Thursday, 22 October 2009

Dogging with bloggers...

Apologies to those who've reached this expecting hot geek-on-geek in car park action. My headline refers, of course, to Tuesday's BrewDog shindig launching Equity for Punks. Through the scheme, you can buy a share in the brewery for £230, with the capital raised to be chanelled into a Bond villain-esque new brewplant project with environmental sustainability a key feature. The plans impress.

BrewDog is arguably Britain's most exciting brewer, so I toyed seriously with signing up. And I certainly don't wish to dissuade others from doing so. The key perk is considerable, namely a 20% discount on the BrewDog website for life - effectively a guaranteed dividend in addition to the discretionary dividends they hope to pay from 2012.

But the valuation is a little crazy (£230 gets you 1 share of 10,000 being sold, with the 10,000 shares accounting for 9% - that values BrewDog at £25.56m), all the more so given the fact the shares will not be publicly listed. Those who've signed up say they're supporting the brand, while the brewery itself mentions the intangible assets (brand, essentially, but also the vision of founders James Watt and Martin Dickie) and the support of gazillionaire US booze investors Keith Greggor and Tony Foglio.

With my financial journalist's hat on (for that is the day job), I'd say if they're wedded to the valuation, they could at least have made the share offer more liquid. If the shares had been, say, £50 a pop with a 5% web discount, or £100 with a 10% discount, I suspect uptake would be higher and thus the capital raising more successful.**

Known for their brash marketing, James and Martin are admirably approachable and charming face-to-face and it was a pleasure to be introduced to them - a point also picked up by fellow blogger Woolpack Dave.

One slightly sour note - they have struck the wrong tone by employing the use of eye-candy at the party and in promo material, a point raised by Impy Malting who hits the nail on the head with her realisation the scantily-clad goth/emo girls at the launch were 'BrewDog's answer to the Bud Girl'. Ouch.

But having drunk their beer (Punk Monk, a stunning IPA made with Belgian yeast stood out), I can only salute what they're doing. The brand is terrific and I am sure they will achieve the astonishing growth they forecast.

Detractors say BrewDog's all spin and flash media savvy but the beer lives up to the hype. Given the choice of style or substance, I take both. So does BrewDog.

STOP PRESS: Impy Malting points out in the thread on her blog that BrewDog would've seen investors' cash go up in smoke courtesy of a range of fees if they'd set the entry price lower. I well believe this - banks make a huge amount of dosh for simple transactions. But it's a shame nevertheless that a way could not be found to spread the Punk ethos slightly further down the food chain.

**STOP PRESS II: James from BrewDog has commented below, linking to their rationale behind the £230 per share price tag.

I should add it was a real pleasure to meet Impy, Woolpack Dave, Pete Brown and others at the launch, all of whom were delightful.


Anonymous said...

I forgot to mention how fruity and delish the Punk Monk was. The beer really makes the argument for the brewery, doesn't it?

John West said...

It was good, eh? I've got Bashah in my fridge, so very much looking forward to that having missed it at the bash.

In addition, with regard to your worries the corporate suit dudes were pushing the sexy chicks nonsense, I suspect you’re right.

Skyy Vodka, which the new BrewDog investors sold in 2007, appears to have form. Take a look:

James, BrewDog said...

Straight from the horse's (dog's?) mouth

John West said...

Horse/dog hybrids? Is there no end to your alchemy? Thanks, James. Best of luck with the scheme.

Unknown said...

It was great to meet everybody there. Whatever else, these guys know how to party.

I sort of liked the eye candy, although I understand the objection. The slightly tongue in cheek glamour took me back to my school days, when this punk look first became fashionable. I find it amusing - and even more so having met the gentlemen.