1. Dear James, please tell us something about your company. What’s behind BrewDog?
BrewDog started humbly in 2007 with just two men and dog brewing in their garage and selling beer from a battered van. Fast-forward seven years and BrewDog has become the UK’s fastest growing food and drinks company, employing over 300 people across seven countries in three continents. The reason for the success? One simple mission: “To make other people as passionate about craft beer as we are.”
We’ve shaken the foundations of the beer industry in the UK, completely revolutionising how people view beer, and ruffling the feathers of mega-breweries along the way.
We’ve always tried to expand the boundaries of what beer could be, and that has led us to brew the world’s strongest beer (End of History, 55% ABV) encased in bottles made from road kill, and the first beer to be brewed under the sea (Sunk Punk).
We applied our experimental brewing spirit to our business finance model, raising over £7 million from fans through our ‘Equity for Punks’ scheme. We now have over 14,000 shareholders across the world, and an awesome AGM every summer that is more rock concert than business meet.
We now have a bar in every major city in the UK, as well as seven sites around the world, with plans to continue expanding our beer production and international bar presence. Our goal is to spread the craft beer revolution to all corners of the globe.
2. Obviously, we really like your packaging. How would you describe it in a few words? What was your inspiration for it and how does it communicate your brand story?
From the start, we wanted our branding to reflect our mission. That mission was to stand up against homogenous mass produced beer that was dominating the UK market. This meant our labels, our messaging and merchandise had to reflect that. We were certain of the stand-out quality of our beer, the challenge then was to translate that into a visual identity that will attract a person in a bar or in the supermarket aisle and I think we were pretty successful with that.
Our letterpress design reflect quality and craft- the two most important facets in the production of BrewDog beer.
3. Has it been difficult to turn your design idea into a shelf-ready product or are there any special packaging features that were difficult to realise?
Well, we packaged our End of History beer inside the preserved bodies of squirrels and stoats…that always raises a few eyebrows.
4. What do you think, to what extend do you have to focus on packaging and design in order to survive as a brand in a harsh retail environment?
It is very important to have a a design and packaging that is reflective of the passions and culture of the manufacturer, but a good label can only take you so far. Ultimately, what will determine your survival in the market is the quality of the beer. That is what consumers are fundamentally interested in. We’ve never lost sight of that fact.
5. We are curious, will you soon surprise us with any new product / packaging launches?
It wouldn’t be a surprise if I told you.