When we first recommended BrewDog, an independent craft brewery, in fall 2016, we thought it was the perfect example of the investor-fan model – a positive cycle in which fans of a brand become investors and investors become fans.
Shareholders – known as “punks” in the company’s Equity for Punks online crowdfunding initiative – receive many benefits, including 5% off BrewDog restaurants, two free tickets to the company’s annual shareholder beer, music and food festival, free tours of the brewery, and 20% off company merchandise.
This is a smart strategy that enables customers and investors alike to become enthusiastic ambassadors of the brand. No expensive mass marketing required.
With passionate founders, record-breaking crowdfunding raises and top-selling beer, BrewDog has more than met our expectations. (The brewery is Scotland-based, but we’ve recommended BrewDog USA, the company’s U.S. operation.)
Co-founders James Watt and Martin Dickie have impressed us with their tireless ambition. As Andy put it…
These guys could give a master class to America’s top 50 CEOs on how to think big and capture the imagination of their customers.
Since its founding in 2007, this company has taken off – and never stopped running.
At BrewDog’s latest annual general meeting on April 7, Watt and Dickie made several exciting announcements. For one, BrewDog has seen incredible growth – the company saw sales jump by 78% in 2017 and overall revenue go up 55% in 2016.
BrewDog USA is currently raising up to $50 million on BankRoll.Ventures.
In the company’s 2016 annual report, it said there was significant growth potential for its U.S. brewery operations over the next five years. In October 2017, BrewDog’s Elvis Juice – a grapefruit-infused IPA – received an award at the Great American Beer Festival in Colorado.
The festival sees thousands of U.S. craft beers compete, so for BrewDog to bring home a medal – and so soon after starting its U.S. operations – speaks to the high quality of its product.
BrewDog’s “DogHouse,” a one-of-a-kind craft beer hotel, is scheduled to open later this year at BrewDog’s U.S. headquarters in Canal Winchester, Ohio. The hotel will offer craft beer-themed meals, in-room beer taps and even beer spa treatments with bespoke hop oils.
Needless to say, the DogHouse Indiegogo campaign has met 433% of its goal, collecting more than $300,000 from excited backers.
BrewDog has gained a solid following in the U.S. It’s opened three locations in Ohio and plans to open another in Columbus in the next month. The company has also expanded its American distribution to five more states: Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, New Jersey and New York.
Its latest opening in the Short North neighborhood of Columbus is just the early stages of the company’s plan to bring its beer to all corners of the U.S.
We believe this is just the beginning of BrewDog’s ambitious growth plans. So far, we’re impressed.
Invest early and well,
Managing Editor, First Stage Investor