Monday, 30 April 2012

More AGM than party

This weekend saw Brewdog's AGM up in Aberdeen, and a pretty good AGM it was as well.

Though the queue to get in was a bit slow, action was taken to speed this up and the first of the 2 presentations (its was easier to do the same presentation twice and i will come onto that) was delayed by 30 minutes to make sure the majority of people could make it if they wanted.

On arrival we got given our shareholder welcome pack, that included a bottle opener, a badge, a pencil and a poster, and then directed straight into the main hall and man the hall was massive.

There was a bar at each end, a stage in the middle, the Bottle shop along the back wall and a burger van parked up, now being my usual useless self i never thought to take any photos.

A quick visit to the bar and there were the usual suspects : Punk , 77 and Zeightgeist , but in amongst them there was a New Pale ale, now known as 'Dead Pony Club' This was a pretty decent session ale. But there was no sign of the much anticipated Dog A, nor was there any sign of the beer i was most hopping to see :AB09 ( as my bottles haven't arrived yet).

Then it was off to the 1st of the presentations. James and Martin gave a great talk, The presentation was both witty and enlightening, James's hatred of "stuck in their ways: old school drinker" was much explained when we saw just how hard it was to get people to even try Brewdog in those first few months, and Martins passion for the new brewery shone through as he explained the new set up and just how much it was changing. Of particular note to me (as a massive cask lover) was that they were much more diplomatic about cask beer, emphasising that they wanted to go a different direction, but never disparaging cask beer or those who love it. Though very sad for me, as it probably mean i will never see 'The Edge' again. That for me was one of the truly world class beers.

The best thing about the presentations was that we got to sample 3 beers during the talk, first up was the new pale ale, and as i said this was a pretty tasty session ale (rumour has it, that its a replacement for Trashy Blonde in the core range, and as such it is a massive improvement), next up was the Libertine Black Ale, and while another decent beer, there just some flavour in there that im not fond of, But then the third was the Dog A, and this was everything i could have wanted, It was dark rich intense, lots of sweet malt roast, light chilli, simply put this lived up to the Holy Brewdog Beer of AB04.

Of particular note was the military operation of serving 750 each of these beer, and it could not have gone better, the serving staff were amazingly efficient, and very hard working. The only slight disappointment was James had said there was a bottle of Dog A between 4, but when it arrived it was more like a bottle between 6, and given how good it was i definitely wanted more.

 Moving back down stairs to the main hall, and it looked like the bars were a disaster, queues were massive and every one was fighting to get to the bar. Bar staff were working damn hard but there just wasnt enough staff. Except i was wrong there was enough staff and they did a great Job, Even Martin was seen helping out behind the bar. The reason it was so bad at one point was that 750 people had just left a talk and headed straight for the bar, so of course it was chaos, but once that initial rush had been dealt with the service was great.

So all told id like to say it couldnt have been better, but there 2 things (for me) :1 small, 1 large.

The small one is that you could not escape the music, now i was there to drink beer, so the bands were of no interest to me, and i quickly learned to tune them out, so while a quieter are would have been nice, i could live with it.

The Major issue for me was the beer range. Yeah you heard me. The Beer range. Now anyone that knows me, knows im a massive user of Ratebeer and a huge fan of trying new beers. However i knew before going that i wasnt going to get many new beers, and i was cool with that, I was sure the beer range was going to be Awesome and there would be plenty of great beer to choose from.  Well for me that just wasn't the case.

We were told "we will also have a great line up of 12 draft beers" and though there were 12 taps there were only 9 Beers on at any one time.

There were far too many of the standard brewdog range that i can get every day in bottle or on tap at the brewdog bar.

There was only 1 guest tap beer available at any given time.

The Anniversary Beer wasn't available to buy at any point

And the Tokyo that was advertised didn't seem to be on.

All told maybe i have been spoiled, but beer wise this was singularly the worst beer event i have ever attended. Yes as a AGM it was great but as a beer event it was terrible.

But the Kicker for me was when the Bars started tweeting a New Brewdog beer was available one that turned out wasnt  available at the AGM. Maybe i'm a fool, but i would expect the AGM to be the beer star of the day, not the Brewdog Bars. If you lived in London or Edinburgh or anyone of the other cities with a Brewdog bar, you would almost certainly have had a better range of beer than was available at the AGM.

Of the fifteen people i personally knew at the AGM all bar one of them left early, and most of them by 7pm.

I dont know the attendance figures for Events like Darklord Day, Borefts festival, Alvine Craft Beer festival, But they all mange to offer a great range of beers both from themselves and from other breweries, and with 1500 people turning up at a Brewdog event, I would have expected more effort being put into the beer selection. Stone and 3Floyds always seem to have managed to have kept kegs of there stronger beers, that appear years later at special event. Could you imagine the excitement if one of the Barrel age Basha's had appeared on Tap.

So all told a Great AGM, but a pretty disappointing Beer event from what many would argue is the UKs most exciting brewery.


  1. Interesting post Craig - clearly it was more of a party than an AGM. I do wonder if the likes of us are spoiled by all the crazy beer we drink, as you say. To be honest, if a barrel-aged Basha had appeared, would there have been any excitement? Or would the Punk IPA and 5AM Saint have been drunk as normal? Or am I doing BrewDog fans a disservice?

  2. Sadly. I wonder if your right Rich, after all Brewdog must have a better idea of their market than i do. But it was a HUGE disappointment to me.