£1.5m grant to boost BrewDog workforce

CRAFT beer producer BrewDog has announced plans to create 130 jobs at its Aberdeenshire headquarters after securing a £1.5 million regional selective assistance (RSA) grant.

James Watt, left, and Martin Dickie founded Brewdog in 2007. Picture: Contributed
James Watt, left, and Martin Dickie founded Brewdog in 2007. Picture: Contributed

The Ellon-based firm, founded by James Watt and Martin Dickie in 2007, ships its beers to more than 50 countries and has 27 bars around the world, including Italy, Japan and Spain.

The RSA grant will see its Ellon workforce increase from 90 to 200 and Deputy First Minister John Swinney said the company was a “remarkable Scottish success story”.

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He added: “Scotland is fast becoming one of the world’s leading food and drink nations and demand for our products has seen rapid growth in the overseas markets for many years now.

James Watt, left, and Martin Dickie founded Brewdog in 2007. Picture: Contributed

“The Scottish Government is constantly working to make sure Scotland is an excellent place to do business, and I commend companies like BrewDog who are taking advantage of market conditions to expand and create quality products with international appeal.”

Plans for the jobs boost were revealed as BrewDog was named as one of the UK’s 1,000 most inspirational companies by the London Stock Exchange (LSE).

A further 75 Scottish firms made the list, including Glasgow-based cloud computing specialist Iomart, Inchinnan gas generator firm Peak Scientific and BenRiach, the single malt Scotch distiller.

LSE chief executive Xavier Rolet said: “There are more than four million SMEs in Britain and their success is inextricably linked to the success of the economy. We need to ensure that the best start-ups have the support they need to make the transition from million-pound-starlets to billion-pound superstars.”

Launching the report, supported by the Business Growth Fund, Cenkos Securities and Lloyds Banking Group, Business Secretary Vince Cable said the UK government was “backing innovative and ambitious companies like these to grow and export all over the world”.

He added: “Access to finance is an important enabler to growth and the British Business Bank that the government has set up is playing a particularly important role in helping to ensure finance markets work more effectively for smaller businesses.”

Watt and Dickie set up BrewDog when they were 24. Seven years on, the company employs more than 350 people and has funded its expansion through its “Equity For Punks” crowdfunding scheme.

“One of our proudest moments in 2014 was announcing that BrewDog is a living wage employer – everyone on our team, from the incredible brewing and production crew to the passionate bar staff, are critical to the growth and success of BrewDog and the craft beer industry,” Watt said yesterday.

“We are truly thankful for the immense support from the RSA and Scottish Enterprise. With the increased funding we are able to make our dreams a reality and add loads more talented people to the BrewDog team.”

Allan McCabe, head of RSA at Scottish Enterprise, said: “To ensure the continued growth of the food and drink sector in Scotland, we need to ensure that our companies have ambitious business leaders with a global mindset who can innovate to keep up with market trends and really inspire their employees.

“I think it’s fair to say that BrewDog is such a company; under the strong leadership of James and Martin, and with an ambitious growth strategy, the company has come a long way in a relatively short time.”