In 2016, I bought a couple of shares in BrewDog. Alongside the usual perks of being part of such a fantastic company and discounted beer, you also get an invite to the Annual General Meeting (or in BrewDog’s case, Annual General Mayhem!) up in Aberdeen.
As soon as BrewDog announced the dates for the 2017 meeting, I decided to had to see the mayhem for myself. So with my two best pals, Craig and Mark, we booked the dates off work, sorted some flights and a hotel room in Aberdeen and went to experience this legendary event for ourselves!
Tickets to the event were £15, but this was given back to you in the form of beer tokens, as all the bars were cashless. We also decided to book a couple of tastings, the first one with BrewDog and the second one with BrewDog’s spirit distillery, LoneWolf.
Upon arrival in Aberdeen, (slightly later than expected due to delayed flights…) we checked in to the hotel room, dumped our stuff and jumped straight in a taxi to the AECC. We walked through the doors, were handed our ‘beer tokens’, grabbed a program and headed straight for the first bar! Both Craig and I opted for a pint of ‘Hop Rocker’, and Mark went for an old favorite of ours, ‘Elvis Juice’.
We then headed for the stage so we could listen to James and Martin, Brewdog’s founders, talk about the business and the financials. They walked onto stage to a huge round of applause with beers in hand, and proceeded to talk about how the business is doing.
To summarise how BrewDog are doing; they have now broken the record for the most consecutive years on the Sunday Times Fast Track 100 list, they have a five year plan which includes investing and improving the Ellon and Columbus breweries, as well as opening breweries in Australia and Asia. They have also been in discussions with investment partners, and announced they have partnered with TSG Consumer Partners, a San Fransisco based growth fund who have acquired approximately 22% of BrewDog in a deal that will see £100million invested into the company to carry on expanding. They have also valued BrewDog at a staggering £1billion!! Not bad for two guys who started brewing beer in a garage 10 years ago!
After a standing ovation, we then headed to our first tasting of the day. We walked into a conference room where we were handed a glass of dark stout type beer and tasting notes. We agreed that the beer had strong coffee and chocolate aromas and compared it to BrewDog’s Imperial Stout, Cocoa Psycho. The two guys doing the tasting introduced themselves, and gave us the back story behind the beer. Hilariously, they had no idea what it was called, or why it was brewed! Allegedly, a keg of it was discovered in the warehouse, and upon trying it, decided they would bring it to the AGM. They said it was possibly an early prototype of Cocoa Psycho, was about 13% and would never be brewed again! The second beer we tried was a lighter beer that had been aged in white wine aged casks, giving it a lovely floral taste.
We then headed back to the main arena for more beers and music. Unlike most AGM’s, once the business talk is out of the way, the rest of the day is spent partying! There were seven bands playing throughout the day. The Bellybuttons, Superglu, Black Honey, Clean Cut Kid, Sundara Karma, Twin Atlantic and The Stranglers. Being a bit of a raver and more into EDM than Punk, I’d only actually heard of Twin Atlantic and The Stranglers, but I enjoyed all the music that was on!
We milled around for a while trying various different beers from the eight breweries represented. These were BrewDog (obviously!), Wild Beer Co, Buxton Brewery, Rhinegeist, Fierce Beer, Wicked Weed, Stone Brewing and Cycle Brewing. Over 70 beers were on tap as well as the LoneWolf bar serving craft gin and vodka as well as Uncle Duke’s Scotch Whisky.
There was a massive offering of street food too, from BBQ to Japanese and everything in between. All the food was fantastic, I ate Haggis for the first time and it was gorgeous!
We then staggered to our second tasting of the day with LoneWolf. I say staggered as we were slightly drunk by this point! We were handed a glass of gin, and a bottle of tonic water. I’ve never really been a fan of gin before, but this definitely changed my mind! It was really interesting to hear about how craft gin is made before we were treated to an exclusive navy strength gin that was 54%!!
At this point, my memories of the day start getting rather hazy. Probably something to do with the amount of fantastic beer we were pouring down our necks! The most interesting beer in my opinion, was the launch of the original Punk IPA, which is the beer that got me hooked on Brewdog before they changed the recipe. It was interesting to try the original and the current Punk back to back!
All in all, the Punk AGM was an absolutely fantastic day, with great beer, great music and great friends. Already looking forward to the 2018 Annual General Mayhem! See you there Punks!!