• Liz Whitaker

BrewDog - Learn from The Ultimate Eager Beaver


BrewDog. We like a lot. A serious lot. We like the face and personality fronting up the brand, the innovation, the action-speaks-louder-than-words eco policies, the fun (ha, the genius Barnard Castle eye test edition) and, obvs, the beer (Punk AF).

But most of all we love that BrewDog is a super-shining example of an Eager Beaver, the Propella grid character, which moves around in the centre. The Eager Beaver is an ambitious organisation or person with stacks, seriously stacks, of potential and on the way up, with or without your help.

Often challenger brands in an established sector, they are easily overlooked in the scramble for what appear to be bigger prizes. The smart adviser will identify their Eager Beavers early, give them the power of personal treatment and stick with them. Eager Beavers reward loyalty with loyalty.

For BrewDog the potential was whopping and the rise was stratospheric.

Two years after they started, in 2009 the BrewDog founders were famously turned down by the Dragon's Den production team (not the Dragons) as "not unique enough, special enough or with enough growth potential". Ooooh, a mistake. Nine years later and BrewDog was valued at £1.8 billion and the £100k investment they sought would be worth £360 million.

https://www.brewdog.com/blog/when-dragons-den-turned-down-brewdog

Founders James Watt and Martin Dickie admit it hurt; “It was a huge kick in the teeth for us at the time and that stinging rejection still burns today”. But, nothing deters an Eager Beaver who also happens to have a very very long memory! Instead the rejection made them rethink their business and they created a customer/employee community ownership model.

Look at them now.

· FY 2018 (source Craft.co) BrewDog’s revenue was £139.7 million, profit margin 41.3% and EBITDA £8.7 million

· 130,000 shareholders they call ‘equity punks’

· Regular appearances in league tables re fastest growing/best employers

· 2000 employees, 92k LinkedIn and 423,632 Facebook followers

· Brand extension into bars, hotels and catering

· International success https://www.brewdog.com/uk/bars/global

Post lockdown, there’s a fresh set of Eager Beavers seeking your attention. The next generation of BrewDogs will be those who predicted where new demand would come from and prepared for it. Just under your radar they’ll be looking at your website, joining your webinars, asking to connect on LinkedIn. In our Finding the Diamonds in the Data workshop we show you how to spot these rare and treasured characters in your client, contact and employee database. There is always one, and you only need one BrewDog to set you up for the future.


BrewDog also happens to tick a lot of other power of personal boxes.

· A brand with face and personality – James Watt and Martin Dickie – who still front all the marketing (although it may be produced by other people).

· Authentic tone of voice – see ‘smashing’ perceptions, demand reaching ‘scary levels’, launching a ‘kick-ass’ canning line. This is how they speak. This is how their market speaks.

· Driven by passion rather than money. ‘Bored of the industrially brewed lagers and stuffy ales that dominated the UK beer market’ their mission was ‘to make other people as passionate about great craft beer’ as they were. It is still their biggest mission.

· Generosity of spirit … the list is endless, upcyling (imperfect beer makes great vodka, who knew?), the Tomorrow Fund investing in research to help the industry have a positive impact on the world and, the latest, collaborating with Ricky Jervais on Street Dog, a limited edition IPA, with adoption ads for homeless dogs and 100% profits going to these charities. They even give away their 326 beer recipes to the home brewing community.

I could go on. Loads of stories about them, their employees, their customers. Strengths used loud and clear in messaging. Clarity on values (see These Are The Things We Believe In). https://www.brewdog.com/uk/community/brewdog-believe

In other words, they’ve got it so right and the numbers show it’s been worth what looks like an incredible ride.


More on Eager Beavers in The Power of Personal (from page 199) including characteristics, spotting them and your game plan to create a future Ambassador.





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