Top academic slams BrewDog for “selling out” to capitalists it appeared to despise

SCOTTISH craft beer company BrewDog has sold out to the capitalists it appeared to despise – according to a top academic.
Scott Taylor, head of the Entrepreneurship & Local Economy department at the University of Birmingham, says the company has had a “rapid move from challenging capitalism to embodying it.”
BrewDog announced on Monday that American private equity company TSG Consumer Partners had acquired 22% of the company.
And last month, the “punk” beer company backed down after lawyers sent a warning to a pub which was set to be called The Lone Wolf – the name of a spirit launched by BrewDog.
These events prompted Taylor to write an article in an academic magazine entitled: “Punked? How an upstart brewing company sold up and sold out.”
Taylor writes: “Want to be a multi-millionaire? Well then, start a “rebel business”, generate brand controversy – and then sell it to the capitalists you appeared to despise. That’s one way to do it.
“Scottish multinational brewery, distiller and bar chain BrewDog is the most recent version of this story. It has attracted a lot of attention recently. First, the firm blamed “trigger-happy” corporate lawyers for sending out “cease and desist” letters to small independent bars to protect its trademarking.
“Now the co-founders have announced they have sold 22% of the company to a US private equity firm, valuing BrewDog at a surprising £1 billion. The two founders are now reported to be around £100m better off between them.”
He adds: “There are two stories here. One is about remarkable growth and success selling interesting products.
“That should be celebrated for job creation, promotion of different beers and spirits – and for provoking a sense of fun while challenging the dysfunctions of contemporary capitalism.
“And in the final chapter, there is a rapid move from challenging capitalism to embodying it. It’s not easy trading on rebellion.”
Brewdog was formed in 2007 by just two shareholders, and opened its first bar, in their hometown of Aberdeen in 2010.
On their website, co-founder James Watt writes: Martin [Dickie] and I were bored of the industrially brewed lagers and stuffy ales that dominated the UK beer market.
“We decided the best way to fix this undesirable predicament was to brew our own. Consequently in April 2007 BrewDog was born.
“We brewed tiny batches, filled bottles by hand and sold our beers at local markets and out of the back of our beat up old van.
“Our biggest mission when we set up BrewDog was to make other people as passionate about great craft beer as we are. And that is still our biggest mission today.”
Today, Brewdog owns over 40 bars and has a production output of 220,000 hectolitres.