Many beer lovers have spent most of this weekend in a virtual queue, eager to get their hands on free beer. I was one of them, constantly checking my place in the queue for four hours on Friday night. I wouldn’t do this for any beer, so it had to be BrewDog.
The socially responsible company based in Scotland announced last year that its operations were carbon negative. It achieved this by powering its breweries and bars with wind and is now planting trees and restoring peatland in the 2,000+ acres dubbed BrewDog Forest near Loch Lomond. This latest marketing initiative also adds more trees to the forest, with one tree planted for every four-pack of Lost Lager claimed, making it the world’s first carbon-negative lager.
Keen BrewDog fans (or Punks as they are affectionately referred to) will be aware that they take their social responsibility very seriously. Not only have they made a commitment to the environment but they also use their huge following to work with other campaigns such as brewing hand sanitiser which they distributed for free, donating meals for children to FareShare UK, launching Blood Good Beer to celebrate Scotland making period products free and donating all the profits to the charity Bloody Good Period and offering their closed bars to the government as space to help with the coronavirus vaccine roll out.
Of course they enjoy some humour along the way. A favourite of mine has to be the New England IPA they named Barnard Castle Eye Test, poking fun at THAT former politician’s reasoning for visiting the landmark in the first national lockdown.
BrewDog’s marketing shows that they are responsible, relevant and disruptive to business norms. James Watts, Co-Founder and CEO, has also revealed a humble side, seen in this article he wrote outlining the biggest mistakes he has made since BrewDog’s inception in 2007.
Showing that the firm has learned from its mistakes, in August 2020 BrewDog decided not to take Aldi to court after it listed Anti-Establishment IPA to its own range of beers with copycat branding of BrewDog’s Punk IPA, its bestseller. Instead, Watts posted a mock up of his own copycat YALDI IPA, which hit the shelves of Aldi stores as ALD IPA.
I am looking forward to further genius marketing strategies and quick witted responses from Watts and the BrewDog team in 2021, but in the meantime I am waiting (im)patiently for my free Lost Lager and will enjoy it in the knowledge that a tree was planted in return.