDog is investing over $30m to build its brand new brewery Stateside to help meet the demand for BrewDog beers in America.
The craft brewery will also be focusing on building a sour beer facility in Aberdeenshire, launching BrewDog’s distillery, Lone Wolf, (bespoke spirits will go into production in the next couple of weeks), and other projects such as developing the BrewDog canned beer range and growing the international bar division with new venues pencilled for Amsterdam, Malmö and Warsaw.
Despite growing fast, BrewDog still only accounts for 0.1% of the beer output of the UK, and has recently cemented its position as eternally independent by announcing an official change in constitution by passing a motion to ensure that BrewDog can ‘never be sold to a monolithic purveyor of industrial beer.’
James Watt continued:
“We’ll be ploughing the money raised into expansion across the Atlantic and pioneering new projects here in the UK. We can’t wait to launch Lone Wolf and our sour facility in Ellon, and we have some mega new cathedrals of craft on the way. Our shareholders are the absolute beating heart of our business, launching Equity for Punks was the best decision we ever made. We’ve turned more than 42,000 people into passionate brand ambassadors, and raised enough money to keep the momentum of the craft uprising going in the process. It’s a slam dunk for us and for the craft beer industry.”
BrewDog has also set its sights on new UK sites along with international ambitions. Venues will be popping up in Southampton and York in the next couple of months, and Dalston Hop Works is also in the pipeline; an epic bar and home brew shop with ten 50 litre pilot kits for Hop Heads to brew on with support from Cicerone-trained staff on site.
What is BrewDog?
Since 2007 BrewDog has been on a mission to make other people as passionate about great craft beer as we are. From the Headliner series, which includes bold, uncompromising pack leaders like the flagship Punk IPA, to the Amplified range (beer, but turned up to 11), BrewDog creates beer that blows people’s minds and has kick-started a revolution.
Cofounders James Watt and Martin Dickie shook up the business world in 2010 with the launch of pioneering crowdfunding scheme Equity for Punks, an initiative that has seen the company raise £20m over four rounds, taking more money through crowdfunding than any other on record. The funds, and the army of punk shareholders (35,000 and rising) enabled the Scottish craft brewery to scale up without selling out.
With over 40 global bar launches, export into 55 countries, and a brand new brewery in Ohio opening in August 2016, BrewDog continues to take the craft beer revolution stratospheric, whilst continuing to push the boundaries, invest in people, put the beer first, and champion other small breweries in its venues.