Scottish craft brewing giant BrewDog sets sights on New Zealand

Multinational brewery and pub chain BrewDog is seeking to raise A$750,000 ($810,000) as part of its plans to establish a physical presence in New Zealand.

The Scottish brand, which has ballooned to operations in most major markets and has more than 100 brew pub locations, kicked off its crowdfunding in December and so far has raised A$530,000 ($570,000).

Within the next two years, BrewDog plans to have a brew bar open in Auckland.

Ed Bott, BrewDog chief executive of Australia and New Zealand, said the company would by the end of the year have a local representative in the market working towards its New Zealand launch plans.

“It is a market we have previously serviced through distributors and now we’re super keen to bring our presence with bars and people,” Bott told the Herald.

“We’re looking at sites primarily in Auckland right now, but that’s not ruling out service sights in other locations.”

Bott said he could see up to five pub locations located across the country.

Across the ditch, BrewDog has its sights set on 20 brew pub locations. It currently just has one brewery location in Brisbane, which it opened in 2019, and is close to securing additional pub sites in Brisbane and Sydney.

It also has ambitious plans to build an eco-hotel in Brisbane that is dog friendly; complete with a dog park. This comes following a successful launch of what it says is the world’s first hotel in a brewery, The DogHouse, which it operates in Columbus, Ohio.

BrewDog has 40 pubs, globally, that it is planning to open within the next six months despite disruption from various lockdowns around the world due to the coronavirus pandemic.

BrewDog was founded in Aberdeenshire in 2007 by friends James Watt and Martin Dickie and has grown to set up breweries in Scotland, Berlin, Ohio and Brisbane. It is considered the world’s biggest craft beer bar operator and is particularly popular in Europe and Britain.

The company is 46 per cent owned by Watt and Dickie, along with more than 180,000 investors.

Its latest equity crowdfunding round is live on and open to New Zealand-based investors with up to 100,000 Class B shares available in BrewDog Group Australia Ltd for a minimum investment of A$100 ($108).

Part of the company’s pledge for new investors is discounts at its pubs worldwide.

“We see great opportunity in New Zealand,” Bott said.

“BrewDog is blown away by craft beer in New Zealand. In our opinion, it’s one of the leading countries in the world when it comes to quality, depth and range of local craft breweries, and for us that is a good sign of how healthy the craft beer scene is.

“We see ourselves as little bit like a big brother of craft to a certain degree because we have been doing it quite a while and by coming there and opening locations we always offer up half of our taps in our taprooms for locals to have their beer on tap as well.”

Bott said BrewDog felt the base in New Zealand was good to support its expansion plans.

Work was already underway to appoint a local country manager as were plans for importing its beer from the Brisbane brewery.

BrewDog would need a staff base of between 20-30 people to run a single brew pub in the country, along with two to three local sales reps, he said.

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