“It’s been a really interesting few years,” McDowall explained at the Casual Dining Show. “We’ve got 84 locations around the world at the moment and 32 or 33 in the pipeline for this year."
With BrewDog opening venues at a rate of approximately 30 per year, McDowall explained that not only will the brewer and operator open its 100th site in 2019, but the year will also be the first in the Ellon-based company’s history that it’s opened more site overseas than in the UK.
Commenting on BrewDog’s role in spearheading craft beer culture on this side of the Atlantic, McDowall explained:“Great innovation comes from necessity. The guys (BrewDog’s founders) were very inspired by the burgeoning craft culture in the US and there was none of that in the UK.
“We’ve gone from one to 84 in a seven-and-a-bit-year period,” he added. “Again it was real necessity. There was nowhere for us to showcase our own products – the craft beer scene in the on trade was very different to what we see now. It really started from how do we showcase our own beers and where do we get the beers that we love.”
Putting beer first
“One of the things about the business that’s helped us stay on track from a culture and mission perspective is a selfish perspective,” McDowall said. “We brew the beers that we passionately believe in and want to drink. The pub venture was the same, somewhere we want to hang out in."
Despite this outlook, however, BrewDog still finds a spot at the bar for local brewers, with 35% of beer lines in BrewDog venues used to serve guest products.
The employer of 1,500 employees across four continents, a passion for the industry, supporting broader brewing and a love of beer are integral to any successful young pups looking to join BrewDog.
“It’s really about bringing people into the team who believe in and share our values,” McDowall explained.
“We want to work with and hire people who believe in the same things that we do – that’s the BrewDog recruitment test.
“Our mission from day one, when it was two men and a dog, was to make people as passionate about craft beer as we are.”
“Priorities numbers one, two, three, four and five in any decision-making is beer - whenever we try to diversify into other stuff, it’s just not us.”
However, despite this, 25% of revenue – and 50% of BrewDog’s Stateside takings – are from food, although McDowall explains that the operator's expanded food offering helps in creating an “overarching environment” in which beers can be enjoyed.
Combining local and global outlooks
McDowall explains that BrewDog’s brewpub concept, of which there are currently two sites, will more than double in size before the end of the year, with five more venues earmarked globally.
“How wonderful is it that you can stand a couple of yards away from the guy who’s brewing the product,” he said. “What we wanted to do was create a really immersive beer experience.”
Combined with offering freshly made BrewDog products, these new venues promise “absolute freedom” to local brewers working in tandem with the now global operator.
“That brewpub concept is about creating something that’s firmly rooted in its location,” McDowall added.
Yet in spite of this, McDowall explains that BrewDog sees ample room to sniff out global opportunities.
“We think that there’s a broader opportunity. There’s no genuine craft player who has a global footprint.
“For us, we were inspired by the likes of Stone, Sierra Nevada, and to take our product over there and find ourselves in bars, on taps, in grocers next to these guys was a very exciting and scary experience.
“We always wanted to go head to head, and knew we had to do that, but we decided not to do that until we brewed in the US.”
Interested in working for BrewDog? Then take a look at MA’s jobs site.