What if BrewDog entered into partnership with Greene King to roll out second-tier BrewDog packages in places where their flagship bars cannot reach?
Yesterday, we promised a prediction, but it would be more accurate to describe this as a bit of fanciful thinking plucked more-or-less from thin air. We just want to put it in writing so that, if it does come to pass, we’ll look dead clever.
1. We can’t stop looking at the keg beer menu at the new Greene King ‘craft beer concept’ in Cambridge as pictured on the Pints and Pubs blog: it features one GK beer, Hop Monster, but four from BrewDog.
2. Wetherspoon’s Craftwork package, which borrows heavily from BrewDog’s aesthetic and features their beer in bottles and keg, hints at how such an arrangement might work.
3. Though they have ambitious plans, finding and fitting out suitable premises seems to be holding BrewDog back. Greene King, meanwhile, have 1600 pubs up and down the country, few of which anyone interested in beer will touch with a bargepole.
4. The Scottish Wunderkinder have already dabbled in franchising.
5. They’ve been critical of Greene King’s beer in the past, but they work happily with Tesco, arguing when this relationship is criticised (as we read it) that they’re spreading the gospel of Craft Beer in an otherwise barren land.
6. For Greene King’s part, this would be a route to instant credibility, even assuming that such a partnership might give a temporary hit to BrewDog’s own reputation.
7. We keep coming back to the similarities between BrewDog and David Bruce’s Firkin chain in the 1980s: that went truly national when he sold his company to a bigger brewery which turned what he’d developed over the course of a decade into a (not as good) out-of-the-box branded package.
Just to reiterate: this is just guesswork, for fun — we have no ‘specific and credible intelligence’, as they say.
But what do you reckon — are we barking up the wrong tree? Or, to put that another way, if something like this was announced next week, would you be surprised?
(And, as an aside, imagine what fun might ensue if BrewDog got a batch of GK’s Old 5X stock ale to play with…)