24 September 2021

BrewDog ties up with Asahi to crack Japanese beer market

United Kingdom | BrewDog has established its first international joint venture with Japan’s Asahi, as the UK’s largest craft brewer seeks to increase sales ahead of a planned London IPO.

The partnership, in which BrewDog will retain a 51 percent stake, will market and distribute BrewDog beers, such as Punk IPA, Hazy Jane and Elvis Juice, using Asahi’s distribution capability to push up supermarket sales. This was reported on 6 September 2021. BrewDog could later establish a brewery in Japan, said James Watt, co-founder and CEO. BrewDog already owns a bar in Tokyo.

Preparing for a stock market listing

With more than 100 bars across the globe, four hotels, export into 60 countries, and breweries in Ellon (Scotland), Columbus (Ohio), Berlin (Germany) and Brisbane (Australia), BrewDog is said to have engaged in talks with bankers about a London listing.

Speaking to the Financial Times newspaper in September 2021, Mr Watt said: “We see [the IPO] as a key part of our future.” Ahead of the pandemic, BrewDog had been looking to list in 2020. It has not announced a new date yet, but is close to appointing lawyers, Mr Watt said.

It aims to list in London but is also considering New York. Mr Watt stressed that a sale is not on the cards.

Franchise agreements to boost growth

As it expands internationally, BrewDog has also established a franchise agreement with the Ace-Aloha Group in India, which hopes to open up to 50 BrewDog venues on the subcontinent. It has signed a similar franchise agreement with Bruton Capital in Germany, which will open ten new BrewDog bars in the coming years.

BrewDog was valued at almost GBP 2 billion (USD 2.8 billion) in its latest crowdfunding round. It reported net revenues of GBP 182 million (USD 252 million) in 2020, up 4.2 percent from a year earlier, but swung to a GBP 13.1 million pre-tax loss.

Founded in 2007, BrewDog has been the most high-profile group to emerge from the UK’s craft beer boom, raising more than USD 130 million via crowdfunding so far.

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