Jul 052013

BrewDog’s annual general meeting on Saturday 22 June in the AECC came on the heels of a new share offering, impressive financials, and yet more awards; Aberdeen Voice contributor and card-carrying BrewDog shareholder Suzanne Kelly and Voice photographer Julie Thompson were on the spot.

A very sombre AGM was held in north Aberdeen fairly recently. The men at the helm of the business in question visibly squirmed as they addressed a small number of unmoved shareholders about their 2012 failures and shattered plans. In a speech peppered with jargon, the board spoke of ‘customer-facing businesses’ and so on, knowing they had turned in yet another poor year’s performance.

Following the gloomy AGM, the press called the business ‘down in the dumps.’  The controversial management continues to ignore calls for its resignation, despite a catalogue of failures, and investors have little to look forward to in the foreseeable future.

Thankfully, I’m not an Aberdeen Football Club shareholder.

No, I attended my second BrewDog AGM at the AECC, which was more like a party with a few hours devoted to business matters, and very successful business matters at that.  What a swell party (well, AGM) it was:

There is nothing like a BrewDog AGM, yet six years ago, you would have found BrewDog’s founders James Watt and Martin Dickie flogging small quantities of their beer at the Aberdeen Farmer’s market on Belmont Street.  Times have changed.

Hundreds of fellow shareholders from across the world (Belgium, France, Germany, Singapore) converged on the AECC to celebrate all things BrewDog.  Representing all ages, sexes shapes and sizes, BrewDog shareholders and their guests settled down to the serious business of drinking beer, talking beer, thinking beer and of course tasting beer.

The attendees also enjoyed great bands, great food, a wide range of discounted merchandise and beer, and they found time to address a little bit of financial business, too.

BrewDog’s AGM mirrors the company in many ways.  Both are growing bigger and better every year.  Both put a high premium on engaging with the public, and do so with a huge degree of success which professional PR moguls only wish they could bottle and sell.

In terms of bottling and selling, BrewDog is now Britain’s fastest-growing food and drink brand.  Not bad.  The company are serious about beer and the business of beer, and here are some facts and figures which show how that seriousness is made manifest:-

BrewDog has achieved an average annual growth of 167 per cent over the past five years and the company is valued at over three times the value it was given during the last Equity for Punks scheme in 2011.

The company made 42,000 shares available to anyone to buy at £95 each, ignoring traditional methods of funding to support its continued rapid growth. The brewery plans to use the funds raised to further expand its new brewery, its burgeoning bar division and a new series of bottle shops across the UK.

  • BrewDog now hires 187 staff and is on track to turnover £20m in 2013.
  • BrewDog’s biggest success in the past year has been the growth of its bar division, opening 12 bars since 2010 – largely funded by Equity for Punks investment – including its first international location in Stockholm, Sweden.

There is much to look forward to; the team have been taping a programme in America.  They’ve won yet more awards for business performance; they plan more expansion and a visitors’ shop.

Seeing as how they sold £1 million worth of shares of the new offering in 24 hours, another bumper year is

Can world domination be far off?

Looking at how this company started, how it deals with its staff, investors and the beer-drinking public, I wouldn’t be surprised.  This is the space to watch.

I’m not telling anyone to invest in anything; I’m just proud to be part of a local success story that’s employing people and reintroducing the world to chemical-free, innovative, tasty beer.  And why not?

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  6 Responses to “BrewDog AGM 2013: Local Heroes”

  1. Oh, me! More sycophantic “reportage” from Brew Dog’s biggest fan(nay!) I agree that here is a small, successful, local firm but do we really need Ms Kelly to trumpet their every success in laborious detail?
    “Can world domination be far off” she asks, with no hint of irony and no apparent knowledge of cliche. And, once past the age of nine, it might be best to refrain from starting a sentence with the phrase “Seeing as how…”? Apart from that, though, all good, innovative journalism. Cheers!

