Courtesy of Hawkes

The booming Scottish brewery said they tried making cider themselves, but decided on another route.

Mike Pomranz
April 09, 2018

Craft beer has continued to grow over the past decade, but few, if any, have grown like Scotland’s BrewDog. Launched in 2007 as a craft beer loving two-man startup, BrewDog has ballooned into an international behemoth—still significantly smaller production-wise than the largest brands like Anheuser-Busch or even Sam Adams’ Boston Beer Company—but not particularly shy about their ambitions either. The company now has over 1,000 employees, plans to soon have breweries on four continents, and its own distilling arm, LoneWolf. Now, over the weekend, BrewDog announced it’s expanding into the cider world as well, making an undisclosed investment in London’s Hawkes Cidery.

According to an announcement from the company, BrewDog had been interested in completing its beer, spirits and cider trio for some time, but the Hawkes investment was a little bit of a plan B: “When we recently turned our attention to cider, we attempted to create it ourselves but found the expertise didn’t already exist within our crew.” Instead, BrewDog looked to others in the industry, and a meeting a few months ago with Hawkes founder Simon Wright proved fruitful (pun intended). “Here, we found a kindred spirit,” BrewDog continued. “Hawkes’ approach to cider parallels our heritage with beer, and we see huge potential in the difference the business can make to a mass-market monopolized segment of the drinks scene.”

“We are in an industry that has for far too long allowed ‘big’ cider and mass market products to hold back innovation and growth,” Wright said in a statement. “I’ve long been impressed by BrewDog’s attitude and approach to challenging the status quo of beer in the U.K. and around the world. Just like us, they stand up for those who want to break free, make a difference and take the cider scene into an entirely new era. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”

BrewDog’s plans for Hawkes already appear right in line with its own, with talk of “imminent growth both at home in the U.K. and internationally.” However, the brewery also emphasized that the Hawkes’ current range of ciders and the people behind them, including Wright, would remain the same, with BrewDog’s senior team only serving to “support his ambitions.”

The news comes hot on the heels of another ambitious plan from BrewDog, with the company saying it’s considering a stock flotation as soon as 2020, and both a U.K. listing or a U.S. listing—where the brand has recently opened a brewery in Ohio—are on the table.