Only a few weeks ago, the Short North officially welcomed its newest taproom: BrewDog USA Short North. We were thrilled when Lykens Companies worked with BrewDog to find the perfect building to call home. Recently, we had the opportunity to sit down with Martin MacDonald, the General Manager of the new Short North bar. During our conversation, he answered a wide variety of questions about the international beer powerhouse.
In 2007, BrewDog was a two man operation in the UK. Now, BrewDog has two bars in Columbus (46 & counting around the world). How did we get here in just over 10 years?
Our mission 10 years ago was to make people as passionate about great craft beer as we were and it’s still [our mission] today. We couldn’t have done any of it without the incredibly passionate people who work for BrewDog, our legion of Equity Punk investors and every single person who has enjoyed our craft beer from 2007 to today.
Whether it’s unheard of ABV or record-breaking growth, BrewDog seems to have a theme of pushing its limits. What drives that attitude? Is there a certain vision or motto that keeps BrewDog moving?
We’ve always been unconventional and wanted to do things a bit differently. As I said, we want to make other people as passionate about great craft beer as we are and I think that expression of passion shows in everything we do.
It feels that BrewDog is passionate about including as many people as it can in its growth with the Equity for Punks program. What is Equity for Punks and why did BrewDog cling to such an untraditional business model? Why do you think this model has succeeded so much?
Our philosophy is to shorten the distance between [BrewDog] and the people who love our beer. Our equity crowd funding model, Equity for Punks, was created out of this philosophy. Crowd funding is a new business model for the 21st century company and we love that our business is partly owned by a global community of nearly 80,000 people. Last year was our first round of crowd funding here in the United States and it was the most participated in equity crowd fund in the United States ever, raising $7 million.
Equity for Punks ensures that our business is part owned by the people who love good beer as much as we do. We want to continue building on that community—community is something that none of our big global competitors in the beer scene have.
Everything has been built off the back of this amazing community: our amazing facility in Canal Winchester, The Dog House and sour beer facility we’re currently building, and [it’s even built] this bar here in the Short North.
BrewDog makes a lot of efforts to give back to all kinds of people and communities. In what ways do you guys give back and why is it so important to BrewDog?
The Unicorn Fund is a key part of our business. We commit 20% of our profits with 10% distributed evenly throughout the whole [BrewDog] team. The other 10% is donated to charity each year. [Each charity] is chosen by our team and our Equity Punk community. Doing this fundamentally changes the nature of our business. It outlines our relationship with our community and we get to use craft beer to make the world a better place.
Is there a proudest moment in BrewDog history? In such a short time, you guys have already accomplished so much.
There have been so many achievements that it’s tough to call out one. Last year, we won a bronze medal at GABF (the Great American Beer Festival) with our grapefruit and blood orange IPA called Elvis Juice. That was pretty special.
BrewDog is growing like crazy and has international fame. It feels like you guys could have built an insane beer-complex anywhere. How and why did BrewDog end up in Columbus, Ohio of all places?
Our cofounder, James Watt, came to Ohio in 2015. When he landed in Columbus, his phone blew up—he’d been asking Twitter about which cities he could go to for a good beer. It gave a good indication that there was a fantastic craft beer community in Central Ohio.
What about the Short North made BrewDog want to open a second Columbus bar?
It’s a fantastic community to be a part of. There’s such a diverse range of places to check out—from grabbing beers to checking out one of the cool galleries, from going to a show to eating at one of the awesome restaurants in the neighborhood.
What is your vision for BrewDog’s future in Columbus?
Our mission has always been to make as many people possible as passionate about craft beer as we are. After the brewery and taproom in Canal, we opened this bar here in Short North. Now, we opened another bar in Franklinton. We have started distributing our beers into the surrounding states and eventually will begin distribution across the whole country.
What’s your favorite BrewDog beer?
It changes all the time, but my go-to is our flagship, Punk IPA.
BrewDog’s Short North taproom is open 7 days a week. To see what’s on tap, head to BrewDog USA Short North’s webpage see their routinely updated beer lineup. In addition to a fantastic lineup of BrewDog beer, the Short North bar boasts guest drafts and an awesome menu of bar snacks, including some downright delicious pizza made with artisanal craft dough. Be sure to stop by BrewDog USA Short North as soon as possible and help welcome them to the neighborhood!
Monday 3:00 PM – 2:00 AM
Tuesday 3:00 PM- 2:00 AM
Wednesday 3:00 PM – 2:00 AM
Thursday 3:00 PM – 2:00 AM
Friday 11:00 AM – 2:00 AM
Saturday 11:00 AM – 2:00 AM
Sunday 11:00 AM – 11:00 PM
Thanks again to our friends at BrewDog for taking the time to sit down and talk with us! We couldn’t be more excited to have BrewDog in the Short North. Want to learn more about BrewDog and see how it fits into the Short North? Be sure to read our write up here and check out their story on their website.