The problems they faced
Born from an uncompromising passion for craft beers, BrewDog's imaginatively-named, colourfully-branded brews were perfect for the highly-developed markets overseas. Founders James Watt and Martin Dickie knew continued growth at home and abroad depended on cracking the export market. But challenging the big players was a big ask for a young company.
Acknowledging a firm buzzing with ambition and innovation, Scottish Development International (SDI) said a big fat yes to help BrewDog reach new markets abroad - and boost growth at home. Why? Because it would be good news for the company, as well as good news for Scotland.
The answer we gave them
SDI's Dawn Lamarra used Overseas Market Support to analyse and find routes to markets across different countries. Exposing BrewDog to decision-makers was vital, so SDI supported the firm at trade shows and introduced leads.
“Scottish Enterprise also helped finance travel," says James. "It suddenly became possible for us to explore untapped markets."
That exploration led to sales across five continents - and a typically innovative distribution channel. “BrewDog’s core products are matured in whisky barrels," explains Dawn Lamarra, "Instead of going through normal importers they are able to take a route straight to upscale whisky importers."
With eyes on expansion, James and Martin devised 'Equity for Punks', a groundbreaking new share issue model. Seeing the value, SE contributed to set-up costs. Says Ian Findlay, Account Manager: “The company needed money to take more people on, for new equipment, but mostly to build a new facility."
"The SE contribution was the difference between us doing it or not,” explains James. "We have levered £1.2m+ cash investment. We are so excited at the potential now for the company.”
Have new products been developed and found their market?
Sticking to their guns has worked for BrewDog. With 200% growth year-on-year, their mission to put Scotland on the beer-making map is soaring.
Now employing over 70 people, BrewDog beers are found in major supermarkets, niche retailers, bars and restaurants in 27 countries. Innovating further, six charismatic bars have opened across the UK. The new eco-brewery in Aberdeenshire has made BrewDog Scotland's largest independent brewery.
“We have only been able to do this well as a direct consequence of the help, support and influence of SE,” says James. "It is great to have people there who care passionately about what we do who we can bounce ideas off.”
is Scotland's main economic development agency and aims to deliver a significant, lasting effect on the Scottish economy. Our role is to help identify and exploit the best opportunities for economic growth. We support ambitious Scottish companies to compete within the global marketplace and help build Scotland’s globally competitive sectors. We also work with a range of partners in the public and private sectors to attract new investment to Scotland and to help create a world-class business environment.
Scottish Development International (SDI) works to attract inward investment and knowledge to Scotland to help the economy grow. It also helps Scottish based companies to trade overseas and promotes Scotland as a good place to live, work and do business. It is a partnership between the Scottish Government, Scottish Enterprise and Highlands and Islands Enterprise and its work is guided by the Scottish Government’s strategy for economic development in Scotland.