An update on stock, our new brewery and our partnership with Meantime
our perspective on a crazy start to 2011
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