In 2007, two young Scottish guys decided that they’d had it with the beer scene in the UK. Across the pond in the US, a wave of craft brewing had begun and was changing the world of beer for good. But in the UK, this wave had not yet hit, and “macrobrews” (Budweiser and Coors would be the equivalent stateside) were really the only choice for beerdrinkers.
James Watt and Martin Dickie, the two Scottish mavericks that were tired of drinking “stuffy ales”, decided to brew their own small batches of craft beer, selling them at local markets. They haven’t looked back since.
Over the course of the past nine years, Watt and Dickie have been intensely successful, largely due to their passion, nonconformist spirit, and creative approach to running a business. They have gone from two employees (and a dog, hence the name) to 625 employees (and a few dogs!), ship to fifty-five territories, have forty-five bars worldwide, and are in the process of taking the US by storm, starting with good ol’ Columbus, Ohio.
BrewDog is in the end stages of the building of their US headquarters, which will be a 100,000+ square foot facility in Canal Winchester. It’s going to be a state-of-the art brewery (the tanks had arrived and were being installed when I toured the building this past week) with lots of stainless steel German equipment (the purposes of which are still a little foggy to me–hey, I don’t proclaim to be a brewing expert).
I had the privilege of meeting and interviewing Keith Bennet, who is the special projects manager overseeing the building project here in Columbus, has a really cool Scottish accent, and better hair than me. Keith was hugely welcoming and accommodating, giving me a full tour of the facilities, which, I must say, are really, really cool.
Aside from just a full brewery (with a canning and storage facility), however, there’s going to be tons of office space for their US staff (which they plan on growing to 125 employees in the next three years, they ARE currently hiring, click here to apply) to serve their stateside ventures, a HUGE full-menu restaurant and bar with incredible patio seating, and space to host live musicians. The restaurant will comfortably sit around 300 people!
The brewery is set to open February of 2017 (which crazily enough, is only a few months away..can you believe that??), but already, you can see what an incredible place it will be. The vibe will be industrial (fittingly enough for a manufacturing building), but certainly not cold.
(“Dystopian Puppet Hobby Center”)
From the restaurant, you’ll be able to see through huge windows into the actual brewery. In this vast room, one of the walls is already covered with a bright and beautiful mural, depicting an underwater scene featuring a crazed-looking octopus. The artists were none other than BrewDog’s very own Craig Fisher and Stuart Allan
The wall against which sits the patio also has an awesome mural with more trippy underwater creatures, including a shark, seahorse, anglerfish, and something I couldn’t identify (maybe a hornless narwhal??) See photos below to make sense of my warped descriptions.
The patio will have L-shaped, artfully rusted beams upon which awnings can hang for extra sunny and warm days. There will also be two firepits for the cooler evenings (I’m hoping February will be unseasonably warm enough to enjoy the patio..fingers crossed!).
The best part, in my opinion, is the fact that there’s a bike path that literally ends feet away from the patio. Effectively, you can bike from several points in Canal Winchester and arrive to the brewery. The city of Canal Winchester is also in the works of hooking up their bike path to the Columbus bikeways, making BrewDog headquarters a destination by bike from all over greater Columbus.
BrewDog is a very cool company which has actually set records in several areas (they’ve brewed a 55% ABV beer!), one being that of crowdfunding. In 2009, BrewDog invited the public to invest in their company by purchasing shares online. They dubbed this crowdfunding Equity For Punks (EFP) and have raised millions of dollars over the past seven years.
These “Punks” are more than just investors or shareholders, however. They’re people who love good beer and want to support BrewDog in their efforts to educate and ignite a passion for beer. BrewDog holds events for the Punks to celebrate and thank them for their investment, but these events also serve the purpose of being a shareholder meeting, where the Punks can take part in choosing the direction the business is going.
BrewDog considers these Punks valuable sources of guidance and intel on the ground; the company asks the Punks to scout out future sites for bars, and even will choose one city over another if there are more Punks in the area. If you’re interested in learning more about taking part in Equity for Punks, go here.
I personally think it’s an awesome opportunity to join a movement that is impacting the city of Columbus, and to support such a unique company that has proven itself successful.
More than that, BrewDog choosing Columbus over all of the other cities in the US is just another testament to what a great city we live in. It’s so exciting to know that we are a city that is growing and thriving, and a place where awesome businesses want to be.