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At our #PunkAGM two weeks ago, one of the largest collective intakes of breath from our assembled Equity Punks was the point at which James and Martin revealed our venture into spirits, during their on-stage presentation. Aside from maybe the Habanero Sculpin, that was the single greatest cause of sudden gasping throughout the entire day. So, a couple of weeks on, we figured that we should maybe add a little meat to the bones and reveal some of the intentions of our brand new distillation and spirits division.

The link between craft beer and distilling is closer and more intrinsic than you might think. As both typically begin with the same process – the mashing of grain to release fermentable sugars – the building blocks for one also exist more often than not at the home of the other. In the US, innovative breweries such as Dogfish Head, Ballast Point and Anchor have been producing spirits for years – the latter as far back as 1993, becoming at the time the only pot-distilled rye whiskey producer in the United States.

The UK has such a storied history of spirit-making that is has long been something we have wanted to adopt. With our recently-announced brewery expansion, we finally have the capacity to make this happen, and we have earmarked a dedicated area in our Ellon HQ to be converted into a BrewDog craft distillery. Headed up by Steven Kersley, this is a team that is going to shape a very exciting future for BrewDog – and it all starts with some artisan German coppersmiths near the Swiss border.

From their workshop on the shores of Lake Constance, the master craftsmen at Arnold Holstein GmbH are set to construct two 3,000 litre copper pot stills, an additional 600 litre copper gin still and a 20m tall copper column still (allowing the production of neutral spirit for vodka and gin). From these hand-made stills, we intend to produce a home-grown vodka that will really make the big players sit up and take notice, as well as a BrewDog gin for which we have already begun trials on a number of different botanicals.

The four stills are all designed specifically for our needs and on them we will be able to produce pretty much any spirit known to man. But our first goal is to focus on the triumvirate of whisky, gin and vodka (we wouldn’t be a true Scottish company if we didn’t stay close to our roots and produce the first of these). Our spirits will be made in the BrewDog way; pushing the definitions and boundaries at every stage, revolutionising the craft distilling scene in the UK.

Flexibility is very important for us, and the design of our stills will allow for that. Experimentation is also key – with raw materials, with expressions, and with casks. It’s going to be a fantastic project; our intention is nothing short of going from grain to glass – and our incredible team of brewers will be central to this. They will supply the wash that we will use as the base for our spirits – the most important step of all, that initial building block.

Distillation is the natural progression for us; the logical next step for BrewDog. As we grow as a company, we can use the knowledge and resources of our amazing brewteam to add another string to our bow – and not just in a specified part of the alcohol spectrum; across the whole category. There are a lot of people in our team that love Scotch whisky, that love rum, gin, tequila or vodka. With that groundswell of enthusiasm and the skill of Steven and his distillation team, we have every opportunity to make as big an impact on the spirits industry as we did on the beer industry.

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anonymous 12.07.2015 @ 3:06pm
Dog Spirits!
Brian Smith 01.07.2015 @ 10:03pm
Hey Kersley,
Don't forget this old man when you need punk consumer opinion on the new products.

Good luck, son!
Ricey 01.07.2015 @ 12:44pm
To answer Alan Robertson's comment:
Whisky must mature in casks for a minimum of three years before being named as Scotch Whisky and then sold.
You can of course bottle (& flavour) someone else's matured Whisky or sell a (whisky flavoured) spirit or gin or vodka straight after distillation.

Insanely hopped gin? Mmmmmm...
anonymous 29.06.2015 @ 9:45pm
Like the idea of having a distillery at hq. I see Scotch is on the agenda. The ageing process does take a minimum of 3 years to be called 'Scotch' whisky. Is there an a plan B to distill an American style 'whiskey' which can be on the shelves much more quickly.
Yuri 26.06.2015 @ 3:50am
I take it the spirits will be sold under the DistillDog moniker? ;)
BrewDog Rich 25.06.2015 @ 10:50am
Evo/Mash - I really don't think bottle size has been discussed yet, but those are interesting points! Obviously we want the final product to be eye-catching, so stay tuned

Alan - The beauty of making spirits is that we can control every stage of the process - oh, and we do also have a lot of barrels for things that take time ;)

Scoot - Sure! What's Snoop Dog up to these days?
Evo 24.06.2015 @ 9:33pm
Selling spirits in beer bottles is a good idea.
Alan Robertson 24.06.2015 @ 9:15pm
Rich, will the whisky take 3 years to distill as I believe that is the minimum timescale involved in whisky-making? Or do you have some warp-speed technology to speed the process up?
Inflatable Alan Shearer 24.06.2015 @ 7:48pm
Scoot 24.06.2015 @ 5:40pm
Just imagine the potential, when some big shot US Rapper starts using Brew Dog Vodka or Whisky in their Video or Lyrics. Kaching!
BrewDog Rich 24.06.2015 @ 3:21pm
Some great suggestions there! Beren, I think Dogsperados is a winner ;)
Mash 24.06.2015 @ 3:02pm
do them in beer bottle sizes (330mls) to keep the price point accessable to wider market - the punks will buy anything but a range of sizes may widen the the numbers of those who will give it a go or buy as a present
Beren 24.06.2015 @ 2:45pm
i really hope BrewDog do a tequila flavoured beer. Maybe call it something like Dogsperados.

Gin is an excellent idea and will be the big growth area in spirits in the UK over the next few years
Janne H 24.06.2015 @ 1:21pm
Can hardly wait for a taste.
PeteH 24.06.2015 @ 1:16pm
Brewdog Tequila !!
You know you want to (and we want you to do it too.)
David Paul B 24.06.2015 @ 12:46pm
Looking forward to sampling some Brewdog whisky in the future, will EFP get first dibs?

I'll also keep my fingers crossed for the possibility of Brewdog Rum!
Rich 24.06.2015 @ 12:43pm
Excellent work, can't wait to sample.
Mike 24.06.2015 @ 12:32pm
Jack Hammer gin. In cans.
Brandon L 24.06.2015 @ 11:57am
Finally! Looks like a great project - these things take time I guess but I can't wait to sample the results. Hopped-up spirits are the way to go (although you probably already worked that out)
Nix 24.06.2015 @ 11:56am
You had me at vodka