The multinational brewer and pub chain BrewDog announced today that it is seeking to launch operations in Australia and New Zealand.
Exact details and a location are yet to be confirmed, with the company saying via media release that it is currently recruiting and seeking proposals on where it might establish a "brewing hub", including a brewery and tap room, with Brisbane and Newcastle noted as initial considerations.
Since making the announcement last week, we found out more from BrewDog "Top Dog Australia" Zarah Prior. She told us: "We’ve always been impressed by the pioneering spirit of the Australian craft beer community and feel there are a fair few parallels with how things have evolved in the UK over the past 10 years or so. Early craft brewers in both the UK and Australia went out on a limb; defying mainstream trends to brew the kind of beers they wanted to drink and battling for shelf space in a market where the category leaders insisted consumers weren’t up for changing their tastes.
"Just over a decade on, there are now hundreds of amazing craft breweries across the country, off licences have expanding sections dedicated to craft beer, and consumers are voting with their wallets. We’re excited by the opportunity this presents, but also by how open and collaborative the Australian craft beer scene is.
"We’ve shared knowledge and ideas – not to mention a fair few pints! – with several Aussie brewers who’ve made the trek out to our brewery in Scotland, and when we’ve made it to GABS we’ve always left wishing we had more time in Australia. We’re looking forward to setting up locally and collaborating with other Australian breweries (who’ll be down the road rather than across the ocean!)."
As for the decision to focus attention on Newcastle and Brisbane as potential sites, she says the key factors have been "availability of space, ease of distribution, and finding an amazing local community that we could see ourselves in".
Zarah added: "While very different, both Newcastle and Brisbane are vibrant, growing cities interested in collaborating, and with an incredible community atmosphere. After all, a brewery is more than just a place that makes beer. In both Ellon and Columbus, we have really worked hard to establish relationships with our local businesses, people, projects and community. We will do the same wherever we land in Australia."
Once the brewery is built, visitors will be able to visit a taproom along the lines of their Dogtaps in Ellon and Columbus, featuring food and brewery tours as well as BrewDog beers.
Since being founded in Scotland in 2007, BrewDog has grown to become one of the most successful modern UK beer brands while also carving out a place as its most consistently controversial, thanks in the main to its marketing activities and its "Equity For Punks" crowdfunding scheme. BrewDog currently has breweries in the UK and USA and 46 bars across the world.
Original Media Release
Scottish independent brewer, BrewDog is one step closer to establishing its initial production facility down-under with its first recruitment under way in Oz, as well as indications as to where it plans to establish an Australian brewing hub.
The craft beer business, which was launched by school friends James Watt & Martin Dickie in Scotland in 2007, recently opened its second brewery in Columbus, Ohio, and announced plans to expand into Australia at its AGM in April.
Today, BrewDog has announced the appointment of Zarah Prior as ‘Top Dog’ for Australia. Having worked for BrewDog in the brewery’s Aberdeenshire HQ between 2011 and 2016, Prior re-joined the pack this month with the mandate to identify potential locations for the company's third international brewery.
Zarah – an Australian native – previously held the role of ‘Head of People’ for the Scottish business, and also contributed to marketing and business development over 4 years based at BrewDog’s HQ in Scotland.
BrewDog is the only business to be named in the UK’s Sunday Times ‘Fast Track 100’ in five consecutive years, staking a claim as one of the nation’s fastest-growing food & drinks companies.
The brewery’s crowdfunding initiative – Equity for Punks – has garnered an investor community of more than 55,000 people around the world, and these shareholders have collectively invested more than £40million in the brand over the past eight years.
BrewDog is currently exploring possible locations for a brewery in Australia, with initial searches focused on the fast-developing Brisbane or Newcastle areas.
In line with the business’ philosophy of local community partnership and engagement, a location that is actively promoting urban renewal or transformation is high on the criteria for BrewDog’s latest brewery hunt.
Through its exclusive Equity Punk online forum, BrewDog has reached out to its Australian shareholder community for contacts and advice, with the aim of identifying a suitable council, and navigating local planning and legislative hurdles.
Zarah is also seeking contributions and proposals from locals in Australia; any residents with ideas on where BrewDog should establish its Australian division should contact email@example.com with the following:
- Details on what makes their neighbourhood perfect for BrewDog's craft beer business
- Any information about councils & locations that are looking for new investment
- Any details about the environment that could positively impact BrewDog’s launch plans
- Specifics of green field sites that could be used to build a brewery & taproom
Commenting on their plans for Australia, Prior stated,
“Our Australian Equity Punk community has been crying out for BrewDog to set up shop closer to home, so we are excited to finally be making that happen. We’ve thrived on the loyalty that our shareholders and peers have shown over the past 10 years, and we can’t wait to deliver brewery-fresh beers to our Equity Punks and BrewDog fans in Australia!”
“We are open to re-developing an existing industrial site with a 2,000 - 4,000m² built up facility, or alternatively a plot of land able to comfortably accommodate a new build of that size with expansion capabilities in the future. However, what’s non-negotiable is finding the right community where BrewDog’s hardcore values and Punk attitude will be fully embraced. Since BrewDog was born, we’ve been on a mission to make other people as passionate about amazing craft beer as we are. Now, we’re bringing that ethos all the way across the other side of the planet, to Oz.”