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Brewdog ‘deserves consumer backlash’

Craft beer drinkers are right to begin criticising controversial producer Brewdog as it continues to snap up market share, a drinks analyst has said.

Known for its confrontational style, Brewdog has begun seeing a backlash from some consumers, according to Mintel's global drinks analyst Johnny Forsyth (Photo: Brewdog)
Known for its confrontational style, Brewdog has begun seeing a backlash from some consumers, according to Mintel’s global drinks analyst Johnny Forsyth (Photo: Brewdog)

Brewdog’s exceptional rise in popularity over recent years has deservedly been met with criticism from some craft beer consumers and previously loyal fans bemused by its focus on ever-faster growth.

This is according to Johnny Forsyth, global drinks analyst at Mintel, who said that the relatively small but “incredibly influential” clique of “craft beer connoisseurs” are right to question Brewdog’s rapid expansion, which means the brand is “being seen absolutely everywhere”.

Speaking at the London Wine Fair, Forsyth, who was looking at the relationship between the US and UK craft beer markets, compared Brewdog’s story with that of Sam Adams, the Boston-based beer company that has become a “victim of its own success”, being deemed “uncool” to craft beer fans because of its growing market share.

He said, “Sam Adams owns 1% of the US beer market in total, which might not sound like much, but compared to other craft beer brands it is huge. It produces millions of barrels per year, and it even advertises on TV… this has caused a backlash among craft beer drinkers.”

This backlash, he said, is “being repeated with Brewdog here in the UK, and in my opinion deservedly so.”

Brewdog has been contacted for comment.

Last week, Brewdog faced criticism not from consumers but from financial analysts who warned that investors in the company may not see a return on their money.

The warnings came as the company announced it had reached the £5 million milestone in its £25m crowdfunding drive, named “Equity for Punks”, which is seeking to raise cash for rapid expansion of its production capabilities and even to fund a “craft beer hotel”.

Emanuela Vartolomei, CEO of All Street – a City firm that specialises in monitoring crowdfunding schemes – said it was “difficult to see how investors will make a financial return on this deal”.

She said the company had a “high” valuation of £305m and a lack of clear forecasts for potential investors to consider.

“There is very little clarity as to how the company will hit the revenue targets required to generate a risk adjusted return for investors,” she warned.

Brewdog co-founder James Watt responded by telling potential investors to look at the company prospectus for themselves rather than “relying on what All Street or, for an alternative view, what the Motley fool might say who offered a different opinion to that of All Street.”

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