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An Interview With James Watt, Chief Executive Officer At Brewdog

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Below is our recent interview with James Watt, Chief Executive Officer at Brewdog:

Q: Could you provide our readers with a brief introduction to your company?

A: BrewDog is an international, independent craft beer and hospitality company, founded in 2007, when Martin Dickie and I put our heads together and started creating our own craft beer. Ever since, we have had one simple mission – to make other people as passionate about great craft beer as we are.

Since our humble beginnings 15 years ago in Fraserburgh, a town in northeast Scotland, we have grown into a global business employing over 2,200 staff, operating over 100 bars and venues worldwide, and opened state of the art breweries as far-reaching as Columbus Ohio, Berlin Germany, and Brisbane Australia.

Q: Can you give us more insights into what makes your company unique?

A: At BrewDog we have always been a different type of company, always willing to challenge convention and disrupt the status quo. It started with our award-winning craft beer but is a defining mantra behind everything we do as a company – from our game-changing equity for punks crowdfunding community to becoming the world’s first carbon-negative beer business. But above all, what makes us unique is our fantastic crew – from our HQ in Ellon to the crewmembers in breweries and bars all over the world.

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Q: Any highlights on your recent announcement?

A: Earlier this year, we launched our BrewDog “Blueprint” to mark the company’s 15th anniversary, this included the unveiling of our “Hop Stock” Employee Ownership Programme which saw me give away nearly £100 million of my personal stake in BrewDog to our salaried crew members over the next four years. Also, in a genuinely revolutionizing move for the hospitality sector, we announced that from now on each BrewDog bar will share 50% of its profits with its crew, setting the bar higher for hospitality workers everywhere. We are immensely proud that today, BrewDog is more than 25% owned by its crew and our Equity Punk community.

Q: Can you give us insights into your products?

A: At BrewDog we brew hundreds of different beers – led by the “Headliner series”, which includes the flagship Punk IPA – which are exported to over 60 countries globally. Some of our other fan favourites are Elvis Juice and Dead Pony Club, while the recently introduced Lost Lager and Hazy Jane were two of the fastest-growing drinks in the UK last year. We also recently launched our new beer subscription model, BrewDog & Friends.

Q: What can we expect from your company in the next 6 months? What are your plans?

A: We’re continuing to make great beer and finding new ways to push boundaries, whilst being good to the planet at the same time. As part of our ambitious net-zero goals, we purchased a 9,308-acre plot of land in the Scottish Highlands “The Lost Forest”, which will see us embark on one of the largest reforestation and peatland restoration projects in the UK. Over the next six months, we’ll be very excited to share some big news and updates, as our vision starts to come to life. Similarly, we’re well underway on work to open new flagship bars at London Waterloo and Las Vegas, USA, as well as countless other venues opening this year in the UK and around the world.

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Q: What are some of the main objectives for your company in the year ahead and how do you plan to achieve them?

A: We’ve kicked off 2022 strongly and remain one of the fastest-growing beer brands in our major markets and growing ahead of our competition. Over the coming years, we have bold goals of becoming one of the top five beer brands globally. To achieve this, we’re making big investments into our brewing facilities to continually push the boundaries of innovation and taste, whilst making further efforts to reduce our environmental impact by becoming fully self-sufficient in our gas requirements. But, ultimately, behind our success is our talented team. Which is why it’s so vital we continue to bet big on our crew and invest in our people – from HR teams and learning and development programmes to rewards and culture.

Q: What is the best thing about your company that people might not know about?

A: There are many things that I’m hugely proud BrewDog is famous for, from the way we have challenged the old established brands and taken our entire industry into the future, to the way we are building a planet-friendly, people-first beer company. But perhaps it is less well known that, at heart, we are still a community who just really love beer.

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