An update on stock, our new brewery and our partnership with Meantime
An update on stock
We have had a crazy, whirlwind, son of a bitch start to 2011. With the speed of our growth and the strength of national and international demand for our craft beers taking even us completely by surprise. We had ambitious growth plans, but 2011 has succeeded all expectations so far with actual growth of over 200% and an increase of over 400% in orders.
However, this also causes issues for us. It puts a massive amount of strain on our resources, on our people, on our production capacity and furthermore seriously inhibits our ability to deliver to our customers on time. Our awesome team are doing all we can to fulfil orders and please accept our apologies if you have to wait slightly longer than usual for your BrewDog beers at the moment. Throughout this testing time our brewing team headed up by Stewart Bowman along with Narayanan, Dempster and Angela in Operations have all been absolute rockstars. I have been overwhelmed by their commitment to the cause and ability to work under pressure. You guys rock!
Last month we had our first ever £0.5m month which was a cool milestone for us and it was great to hit this mark within 4 years of setting up a brewery with a small bank loan and some old tanks. However, we are not at all happy with our current level of customer service which falls far below the standards we set for ourselves in all aspects of our business. At the moment it feels like we have almost reached the tipping point but have no beer to tip the bloody thing with!
Consequently we have decided to stop trading with some of our larger customers. We have decided we can no longer sell to UK on-trade national groups & distributors for the time being due to capacity constraints. We will however look to develop this part of our business again once we get to our new brewery.
If you are one of our customers or key long term partners reading this, we love you (a lot!) and trust us, we are doing all we can to get some BrewDog beer to you.
To help the situation we are consolidating our customer base and product line up, adding even more capacity to our current brewery, adding to our operations team, installing new stock management software systems and have also established external warehousing. Thanks for bearing with us!
Since early 2011 we have also been making a small amount of beer at Meantime in London. This was meant to help us grow and although it contributes around 8% of our current production we are still a long way short of keeping up with demand. The Meantime arrangement is an interim one, meant to enable us to keep the momentum and help us supply customers until we finish building our new flagship brewery outside Aberdeen in 2012.
We spent a long time looking for a brewing partner but could not find anyone who met our standards. However Meantime have a fantastic new craft brewery, great people, a full lab (not a chocolate one like Bracken though!) and Martin has been down brewing pretty much every batch we have made there so far. It is also very unusual to have an arrangement like this with a brewery which produces less beer than us, but we are all about the quality and not the scale.
The beers we make at Meantime are almost exclusively lagers (77 and zeitgeist) for export markets. All of our hoppy and dry-hopped beers will always be brewed at BrewDog as we feel we are strongest in this area.
Our new Brewery
We are also working hard on our new brewery up and running as soon as humanly possible in the field that we own just outside Aberdeen.
The big stumbling block has been effluent and its treatment. After some very positive meetings last week it looks like we have been given permission to use our preferred option which is a full water treatment plant meaning we can re-use as much of the water as possible and return the balance of water, completely treated and clean into a local stream.
The idea with the new facility is to make it as environmentally friendly as possible and completely carbon neutral. This will be achieved through heat recovery, re-use of water, a bio-mass generator and permission dependent also a windmill. Meaning we have a positive effect on our surroundings in the north east of Scotland as well as making more beer!
We hope to start building in late 2011 and be operational on our new site by late summer 2012.
We are sticking to our simple mission, aspiring to brew world class craft beers and make other people as passionate about great beer as we are. This really is all that matters to what we spend absolutely every waking moment focussed on this. And if we have a little bit of fun, cause some controversy and upset some people along the way, that is all cool too.
Keep on rocking in the free world.
James, Martin and the BrewDog Team
- would that be the park on the corner o the potterton turn off on the park hill road ? Roddy c13.04.2011
- It's really nice to see some honesty in business for once. I'm really happy with the way you're doing things and don't stop. Also, thrilled that you're keeping with Sainsbury's! Nate Dawg12.04.2011
- My husband got Nanny State and Alpha dog for his birthday. Nanny State UNDRINKABLE never did like hops much!
Alpha quite plaeasant and both unbelievable not yeuk and fizzy .I look forward to trying the rest of the range.Lindsey Moore11.04.2011
- Eddie I agree that the getting the new brewery built, and up and running must be a priority. However I think the reality was until a few days ago that no progress could be made until a solution to the disposal of effluent was found. Aberdeenshire council and Scottish water have to be satisfied before any development is allowed. The full council have already gone against their own planning policy in allowing the brewery to be built where it will be, as they can see that it is some thing that has been well thought out by a go ahead sort of company and will bring positive economic benefits to the area.
