BrewDog lays out manifesto and says 2020 IPO on track

Craft beer firm BrewDog has said a stock market debut remains a possibility despite recent woes experienced by other firms going public.
The firm has detailed its franchising plans, with four Scots sites mooted. Picture: contributed.The firm has detailed its franchising plans, with four Scots sites mooted. Picture: contributed.
The firm has detailed its franchising plans, with four Scots sites mooted. Picture: contributed.

Co-founder James Watt said plans for an initial public offering (IPO) were still on track for 2020.

The brewer is considering an IPO in either the UK or the US, although Watt said London was the firm’s preference at this stage.

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He said Ellon-based BrewDog has not been “put off” by the recent IPO jitters sparked by the flotations of luxury car maker Aston Martin and peer-to-peer lender Funding Circle, which have seen shares tumble since going public.

Watt said: “For us, it’s a very different sector. We are working to schedule to at least be in a position to have the option to list some time in 2020, if market conditions are right.”

He added that, with about 90,000 “Equity Punk” investors on board thanks to crowdfunding efforts, an IPO would be the natural next step. “We see a long term IPO as an evolution of that model,” he said.

His comments came as the brewer unveiled what it described as an “ambitious” business manifesto with ventures including a fully refrigerated beer warehouse near Glasgow and a franchise programme.

The BrewDog BluePrint includes more than 30 “exciting new initiatives” for the next 12 months and beyond, Watt said.

Key points include “a number of new product and distribution innovations”, the first of which is The Hop Hub, its new distribution centre near Glasgow that it says is set to be Europe’s first fully refrigerated beer warehouse.

BrewDog said the move will establish Europe’s first fully chilled supply chain, with Hop Hub scheduled to launch with refrigeration from November.

A separate initiative will see the firm let its Equity Punks set up their own craft beer outpost with the introduction of the BrewDog bar franchise programme. The scheme will be trialled in ten UK locations, including Ayr, North Berwick, Oban and Kirkwall. Watt commented that these locations are “indicative”, and it is open to other suggestions

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Also highlighted were bar openings in Paris, Hamburg, London’s Brixton and Canary Wharf, Manchester, Dublin, Toronto, Budapest and Brisbane.

In terms of socially-minded ventures, initiatives include the BrewDog Foundation, a £1 million annual fund that will be donated to good causes while the brewer said it was relaunching its Development Fund, making up to £200,000 available each year to help small craft breweries and start-ups get established.

As for where BrewDog will be in 12 months’ time, Watt joked that “global domination” is on the cards, but added: “We want to continue making our beers better, we want to continue getting better as an employer and we want to continue fostering even better relationships between ourselves and our community of [nearly] 100,000 Equity Punks. I think if we focus steadfastly and resolutely on those things everything else takes care of itself and wherever we get to is where we’re supposed to be.”