Brewdog's founders James Watt & Martin Dickie on the future of craft beer and their all-time picks

So, you’ve not done bad for yourself. A TV show, a new brewery in the US, a huge bar and restaurant expansion. Are you still craft? What do you say to the doubters?

James Watt: ‘Well, all of the projects you mention are done with a single aim - to provide ways in which more people can enjoy amazing beer. It’s that simple. Whether opening a new bar or building our brewery in Columbus, we are going all-out to get great beer into the hands of craft beer fans and newcomers.

‘Look at Dogfish Head, Stone and Sierra Nevada - if you had to list three US craft breweries at the cutting edge right now, they would be on that piece of paper. And they all have those things you mention. In comparison, we are a fraction of their size - their facilities are ten times the size of ours. As long as we’re making our own beer the way we want to, with the same attitude, ambition and sense of humour, we’re still craft. And that won’t ever change.’

Equity for Punks IV has been launched - what do you see as the primary benefit for someone buying a share? What’s the primary benefit for BrewDog?

James Watt: ‘We’re indebted to our Equity Punks - without them, we simply wouldn’t have a brewery. But it’s also their brewery as well. We are proud to be owned by a community of like-minded people coming together and investing in something they truly believe in. For us, we are putting those guys - men and women who love craft beer - at the forefront of everything we do. We give our Equity Punks loads of cool benefits - bar discounts, co-operative brewdays, a beer on their birthday, invites to new bar launch events, and an invite to the biggest and craziest AGM on the planet - and we all have a blast.’

The UK is still far behind the US in terms of its craft beer scene - how do we educate the British drinker to enjoy great beer?

James Watt: ‘We are light years behind the American craft beer scene, but that’s because they are further down the road than we are. But the British market is changing so quickly; new craft breweries are appearing all the time. As long as they make quality beer, that market will increase. More great beer will become available, and the drinkers on this side of the Atlantic will catch on. It’ll take time, but it will happen.’

Martin Dickie: ‘I think one thing we can do as brewers is get the message across together. This collective spirit is something that people can relate to - it’s the industry as a whole taking time to ensure their beer tastes perfect, interacting with the people who buy it, coming together to collaborate on beers or share ideas or whatever. People’s perceptions will change at a faster rate as a result.’

As you expand, how do you keep an eye on quality?

Martin Dickie: ‘The quality of our beer is the most important thing of all. It’s the bedrock of our brewery. We have worked really hard to maintain that quality.’


Why do you fund fledgling craft breweries?

Martin Dickie: ‘Because we know what it was like. When James and I started back in 2007 in Fraserburgh, we went through all of the things that they are going through, on a daily basis. On our first day brewing, James managed to electrocute himself and fall off a ladder in the same morning. We have the development fund to get other breweries going, and we support craft breweries by stocking them in our bars and BottleDogs. It all helps get more craft beer out there.’


Outside of the beer world, which business people or thinkers do you admire?

Martin Dickie: ‘Kermit the Frog. He seems to know what’s going on.’

James Watt: ‘Can I vote for Martin?’


 If you could only drink three, non-BrewDog, beers forever - what would they be?

James Watt: ‘Ballast Point Sculpin. AleSmith Speedway Stout. Cantillon Rose de Gambrinus.’

Martin Dickie: ‘Anchor Steam, Victory Storm King and Stone Enjoy By.’

Which other breweries have nailed it?

‘Beavertown and Lovibonds here in the UK, but there are so so many others - too many to name!’