Opening bars in the meantime is the only way they can currently grow the company. Yes it creates a rod for their own backs, but the alterative may have been standing still. Also the profit margin on beer sold in your own bar must be higher than the profit margin on your beer sold in someone elses bar. More profit means more money to money to invest in the brewery when you are actually able to build it.Ian Prise11.04.2011
- Being too heavily demand is in many ways the best problem you can have.
Big respect to you for being so honest and frank on your blog, very refreshing to see. Meantime are a top brewery so you've picked a great partner there.
good luck sorting the problemsJH11.04.2011
- So that explains it. I couple of weeks ago I had been complaining at my local Asda about the lack of Trashy Blonde or Riptide Stout. Daniel Earl11.04.2011
- Ahhhh - this explains all the Brewdog bottles I saw when at Meantime a few weeks back! keep on trucking, guys. You're doing an amazing job. Hoping to visit the Edinburgh bar when I come up for the Fringe!! xx BEER BEAUTY11.04.2011
- But why is the service received from your website so unreliable. I expect to get exactly what I paid (premium) prices for!
Growth is all well and good but not at the detriment of the basic tasks of your oraganisation...selling beer to people.
A very unhappy customer.
- Whilst opening Brewdog bars must be a cool and fun thing to do, surely this is a distraction from the real job in hand - to get the brewery built and open? Please focus on this as it must be essential to all future growth. BTW I thought we were told 2011 opening at the AGM? Eddie Miles11.04.2011
- mega! pete m11.04.2011
- Sainsburys and Tesco remain intact. On-trade, as explained below, refers to national pub chains. James, BrewDog11.04.2011
- i really hope that the sainsburys and tesco deals remain intact. It's so nice being able to get these beers locally (leicester) and my local tesco now has American Double/Hardcore which is my favourite beer... EVER! pete m11.04.2011
- Nice to meet you in Helsinki James!
the man with Penguin-T-shirt ;)TBone11.04.2011
- Very exciting news and it's great to hear that you're finding a pragmatic way around those tricky growth periods. I love the meantime beers so it's good that you've chosen other brewers that care.
Good luck with it all!rich11.04.2011
- Loving the sound of the enviro-friendly brewery! Phil Thomson10.04.2011
- As experienced brewers, can I and Stefano come working with you? We both love squirrels and penguins. Do you pay well by the way :-D? Good luck, I hope to come to Scotland and do some industrial espionage as soon as possible... Giada10.04.2011
- had some meantime london porter this weekend. pretty average.... the beer not the weekend phil dalgleish10.04.2011
- If it's a case of supply and demand, do prices not go....up? Nacho10.04.2011
- So refreshing to see such a stark and honest appraisal.
Any growing company always has issues and the BrewDog team are without doubt smart enough to figure them out.
Onwards and upwards.Adrian10.04.2011
- I referred to our larger on-trade customers. On Trade is bars, pubs etc. We are still going to sell to these guys, just not national chains such as Wetherspoons or national distributors such as Waverley TBS. James, BrewDog10.04.2011
- I'm planning on setting up a micro brewery selling some great ales.. Any chance of some support? Jim smith10.04.2011
- Bigger customers are out? Does that mean Tesco and Sainsbury? Will Real Ale in Twickenham still sell you? Colin10.04.2011
- Very nive to hear news like that! (BUT Meantime!? Do they have (too) much capacity in their brand new brewery... to have possibilities to help you.)
And to You, James: it was great to meet you in Helsinki Beer Festival this friday and thaks for having nice discussions with you. PUNK is (not) dead! (BTW. Helsinki is in Finland.)J.T. Laakso10.04.2011
- Good luck guys.
I'm sure you'll find the way...
Beware of the dark side, unless you are brewing it!!!Steve C. 10.04.2011
- All sounds very exciting and promising. Must be irritating not being able to meet demand. Always good to see that you are thinking of and putting customers first both with service and amazing beer! Rob M10.04.2011
- basically you have sold to much beer to supply the customers you, began to brew somewhere else and lost some bigger customers so u can supply to lots of little ones? So does that mean that there will be more bitter and twisted?
steve and jim10.04.2011
- peter E - on trade = pubs off-trade=shops
exciting times ahead for brewdog!neil, www.eatingisntcheating.blogspot.com10.04.2011
- Does this mean you are not distributing canned Punk IPA to Sainsbury's? PeterE10.04.2011
- Good times for you guys! Do you expect to cut any of your produtcs for the time being then? If so, which ones? Ed Beech10.04.2011