The massive craft brewer's program offers loans and investment in up-and-coming breweries.
Beer tends to put more of emphasis on the importance of independent than other products. For proof, look no further than the “Certified Independent Craft” logo. Some of the reasons are clear: Consolidation turned the beer industry into a wasteland by the 1970s. But at the same time, breweries are still business, and they’re run by people, and people need money. The lure to “sell out” is obvious—which is why some larger craft breweries have been looking to help finance new breweries so they don’t have to look for money elsewhere. For instance, California’s Stone Brewing launched their “True Craft” program in 2016. More recently, the Scottish craft brewing giant BrewDog has promised to double the amount it’s looking to invest in upstart brewers.
In an interview with The Herald Scotland, BrewDog co-founder James Watt said his company was upping its development fund to £200,000 a year (about $260,000). Watt said the plan would be to help out by providing minimal interest loans or potentially taking a minority stake in these businesses. Meanwhile, he said his brand—which has grown from a small two-man upstart about a decade ago to a billion dollars business with breweries in multiple countries (including, specifically, in Ohio) and dozens of bars around the world—would also want to help out with what they’ve learned along the way.
“We would not only want to help these companies financially but we would want to showcase their beer in all of our bars, we would want to help them with expertise and advice in markets in both the UK and exports,” Watt was quoted as saying, “so it is only partly about the financial support but also what we can share with them based on our experience and which of our resources we can use to help them develop their business.”
Though it’s not entirely clear if BrewDog has used this investment funding to help out breweries in the past or whether any plans have already been made for the future, this past April, the company did make an undisclosed investment in the London-based cider brand Hawkes—proving that BrewDog is certainly ready to strike when the opportunity seems fitting.