Scotland’s Unapologetically “Punk” Beers Come to the City of Brotherly Love
In 2007, two 24-year-old Scottish beer geeks, James Watt and Martin Dickie, dreamed of creating a brewery that challenged the “industrially brewed lagers and stuffy ales” that dominated their native UK beer scene. Leasing a small building on the northern coast of Scotland, James and Martin founded BrewDog. Their mission of making other people as passionate about great beer as they are, has grown into a business with nearly 50 brewpubs spread across the globe and thousands of employees.
Lucky for us, BrewDog has brought their beer to Philadelphia. Draught Lines sat down with brewery rep Emma Sears to learn more about their beer and why their flagship IPA doesn’t actually stand for “India Pale Ale”.
Draught Lines (D.L.) For Philly beer fans who may not know, what is the origin of BrewDog?
Emma Sears (E.S.) BrewDog is an independent brewery born in Scotland, based in Columbus, Ohio. James and Martin (and the original “brew dog”, Bracken) are the wild folks behind the brewery. In 2007, James and Martin began brewing craft beer that was unquestionably unique to the UK. Twenty-four years old at the time, the two began making hardcore craft beer that tasted nothing like traditional lager. Ten years later, BrewDog has thousands of employees, 46 brewpubs all over the world, is a living wage employer and has 70,000+ shareholders.
D.L. As BrewDog expands to new cities, what made Philly a good fit?
E.S. More than a century ago, Philadelphia was known as the “Great American Libation.” It’s no secret that Philadelphians like to have a good time. Today, there’s this stealth combination of historical pride within the beer community, as well as an eagerness to learn and grow as a city, and that’s music to our BrewDog ears.
There’s always something enticing happening in Philly, and the support is organic and genuine. Passionate drinkers – that’s exactly what BrewDog looks for in new markets.
D.L. BrewDog was previously available in Philly for a brief time a few years ago. What changed in the interim?
E.S. A lot has changed in the past year for BrewDog USA. There are no hard feelings towards Philly, or any other city we pulled out of; it was more of a learning experience as far as how and where BrewDog would begin their journey in the U.S. And let us tell you, we’re excited to be growing and learning from this country!
D.L. What does BrewDog’s “punk” attitude and moniker mean?
E.S. To be “punk” is to go against-the-grain, be unapologetically yourself and driven by exploration of something different. James and Martin’s mission with Punk IPA was to do for beer what punk did for music. And with that, our flagship was born.
Punk IPA is what started it all for BrewDog. In the mid-2000s, James and Martin realized that there weren’t many craft offerings in the UK, and they began to explore the “IPA territory” in their hometown of Fraserburgh.
What sets Punk apart from typical IPAs is that every single glass has loads of tropical fruit, citrusy bites and lychee. New Zealand’s Nelson Sauvin hops balance the piney & resinous American hops and give Punk a unique flavor profile that most IPA detractors can appreciate.
D.L. So, for your flagship, IPA actually stands for “India Punk Ale”?
E.S. The IPA is where it all began for BrewDog. James and Martin’s love for American hops and ingredients opened the floodgates for opportunity, experimentation and overall debauchery for BrewDog’s brewing excursions.
The U.S. has an infatuation with hops, resonance and tropical IPAs, and that’s what’s been getting a lot of attention as of late. Elvis Juice’s citrus-blast, Punk’s fruity dankness and Hazy Jane’s juicy New England style are all perfect companions to a hot day at the pool or a backyard barbeque. Other popular brews like Jet Black Heart and Disbeleaf offer particular flavors for the non-IPA drinkers that are extremely well received.
We’re beyond thrilled to open the doors of our sour facility very soon and showcase FunkMaster Richard Kilcullen’s out-of-the-barrel creations. For more info on where to find BrewDog beers, the BrewDog app will be your guide.
D.L. BrewDog engages their consumers directly in ways that other breweries don’t, with the “Equity for Punks” program, the giveaway of one million beers and more. What inspires BrewDog to interact with consumers on such a personal and innovative level?’
E.S. Our Equity Punks are our family, friends, community, pups, craft-beer-lovers and the heart & soul of our business. Everything we do here at BrewDog is for our BrewDog community. The craft beer revolution requires support and passion from everyone who gives a damn about craft beer, and we’re here to provide that opportunity for everyone interested! While we’re at it, we’re going to show our Equity Punks a damn good time.
Equity Punks can buy a share of BrewDog (starting at $50) and have a direct impact on the direction of our company. The feedback is essential to BrewDog, and we take it very seriously. Whether it’s the name, style or design of a beer, we are always listening.
D.L. What can Philly expect to see from BrewDog in the near future?
E.S. We have lots of exciting things in store for Philadelphia, but you’ll just have to wait and see! What I can guarantee is, many new styles coming out as the seasons change. Cheers to you, Philly!