BrewDog’s James Watt responds to critics


Courtesy of Flickr user Anders Adermark under CC license

(Aberdeen, SCOTLAND) – The beer that has taken the world by storm over the last 60 hours since its unveiling isn’t sitting well with everyone.

BrewDog‘s record-breaking taxidermy beer, The End of History, has been the talk of the beer world over the last few days. The damage …

-Over 170 mainstream news mentions (per Google news) including BBC, CBS News, MSNBC and so on…
-Over 2,000 messages on Twitter and thousands more on Facebook
-A 400+ post thread on Beer Advocate & a near 20-pager on RateBeer

I put up a poll this week asking how the high ABV program at BrewDog was changing folks’ perception of the brewery. After a positive start, the poll has moved to some very mixed results with only 27% saying that the like the brewery more as a result of the program. A lot of those voters represent core beer consumers that frequent sites like Beer Advocate where the mantra is “Respect Beer.” Many of the comments there bemoaned the latest campaign as doing just the opposite of that and it led to BrewDog Marketing Director, James Watt, creating a long no holds barred response to all of the criticism:

How many of the haters are stuck in a job they hate, working for a company that sucks, sitting on their ale soaked arses with nothing better to do than to become uber self righteous in a bid to justify their own existence?

The tide has certainly turned against ‘extreme beer’ marketing in recent months. We saw a lesser backlash against Mikkeller 1000 IBU earlier this year.

Brewers take note . . . though the mainstream has been very receptive to The End of History, this kind of marketing appears to be received best in moderation with core beer drinkers.

[Photo credit]


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13 thoughts on “BrewDog’s James Watt responds to critics

  1. More and more I think we’re going to see Mild’s and Bitters coming out in a backlash against this sort of thing. And I am excited.

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  5. So, if you don’t care for a product of Brewdog’s, your an uber self righteous looser? BrewDog, I guess “Extreme” means Extremely Sensitive. If you brew products which boarder the boundary of good taste, don’t be surprised when you get called out for crossing that a line.

  6. Watt’s comments about the haters might very well be true, but that doesn’t make Brewdog’s modus operandi any less tired and played out. Sorry, James.

  7. It’s not going to cost BrewDog any appreciable amount of business. The types of guys who are on message boards bitching about them are the types of guys who probably bought every BrewDog beer as they became available, threw up a BA rating and moved on to the next beer. There’s a big “gotta catch ’em all” attitude, as well as a general “rare beer” snobbery, and these people seem to be bristling at BrewDog for some reason.

    Fact is, EVERYONE I know mentioned this to me. People who don’t know shit about beer were talking about it. I was at the store with a mild beer enthusiast and my buddy saw BrewDog’s brand and started talking about their taxidermy bottles. Sounds like it worked great, to me.

    The people bitching on forums weren’t going to be customers either way. Or they’re still going to be customers while bitching on forums.

  8. While I don’t personally think the outer edges of the extreme beer movement deliver a lot of benefit to the craft beer movement overall I do appreciate the marketing saavy of Brew Dog in getting into the mainstream with a product that is anything but mainstream.

    That said, I would appreciate Brew Dog a whole lot more if they spent more energy producing more well crafted and approachable beers and less energy battling for the title of highest ABV beer. At the end of the day what really matters is that more people have a chance to try and enjoy your beer and with something like a 30, 40 or 55% ABV all you’re really going to get is media hype since those beers won’t be available in very many places or to very many people.

  9. Brew Dog doesn’t care about anything but the hype it seems. I tried their beers shortly after they were first available in RI. I wasn’t overly impressed. This whole ABV war bores me. Give me a 4% well-crafted lager and I’ll be happy.

    As for 1000 IBU, that beer is excellent, but Mikkeller isn’t playing up to the hype or anything like Brew Dog. It only seemed natural for them to do something like that after all their single hop beers.

  10. You should have a poll questioning if this is even news, or has it been a slow week in beer news?

  11. Mike,

    1) This was posted on a Saturday which is low traffic time. I normally have new stuff up on Monday but I’ve been busy today.
    2) These BrewDog articles are the most highly trafficked articles that I’ve written here in the last few months (besides the Dogfish Head / BREWED) stuff. Beer people care immensely about the debate as to whether craft brewers should be using bold marketing tactics or letting beer quality speak for itself.


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