US partner of BrewDog looks to scale

Ellon-based beer firm BrewDog has provided more details on its partnership with an American craft beer lifestyle brand seeking to boost the sector’s diversity.

Beny Ashburn (left) and Teo Hunter of LA-based Crowns & Hops. Picture: contributed.

Crowns & Hops will be the first beneficiaries of the Scottish brewery’s revamped Development Fund, an initiative that sees BrewDog making up to £200,000 available each year to help small craft breweries, brands and start-ups get established.

It comes after BrewDog has made in-roads into the US, including the opening of a brewery and hotel in Columbus, Ohio. Its US division also brought in some £5 million in revenue in the first half of last year.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Crowns & Hops is the brainchild of LA-based craft beer enthusiasts Beny Ashburn and Teo Hunter, also known as Dope & Dank. They aim to shine a light on the lack of diversity in the current global craft beer culture and open the industry up to a much wider audience.

Through the Development Fund, BrewDog will help Crowns & Hops set up its first ever BrewPub, in Inglewood, California, and the production and distribution of Crowns & Hops signature line of beers.

BrewDog will also brew Crowns & Hops beers at its brewery in Ellon for distribution across the UK and beyond.

The Scottish firm will support its US partner with the management of two crowdfunding campaigns – dubbed the Crowns & Hops Crew – set to launch this year and with the aim of establishing a “physical collective of brand investors who share the passion and goals for authentic cultural representation in craft beer”.

This spring will see the release of Crowns & Hops’ signature beers, an IPA, a pilsner and a stout. Crowns & Hops has grown a loyal following through its commitment to build a craft beer industry that embraces the diversity and creativity of taste and culture. The coming months will see Crowns & Hops front a show on BrewDog’s digital TV network, The BrewDog Network.

Hunter said: “We’ve grown weary of asking for our presence to be acknowledged in a community that has never truly embraced us. So instead of waiting for it to happen organically, we’re doing it ourselves, and creating a community that will become a mecca for those that are searching for it.

“The spontaneity and creativity that exist in brewing is the same that exists within great jazz and hip-hop. We hope to stay true to the excellence of the craft in a way that brings the best products to our community.”

Ashburn added: “The time is now for cultural ownership. Responsible, authentic culture curated for the people by the people. We are thrilled to partner with BrewDog to help make this vision a reality.”

BrewDog cofounder James Watt praised the duo’s “infectious” passion for revolutionising craft beer. “The Crowns & Hops movement is inspiring brewers, bars, and beer enthusiasts around the world to take an honest and critical look at the ways craft beer culture has consciously and unconsciously excluded people of colour.”

He said he was “completely blown away by how unapologetic and uncompromising they are, and it opened my own eyes to a very serious issue we have in craft beer… I can’t wait to see what they can achieve with BrewDog’s support.”