Brewdog, losing the plot?

brewdog-logo1Perhaps this is an easy target. I have never been a fan of Brewdog as company or as a brewer, nothing to do with the quality of their beer though. I have always been a tremendous fan of their bars which offer a great selection of good beer and great service. The Shepherds Bush bar is my local and is a lovely, open airy venue with a variety of seating and good pinball machines.

Recently though things have changed. It seems there is much more central buying. Neck Oil, Gamma Ray, Black Betty and Holy Cowbell are all good Beavertown beers but they are hardly cutting craft edge and having all four on at once seems excessive. Did they have to bulk buy to get the Lupuloids series? The remainder is also mainstream – Stone, Magic Rock, Weird Beard, BBNo all good but hey, we can get these anywhere. Camden Hells is the only non-Brewdog lager!

Staff have changed, service is slower, queues now exist at quiet times. More subtle things, I don’t see the manager having laid back team talks, staff aren’t interacting. (As a Chelsea supporter I notice these things.)

It may well be part of the corporate plan, Brewdog are an intensely commercial operation and the UK’s craft behemoth. Have they reached the limit of craft beer enthusiasts and to entice more mainstream customers in they have to offer names they have heard of like Beavertown etc. Become more like a normal pub? A pub for punks obviously.

Discuss.

6 thoughts on “Brewdog, losing the plot?

  1. Umm…. never thought I’d see the day when people complain that Stone, Magic Rock, Weird Beard, Beavertown, and Brew By Numbers are “mainstream” and common? Those are some of the best breweries about (excluding my 2 favourites Kernel and De Molen).

    They’ve all cemented themselves as some of the best breweries with some of the best beers about, I don’t care about drinking an ultra rare, wacky beer, I just want something that is of the highest quality and with the best taste that a beer can possibly have. And those breweries are all hitting very close to that mark IMO.

    May I ask what beers and brewers would satisfy you?

  2. Great observations. Whilst my nearest bd pub is nearly 50 miles away, Your descriptor reminds me of my last visit and cunjours notions of a football team who can’t decide to go pro or stay as amateur. Half time oranges or a rub down from the physio. Bd seems have taken its eyes off the beer and cast them farther a field. Their field of vision has changed, they no longer appear to be m a Brewer who own pubs but a (leveraged) global publican who brews beer. They are the Dynamo of pr and the Paul Daniels of beer.
    “Pr brews” no longer cut it. Focus on beer and they will come.

  3. ” I have never been a fan of Brewdog as company or as a brewer”
    Perhaps the reason you took the time to write this article. A Chelsea fan who is worried about a commercial operation ffs! Beavertown beers taste excellent and bravo to Brewdog for recognising this and stocking a rival competitor to please it’s customers. So many militant craft brew fans these days. How many pieces like this have you written about your local pub who still stock only Stella and Guinness? It’s so cool to slag off Brewdog in these circles. If it wasnt for them you wouldn’t have the availability of these ‘mainstream’ craft beers. Hope you get as many ‘likes’ as you were hoping for.

  4. I would rather drink Beavertown than Brewdog any day of the year. Brewdog have become big for UK ‘craft’ scale. However the products have changed substantially. The sumptuous Nelson nose which I used to get from Punk IPA is now about as frequent as a blue moon.

    Sure their special batches are and can be good but even those are becoming ridiculous and they’re definitely ignoring style guidelines. AB019 is not a Saison but for them it is!

    Their online persona is quite childish and annoying. They recently had a spat with well-respected beer writer Melissa Cole and for me that was quite frankly embarrassing. They have also been very rude to friends of mine and I have absolutely 0 interest in promoting their products.

    Beavertown are a big brewery for London now but still tiny compared to American standards. BBN is not as big as Brewdog or Beavertown. Weird Beard are still very small. Magic Rock are more mainstream but WB, Beavertown and BBN sell very well on reputation. Kernel don’t get enough credit and are the forerunners and did the London under-an-archway thing first. Kernel for me are still king but I think Brewdog are very aggressive and are definitely seeking to sell out soon.

    Saying that they’re punk without any knowledge of what being a punk actually is is very annoying. Also the branding is quite dated now! I wish they made beers as good as they used to be. That’s what should be doing the talking.

  5. I’ve clearly not expressed myself very well. What I meant to explain was…I used to like Brewdog bars more than I do now, I drink the non-Brewdog beer for personal reasons, the range of non-Brewdog is now ‘mainstream craft’ which, in London, can be found in many places. The smaller breweries and more wacky stuff is not so much in evidence.

    As it happens Beavertown, Weird Beard and BBNo are among my favourite beers. Wouldn’t De Molen be great in a BrewDog bar!

  6. Well that’s the last of Camden Hells in Brewdog, guess they are searching for a new lager now. Strange attitude imho, if it’s good beer then it’s good beer regardless of who brews it.

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