    • How lovely for Angela Joss, the new Aberdeen Inspired Street Ambassador [what that? Ed] to take time out from her busy role supporting businesses to comment constructively on my little article. Thank you Angela.

      I clearly missed the public advertisement for the Street Ambassador role which must have been in the help wanted sections, but undoubtedly the friendliest, warmest, most business-savvy candidate got this meaty role (and she says I don’t get irony).

      Angela’s criticism of my humble prose is obviously completely independent of my past satirical attacks on some of the directors of Inspired she now serves (including John Michie and the ubiquitous Bob Collier). Voice readers will of course know the many roles these gentlemen take in our city, and would have loved the chance to work under them. Angela brings years of retail experience to her role, I have no doubt.

      Those of you wondering what Inspired is, their newsletters which trumpet their every plan (if not many successes) can be found here: http://www.aberdeeninspired.com/index.php/about/newsletters#.Udr3Q3ZwbIU

      Perhaps when time permits, Angela will turn her gentle instructive nature and proofreading skills to the Aberdeen Inspired web page, which contains this beautiful Conradesque paragraph:

      “The role of Street Ambassador will be a public face of Aberdeen Inspired, being a visible precense liasing with visitors and levy payers. Acting as the eyes and ears of the Board of Directors, Angela will also be the first point of contact on a one-to one basis with businesses in the city, acting in a customer service role .”

      Good luck with the proofreading, and being the eyes and ears of Bob Collier and Co. I know you are the person best equipped morally and linguistically for the task. I’m sure you will make your ‘precense’ felt.

      Tally Ho!


      I look forward to Angela’s reply, which I have no doubt will instruct and entertain us all further when it arrives. But now it’s time to go watch Panorama.

  2. Oh, Ms Kelly, are you seriously suggesting that I’m critical of yet another Brew Dog article because you’ve, at some point, apparently been critical of two men on the Board of a company that I work for? Well, let’s set THAT one straight – I commented as I did because you have a tendency to be sycophantic and demonstrate a lack of balance in both your subject matter and your approach to your “work”. And, for a “writer”, you’ve a sometimes tenuous grasp of the editing process. End of.

    Can’t decide if I find your research into my part time job flattering or creepy. It’s my first job since I had my children, I’m enjoying it immensely, and giving it my very best. Of course, I understand your implication that it’s not a “proper” career for a “real” woman like you, but I will take on board what a sell out I am, in your (jaundiced) eyes. However, there is some dignity in labour, I believe in the principle aims of the organization I work for, and I’m really proud that the money I earn pays for my lovely children to take acting, dancing and music lessons, as well as providing other, extra treats for the whole family. It’s hard for me to feel any kind of embarassment about that.

    Finally, I’m able to keep my social/private life and my employment separate. Perhaps you ought to try it, Ms Kelly.

    ( * Last sentence removed due to it’s blatant defamatory nature/content. Free speech is wonderful …. until it becomes something someone may have to pay dear for 🙂 – Moderator )

    • Dear Angela

      I knew you would find more useful comments to add; thank you ever so much. The research I did on your appointment came from it being announced on the Inspired website, on Facebook, and comments you yourself made. I can see straight away you will be a great ambassador for the business community. I can only hope to one day attain the historic balance you show. All the best

  3. Well said Angela, the sycophantic drooling over Brewdog is nauseating. The in place of the moment for students and left wing activists to hang out trying to act cool, I give it a couple years before the latest new place to hang out opens.

    I sympathise with the likes of you who are working hard for the business community, you know the people who provide employment for a good percentage of the population, how dare they give the people of Aberdeen employment to feed their families.

    In return as I have you get these people digging into your private life if you raise a questioning voice.

    And Suzanne asking for balance, hahahahahahaha, pot kettle dear!!!!

    Tally ho.

  4. Great article I enjoyed reading this very much, I get my groceries delivered and I’ve just added a dozen bottles of Brewdog beer into the online shopping basket.

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