In 2014, Brew By Numbers benefited from investment from the BrewDog Development Fund. BrewDog recently announced their stance on brewery independence, and we would like to make Brew By Numbers’ position known.
We value transparency greatly, in our friends, suppliers, colleagues in the brewing industry and in ourselves most of all. The investment we received through the BrewDog Development Fund has come to an end, and the shares bought in BBNo by BrewDog have been sold back to us at cost price. In the spirit of the openness and transparency displayed by those we admire in the industry, we would like to provide some context and clarity on our relationship with BrewDog.
In 2013, Brew By Numbers was still just two friends, brewing with equipment not much larger than the average homebrew set up, in a basement in South London. A move from that setting wasn’t just highly desirable for us as a microbrewery with a big vision, but hugely necessary for us to the take the next steps as a small business.
We had spoken to a number of banks about finance to help us grow, but none of them seemed to grasp what was happening in brewing in the UK at the time, and there was little recognition of our potential. Despite having received acclaim for our beers, we felt frustrated by the lack of support available to us.
James Watt met Tom and Dave back in those early days of BBNo, and fully understood and liked our concept. A year later, we sent several beers to James, along with our business plan. James keenly understood what was happening in the brewing industry, and, having made a similarly huge leap with Martin Dickie in the early days of BrewDog, gave us his and BrewDog’s backing, in the form of investment.
This support reassured Brew By Numbers’ first investors – Tom and Dave’s families – and gave banks we approached far greater confidence in our business and potential. Confidence is hugely important, it can be the difference in whether a business succeeds or fails.
Beyond this, BrewDog’s investment provided clear and transparent benefits, with no demands of control. BBNo was offered what we needed most: support from an ambitious and growing brewery, advice informed by their experience in undergoing similar growth, and custom – crucial in helping us get our beers the wider recognition we wanted. However, some people did not approve of our association with BrewDog, and we did lose some customers as a result of their investment.
Whilst at no point did BrewDog wish to interfere in the running of BBNo, some saw the move as acquisitional and controlling, but nothing could be further from the truth. Having the generous support and friendship of a bigger brother has been valuable in the growth of Brew By Numbers as a brewery, and the end of this involvement has been conducted just as fairly as when it began.
BrewDog were generous enough to sell the shares in BBNo back to us at cost price, and have publicly cited their stance on the independence of breweries. As a brewery, we have returned to once again being an independent, family-run business. Nevertheless, the support we have received from BrewDog has placed us on a good road to a prosperous future.
We have a huge year ahead of us, with expansion and improvements taking place at every level of the business. BrewDog have helped to get us here, and we’ll always be grateful to them.