“We want to make beer for people who are just as passionate about it as we are.” This is the simple mission of the BrewDog Brewery in the northeast of Scotland who understand themselves to be the spearhead of the craft beer revolution in the United Kingdom and worldwide. The company was founded in 2007 by former sea captain and fully qualified lawyer James Watt and his friend Martin Dickie, who had just received his degree in brewing and distilling in Edinburgh with distinction. Watt and Dickie want to change the world with their craft beer, with the two ceremoniously swearing to themselves and their customers so help me dog – the dog being the third founder member of the brewery.
One thing you shouldn’t expect from BrewDog is false modesty; without a healthy dose of self-confidence – which incidentally is fully commensurate with the extraordinary class of beer they make – the young company would hardly have become the biggest independent brewery in Scotland in such short a time. Since 2010 the brewery has grown an average of 167% per year. According to the rankings in the Sunday Times, this makes it the fastest-growing company in the British food and beverage industry – for the fourth time running.
In the meantime the brand is also popular way beyond the borders of Great Britain; officially available in Germany since 2010, the unconventional craft beer from Scotland is now even drunk in Mexico, China, and Japan and the Swedes in particular simply love it. In the United States, Dickie and Watt not only have more and more people enthused about their beer but are also gathering a growing number of fans on TV screens. In a television series called Brew Dogs, now in its third season, the two company founders tour the US and infect millions of beer drinkers from Miami to Seattle with their passion for craft beer.
Part of BrewDog’s success is being able to turn convention on its head and redefine traditions. They see themselves as punks, giving one of their special edition beers the appropriate title of Never Mind the Anabolics and brewing the strongest beer in the world with 55% alcohol by volume named The End of History. To celebrate the opening of one of the 28 BrewDog bars worldwide in the London borough of Camden, James Watt and Martin Dickie even rolled through the center of the metropolis in a tank. Besides spectacular marketing campaigns their recipe for success consists of only using real and natural ingredients and much higher quantities of hops and malt, of experimenting and redefining the limits – all with incredible zeal and complete conviction.
The KHS Innofill Can DVD can filler was developed with an eye to saving on resources – a fact also honored by the TÜV certificate.
Following an extensive audit the KHS Innofill Can DVD can filler, also in operation at BrewDog, has been awarded the coveted and internationally acclaimed energy and media efficiency (EME) quality mark by TÜV SÜD. This confirms the high level of sustainability of the filling machines thanks to their extremely low consumption of energy and materials.
- Up to 50% less oxygen pickup using the same amount of CO₂ and up to 30% less CO₂ with the same oxygen content in the low-pressure CAN+ purging process.
- 20% shorter cleaning intervals and considerably longer maintenance cycles thanks to the machine’s extremely hygienic design and no need for water lubrication in the filler carousel area.
- 100% longer service life for all seals that come into contact with product in the filling valves as these are now made of Teflon (PTFE)1 instead of rubber (EPDM)2. Easier cleaning, much lower carryover of aromatic substances.
All told, these product innovations result in lower costs for water, energy and cleaning agents, higher line availability and, ultimately, considerable savings in the total cost of ownership (TCO).
1 PTFE = polytetrafluoroethylene
2 EPDM = Ethylene propylene diene rubber
Record-breaking crowd-funded enterprise
The company is also breaching new avenues when it comes to its finances. In order to stay on its successful course and continue to grow, considerable investment is required which BrewDog intends to raise in what’s probably the biggest crowd-funded enterprise to date worldwide. By the middle of 2016 the Equity for Punks campaign – already the fourth of its kind – is expected to have raised the legendary sum of €32 million. Shareholders can then not only hope for an impressive return on their investment but are also rewarded for their willingness to take a risk in beer – which they can either order online or imbibe at one of the BrewDog bars.
It’s clear where the brewery’s headed: firstly, new products and services are to be added to the portfolio – more bars and also a craft beer hotel are in the pipeline – and secondly, capacities are also to be massively increased, both in Scotland and in the USA. This includes a craft beer can crusade – as BrewDog puts it – which the company has recently embarked on. Its range of canned beers with their own can design is to be extended because it fits in nicely with the brand philosophy. Cans are more environmentally friendly than bottles and give the hoppy ales ultimate protection against UV light and oxygen.
For the first time the Scots have now obtained help for this project from Dortmund in Germany. “In KHS we’ve found a partner who tackles completely new things with the same lack of compromise as we do,” says Alain Atmouni, who has been working as a maintenance engineer for BrewDog for three years now. Professionalism and reliability have top priority for him and his colleagues. However crazy the marketing ploys are, at some point the fun turns serious for a brewery like BrewDog with such ambitious targets. Even if you’re happy to experiment with your products, you don’t want to take any risks in production. And especially not when this is your very first investment in a canning line. “It was thus logical that we opted for one of the world’s leading manufacturers of filling and packaging systems,” emphasizes Atmouni. And BrewDog hasn’t regretted it. Atmouni tells us why. “In addition to the excellent quality of the machine, customer service of course also plays a vital role for us. We’re impressed by how personal and committed the support is that we’re getting from a company as big as KHS.” It goes without saying just how important this is to this company; its two owners are real characters who have rallied around 400 personalities as their employees. It’s therefore essential to get the chemistry right – especially with their external partners.