BREWDOG BARS IN 2017
Yesterday we added the first layer to our series of plans for 2017 with a look at the cornerstone of our business; the all-important BrewDog beer line-up for next year. Today we are switching attention to the places where we meet, talk to and serve those of you who enjoy what we do best – our amazing network of BrewDog Bars.
So here are some of the upcoming ways in which we are set to rock your year ahead each time you open the door. As with the beers post yesterday, any comments you have about any of these pointers – you know what to do!
Focus on Beer Quality
There’s a commonly-held perception that beer quality starts and ends at the brewhouse – but every bit as important as the work of our brewers or our QA staff in the Lab is what happens in our bars. Of course pretty much everyone who comes through the door never actually sees this as it all happens behind the scenes, but next year we are taking our approach to beer quality in our bars to another level – we are unleashing direct-draw cellar systems in 2017.
The first of these is actually in place already, in BrewDog Southampton – but more will come over the year ahead. Pioneered in the US, direct-draw systems are self-contained and remove the need for long beer lines and remote coolers – the beer stays in the chilled keg until needed, when it is pushed through a short line to the tap and served. Direct-draw is neater, faster and delivers beer the same way every time by maintaining its temperature. In short, it is awesome for beer quality!
In a similar vein to regulating the temperature of the beer, the other twinned pillar of beer quality is how quickly we can get it into your eager, eager hands. 2017 is the Year of Freshness at BrewDog, and although we may need a better name than that we are kicking things off by focusing on our flagship Punk IPA. The beer that started the revolution is still our best-seller, and as with all hop-forward beers time is its enemy; Punk is at its aromatic and flavourful peak when it leaves Ellon.
So in 2017 we are aiming to serve Punk IPA on draft in our UK bars that is a maximum of two weeks old. Every pint of Punk poured across our bars division will have rolled off our kegging line within a fortnight, or we won’t serve it to you. We are raising the game of beer freshness, taking the Born to Die approach to the beer we sell more of than any other. Each and every sip of Punk you take in one of our UK bars* will be of a beer less than a fortnight old. We can’t think of a better way to do it justice.
* We are also carrying out ongoing work to speed up our haulage routes to reduce the time our beers take to reach our international bars as well!
Guest Beer Variety
As we said at the start of the week, a couple of months ago we asked for your thoughts on what you would like to see from us in 2017 – and one of the more common themes to emerge related to our guest beer selection. Specifically, the fact that you guys would like to see more variety. Up until now our draft guest beer options have been organised centrally at Ellon before being acquired from the breweries and shipped to our network of BrewDog bars. But we have decided to make a change.
In 2017 we are letting the GM’s of each individual bar take the lead. After all, they know what the regulars like, the things they ask for, and hear the breweries being discussed in hushed tones at the bar – so we are giving them autonomy over their draft guest beer selection. What they pour alongside their BrewDog offerings is entirely up to them – and, of course, you. If there’s a brand new, local or international brewery kegging wonders, have a word and see what happens…
Exclusive Draft Beers
Riffing on the same theme, we are taking another look at our own draft offerings at the same time. We often trial small batch beers at DogTap (for obvious reasons), but we figured that we could extend this variety to the rest of our UK Bars. We also wanted to give people more exclusive cool beers to discover when they walk through the door and look up at the beer board. So in 2017 we are making it happen and are mixing things up.
So next year look out for new BrewDog beers making their debuts around the country as well as some amazing collaborative brews that will be made available exclusively on draft to our network of bars. But that’s not all – we are playing around with the idea of extending our #ReBrewDog idea to individual bars. Regulars in Nottingham love India Pale Weizen? Clapham Junction patrons gather to reminisce about HopRocker? Well, we have the Pilot Kit space…
Even More Takeaways
This year we ramped up the facility for you to grab a beer (or five) to go from our bars and BottleDogs. With integrated bottle shops and the appearance of the awesome Crowler machine we made a great start – but that is just the beginning. We have learned over the course of the year that people love the idea of the incorporated BottleDog – giving them a chance to wander around, beer in hand, and look at the bottles, cans, merch and homebrew equipment on offer.
So next year we are committed to looking at more ways to get awesome beer into your hands to takeout – such as something we are trialling – the first BrewDog craft beer vending machine (look out for it soon in BrewDog Shoreditch). We are also upgrading a few of our growler fills with amazing new automated filling machines imported from the States. These growler stations reduce beer wastage and are much easier for our crews to monitor – plus they extend the growler’s shelf-life!
Finally we are focusing even more on the one thing that makes our bars utterly unique – the incredible men and women who crew them. With the switch to direct draw we are upping the training all our bar teams in how to keep this system purring to yield amazing beer each time. We’re also extending our Sensory Training from our HQ to our bar crews – as they are on the ground serving the beer, they will be able to ensure the quality of our beer never wavers. Plus we are committed to getting even more of our bar crews to Certified Cicerone® level!
So, those are some of the directions our bars are headed next year – but what about the locations? Here’s a quick update on the BrewDog bars ongoing, and a hit-list for 2017.
- Dalston – our bar, BottleDog, tasting room and pilot brew kits for the public is still going ahead and we will be on-site very soon with a launch in the first quarter of 2017!
- York – it took an age to get through the licensing stage but we are all clear, in the building and BrewDog York will be open before Christmas.
- Berlin – the next bar to open will be our epic Mitte site in central Berlin. Stand by for a blog about this very special opening within the next few weeks…
- Homerton – a short hop from Dalston is our next London bar, where work is due to commence this week with a launch date set for the end of November.
- DogTap USA – Our Columbus brewery bar is being finalised as you read this, and construction will start within a fortnight, earmarked for February 2017 opening.
Those are bars where we have a site and are somewhere down the line to opening the doors for the beer-loving people of those cities. But where are we after locations next?
EDIT - Just to confirm, this list is not exhaustive but merely places we are concentrating on. If an amazing location presents itself in any town or city our bar hunting team will investigate!
Elsewhere in our bars divisions we have several other development projects ongoing – we are committed to further developing our amazing new food menus to raise the level to even greater heights, and with even more epic vegetarian and vegan options throughout, as well. Plus in 2017 we will be launching Lone Wolf spirits in our bars, and we are looking forward to playing with the incredible spirits in many different ways. And finally, once our Dalston Hopworks is open we are looking at a second site for the same idea. In Scotland. Oh yes.
So that’s where we are at now and where our bars will be in 2017. Hopefully you’ll be there too, enjoying amazingly served, freshly-packaged, flavour forward craft beer in ultra-cool surroundings with other craft beer fans left and right. Let us know in the comments below what you think of what you’ve just read, and if there’s anything you’d like to add. Plus if you have an overall thought or opinion about our BrewDog bars, leave us a comment as well!
Stay tuned for tomorrow, when we retrace the steps our beers take to the bars to their source – our BrewDog HQ – and what we have planned in 2017 to make our Ellon brewery the best in the world.