This past weekend, BrewDog USA, the American branch of UK-based BrewDog, brewer of Punk IPA, the No. 1 craft beer in the UK, hosted an event for investors at their recently constructed U.S. headquarters for operations and brewing just outside Columbus, Ohio. The event, known as AGM (annual general mayhem) was thrown for BrewDog USA’s shareholders, known as Equity Punks, to celebrate their entrance into the U.S. market, their fans who are helping to make this entrance go from dream to reality, and the city and people of Columbus. CBB attended as a guest to get a sense of what BrewDog USA is bringing to Columbus and more generally America and what their unique funding strategy is all about.
Equity for Punks USA is BrewDog USA’s attempt to source investment from the people closest to their business – the people who drink their beer. Becoming a shareholder provides benefits ranging from invitations to their yearly AGM events to discounts at all BrewDog breweries around the world, not to mention the financial benefits of investing in a quickly growing brand in the global craft beer market (BrewDog has been the fastest growing food and drinks company in the UK for the past 5 years).
The BrewDog Equity Punks we talked to weren’t men dressed in suits and carrying briefcases handing out business cards with the words Greed is Good written on their backs. Instead they were middle class Columbus locals, fans of craft beer happy to see a company like BrewDog coming to their city, creating jobs and great beer. And if their small investment (options ranging from $95 to $50,000) grew with BrewDog’s success, all the better.
The BrewDog USA team, which includes BrewDog co-founders James Watt and Martin Dickie along with CFO Neil Simpson and Head of Production Tim Hawn, presented themselves as having a desire to do things differently. The BrewDog mantra of challenging the status quo and wanting to stay independent while blazing a trail ahead in the craft beer market resonates with the craft beer ethos in America, and while their attitude can at times be irreverent their approach to business is serious. The shareholder information pamphlet, a well-designed 24-page explanation of BrewDog USA, includes all the details anyone seriously considering an investment in a business might want to know. Mission statement, sales projections, product portfolio, growth in global reach, investment tiers with benefits and management bios are all included.
We left the celebration that evening impressed by what the company had achieved in such a short time (since its founding in the UK in 2007) and happy to see that such a passionate community had already developed here in the U.S. around their business model. With $1 billion brewery sales and Beer Voltron mergers in the craft beer industry, it’s nice to see a company taking a more populist approach to expansion and we look forward to the relationship between BrewDog USA and their fans in Columbus, OH growing. Here are a ton more photos of the celebration.