From today (26 March), BrewDog will take full ownership of the entire Draft House estate of 14 bars across London and the south-east.
All 213 of Draft House employees will join BrewDog, and the brewer will offer all Draft House staff Cicerone training, as well as support if they wish to apply to the Institute of Brewing and Distilling (IBD) and the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP).
David McDowall, managing director of BrewDog bars, will also become managing director of Draft House, taking the reigns from founder Charlie McVeigh.
The deal values the Draft House brand in the region of £15m, according to The Morning Advertiser’s sister site, MCA.
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Same, but different
McDowall said: “At BrewDog, we are obsessed with making other people as passionate about craft beer as we are and, in speaking with the Draft House team, we recognised that there was a great opportunity to combine our efforts and really have an impact on the UK bar landscape by working together.
“Draft House has got an incredible team of engaged people and we’ll be doing everything we can to empower them in their business and offer them the support they need to achieve their career goals. The two most important things for us are our beer and our people and we’re excited to extend that to our new family at Draft House and would like to offer a massive welcome to every single one of them.”
BrewDog plans to invest in the current Draft House sites and may look to expand on them in future. The beer selection will be different from BrewDog bars, but with the same focus on independent craft beer from around the world.
The Draft House teams will also be invited to contribute to the development and brew days for a series of beers brewed at BrewDog’s HQ in Aberdeenshire, with the resulting beers launching across all Draft House sites.
It is not yet clear whether Draft House sites will continue to sell beer from multinational brewing companies such as AB InBev and Heineken. In the past, BrewDog has removed beers purchased by multinational brands from its bars immediately.
The 'next stage of growth'
Draft House launched its first site in 2009 on Northcote Road in Battersea, south London. Since then, it has opened a further 12 bars in the capital, at locations including Camden, Paddington, Tower Bridge and Old Street.
In 2016, it opened a bar in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire, its first outside of London.
Draft House founder Charlie McVeigh said: “Nine years have passed since the first Draft House launched, and it has been a truly remarkable journey of discovery. We’ve built an awesome business, and more importantly, a team right at the heart of the UK’s beer revolution.
“I am immensely proud of what we’ve achieved together and delighted to hand the business over to BrewDog for its next stage of growth. Draft House couldn’t be in better hands.”