Why BrewDog Had to Dump Thousands of Bottles of Sour Beer Down the Drain
Scotland’s BrewDog didn’t go from a small two-man startup to a billion-dollar international brewing phenomenon in a decade by facing a lot of bad news. In fact, just this week, the company was able to boast about the opening of its new hotel-inside-a-brewery in Ohio. But turns out the week comes with a “painful setback” as well: Yesterday, BrewDog announced it had to dump “tens of thousands of pounds worth” of beer—and will essentially be rebottling their much-anticipated sour beer project from scratch.
Like many of today’s craft brewers, BrewDog has taken up an interest in the growing trend (now pretty well grown, actually) of sour and “wild” beers—brews built around elements like funky yeast and spontaneous fermentation. BrewDog decided to call this project “OverWorks,” and began producing these beers earlier this year.
After six months, these funky brews were about to roll out of the warehouse when, as BrewDog explained, a “painful setback” struck. “It was discovered around one in ten of the bottles has a catastrophic manufacturing defect compromising their structural integrity,” the brewery wrote on its website. “The bespoke 500ml Champagne-style bottles look incredible, feel substantial but warning signs were raised when routine handling lead to numerous breakages. Further inspection from our quality team and our manufacturer’s quality engineers have determined the bottles are not fit for release.”
As a result, BrewDog “made the call to dump all the OverWorks bottles filled to this point.” The brewery added, “This decision has not only cost us hundreds of thousands of pounds worth of stock and six months’ worth of production time but also caused heartbreak and genuine disappointment in those who have worked so hard to get these beers ready for you.”
BrewDog fans looking for any glimmer of good news can take solace in knowing that kegged versions of these OverWorks beers are fine and “ready to roll,” first to the UK, then internationally (though precisely when isn’t mentioned). Meanwhile, BrewDog has found replacement 500-milliliter bottles which they have already begun filling to help expedite the promised bottle release which “will come soon.”
Though dumping beer for quality control issues certainly isn’t unheard of, this kind of news is especially disappointing when the problem isn’t with the beer itself. There’s nothing worse than wasting perfectly good beer because of something like a packaging defect. Sounds like BrewDog will have some very happy drains though.