Some people might not like to hear it, but the fact is, BrewDog are interesting and important.
That is the main reason why people (including us) just cannot help talking about them.
Of course it also helps that they have the will and the means to court beer writers and bloggers, and a well-drilled army of staff on social media, but even those who are scornful of the ‘pooches’ apparently feel compelled to pick at the scab.
If we had to pick one brewery to symbolise everything that’s happened in British beer in the last decade, it would probably be BrewDog. When established breweries decide to ‘do craft’, it is more often that not the boys from Fraserburgh they have in mind:
Fuller's does 'craft' in Hammersmith. Bare brick, neon and exposed filament light bulbs all present and correct. pic.twitter.com/BwQbLzzA9e
— Boak and Bailey (@BoakandBailey) June 16, 2014
In an interview with James Hurley in The Times this week (thanks for the heads up, John West), BrewDog founder James Watt set out plans to become even bigger:
“We love the chaos of fast growth,” Mr Watt says. “If we don’t have that, we’re not pushing hard enough… You’ll laugh at me, but we want to list for £1 billion in five years’ time… We’ve got the road map with annual targets. We think it’s an achievable objective.”
As part of the plan, Watt says, the company is maturing, and toning down the combative rhetoric. That’s a relief for boring bastards like us, but we wonder what those who enjoy combative rhetoric will make of it? And where does this fit in?
I wrote a book: Business for Punks. Any potential publishers please get in touch for a preview! pic.twitter.com/KOrQAXnDvV
— James Watt (@BrewDogJames) August 28, 2014
At any rate, BrewDog is well on its way to becoming a household name, if something we overheard in a pub the other day is anything to go by:
I’ll just have a lager. Carlsberg, or that Korev. Oh, wait, no — have they got my favourite lager? That Punk IPA?
UPDATE 04/09/2014: how close BrewDog are to being a household name is hard to measure but this Google Trends graph gives a clue: it compares the volume of searches from the UK for Marston’s, Greene King, Stella Artois, Magic Rock and Walker’s crisps. BrewDog, who have never run a national TV ad campaign, are up there with the big brands.