Why we do what we do
21 June 2010
Copy of a recent piece I wrote for Beer Advocate Magazine.
Infamous? Unpredictable? Single handedly responsible for the downfall of western civilisation? Maybe. BrewDog has courted its fair share of controversy since we set out in '07 to excite imaginations and challenge bored British palettes but despite all the apparent chaos, what we do is part of a much bigger mission.
Martin and I were bored of the industrially brewed lagers and stuffy ales that dominate the UK market. Having given up hope of finding beers we actually enjoyed, we started making our own. Following a couple of years of ramshackle home brewing, we had the privilege of meeting Michael Jackson who tried our garage-brews and promptly told us to quit our jobs and start making beer.
So we did. Both only 24 at the time, we leased a building, got some scary bank loans, spent all our money on stainless steel and started making some hardcore beers.
The UK is a dessert for progressive craft beer. With the exception of a few bright shining lights, the landscape is dominated by monolithic lagers and generic boring ales. CAMRA are almost single handedly responsible for holding back innovation in British brewing with their overbearing emphasis on a narrow spectrum of beer styles. Most British small brewers do nothing to further the craft beer revolution. Specifically those who flood the market with dull, steady, fundamentally uninspiring beers, on a flavor spectrum defined by a 3.5% mild and a 4% bitter with their branding created in some twisted vacuum of taste and logic.
Contrast this with the USA where unconstrained, challenging and exciting craft ales are really taking hold. Uninhibited by tradition, craft brewers are free to follow their muse and showcase the fascinating stylistic diversity of beers, boldly riffing on the rebellious nature of artisan brewing to boot.
For us, everything comes back to one overarching ambition and to one guiding light: to make other people as passionate about great craft beer as we are. We are completely dedicated to brewing the best craft beers we possibly can, it is pretty much all we care about. We want to show people there is an alternative to monotone corporate beers, introduce them to a completely new approach to beer and elevate the status of beer in our culture.
Drinkers in Scotland are constrained by lack of choice. Seduced by the monolithic corporate brewers huge advertising budgets. Brain-washed by vindictive lies perpetrated with the veracity of pseudo-propaganda. They can't help but be sucked down the rabbit hole. We are on a mission to open as many people's eyes as possible. This is what motivates us and this is why we love brewing progressive ales.
Whether it is wrangles with industry regulators, pushing the boundaries in high ABV brewing, smashing bottles of generic beer with a baseball bat or doing a Saturday morning tasting at a local street market. We live and breathe craft brewing and everything we do comes back to aspiring to brew world-class ales and striving to instigate a local craft beer revolution.
At times it may seem like BrewDog are shouting too loud, however the unforgiving territories of windswept North Scotland have a lot in common with the landscape that greets any UK craft brewer-We're simply shouting loud enough to be heard. We want to put craft beer on the map and show people how rewarding and amazing proper beer actually is and to redefine people's perceptions of what beer truly is.
We feel that by causing controversy, unsettling institutions and really pushing the envelope we can raise awareness for craft beer in the UK and get more dispassionate consumers starting the journey to towards becoming bonafide craft beer aficionados. The simple fact that we seem to generate headlines makes people aware that there is an alternative approach to beer. Oh and our dog Bracken just loves wearing his penguin suit.