BrewDog's global ambitions see opening of six new Italian bars

Maverick Scots beer maker BrewDog has continued its global expansion after agreeing a new Italian franchise deal.

The tie-up with 4Food will see the opening of six bars in the next three years across the cities of Milan, Turin and Genoa in the northern part of the country.

The deal was facilitated by WhiteSpace Partners, with the first bar set to open in early 2022.

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James Watt, co-founder and chief executive of BrewDog, which has become one of the UK’s biggest craft brewers, aided by a string of headline-grabbing publicity stunts, said: “When we first started shipping beer overseas many years ago, Italy was one of the first markets to stock Punk IPA, so we’ve always felt a strong connection with this amazing country and the beer drinkers who live there.

International sales of BrewDog have grown significantly in recent years and its beers are now available in more than 60 countries.

“This is why we’re delighted to be working with 4Food to open six new BrewDog bars in northern Italy over the next three years.

“These beacons of beer will be a true showcase of our brand, with a focus on high-quality beer, fantastic food experiences and exceptional service. We can’t wait for this project to get underway.”

Barbara Balistreri and Maurizio Raviolo, founding partners of 4Food, added: "We are honoured to represent the BrewDog brand in the north-west regions of Italy, and we are proud to bring a brand that excels for a high-quality product, unique positioning on the market and great attention and respect for the environment."

The news follows recent bar openings in Wiesbaden in Germany, where franchisee Bruton Hospitality will open three further bars this year in Frankfurt and Berlin, and a new bar opening in New Albany in the US, where the Scottish brand operates five bars, a craft beer hotel and brewery.

Last month, the beer maker launched a joint venture with a Japanese brewing giant as it looks to boost its overseas sales.

The agreement with Asahi Breweries will see BrewDog’s core products such as Punk IPA, Hazy Jane and Elvis Juice rolled out across Japan.

The joint venture – over which BrewDog will retain a controlling interest – will be known as BrewDog Japan and is the first of its type for the Ellon-based brewer.

While BrewDog beers are already available in limited locations across Japan, the joint venture is set to invest to grow brand awareness country-wide and to “increase significantly” the distribution network of bars and restaurants stocking the Scots firm’s products.

The new venture will operate as a standalone entity with its own sales, marketing and back-office teams.

BrewDog bosses said they had explored a number of “strategic options” to accelerate the expansion of its business in the fast-growing Asian markets. The creation of a joint venture with Japan’s biggest beer maker will provide a “rapid boost” to BrewDog’s distribution capability, while retaining its independence.

International sales of BrewDog have grown significantly in recent years and its beers are now available in more than 60 countries. Overseas sales more than doubled between 2017 and 2020 and, despite the pandemic, are expected to show further “significant” growth over 2021.

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