We chat to the friends who started their own brewery to make the beer they wanted to drink!
BrewDog is the largest independent brewery in Scotland. Started by beer loving friends James Watt and Martin Dickie, their beers have received a cult following along with a mix of good and bad press attention for their high percentages and witty names such as Tactical Nuclear Penguin and Trashy Blonde. In response to criticism for their high percentages, the duo released a pitifully weak 1% beer named Nanny State.
We caught up with James, one half of the brewing duo to hear their story and find out what it's really like having every man's dream job!
Was it always your dream to go into brewing?
Martin and I started home-brewing back in 2005, since then we always wanted to have our own brewery. The BrewDog idea was brewed a little while before the initial beers were!
"We wanted to put the craft and the passion back into beer!"
We could not find any beers that we liked in the UK so we decided to start making our own. The UK beer market is dominated by the multinational mega corporations and the cheap, bland liquid cardboard they industrially brew. We wanted to put the craft and the passion back into beer and provide an alternative!
What process do you go through when creating new flavours?
The process is very simple and very selfish! What do we want to drink? Cool, then let's make it! And as for the names, the beers speak to us! Punk IPA is aggressive, spiky, rebellious and really does not care if you like it or not!
"If I am in the mood for being smashed about with hops I will go for a Hardcore!"
What's been your favourite Brewdog beer?
I don't have a favourite! Different times, occasions and settings. If I want a quick beer after work I may grab a 77 Lager, if I want a great beer with spicy food I will reach for a Punk IPA, if I am in the mood for being smashed about with hops I will go for a Hardcore or if I want to enjoy a beer with some dark chocolate I will have a Paradox.
What keeps you motivated?
We want to make other people as passionate about craft beer as we are. This is our inspiration and our goal! We want to introduce people to a different approach to beer, challenge their perceptions of beer and elevate its status. All whilst having a little fun and unsettling some institutions along the way.
What drives you to innovate?
We are just too inexperienced to know how things "should" be done. Consequently we have always been keen on finding our own way.
"We are just too inexperienced to know how things "should" be done."
What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow a similar dream?
Have complete belief in your vision and what you are trying to achieve, don't let anyone shake this. Be prepared to work like an absolute son of a b**** and always be passionate!
Do you have any other dreams or projects on the go?
Musa Aberdeen (a restaurant, art gallery and music venue in Aberdeen, Scotland) - I took it over 2 months ago. It is my hobby!
Are you a workaholic?
I am a workaholic! But then I love what I do so it does not really feel like working at all! I am a beer geek and a business geek, my preferred way to relax is reading a business book (FLIP and Chasing Cool are my 2 current favourites) with a glass of great craft beer whilst listening to some old Radiohead albums.
What's next for you and Brewdog?