Craft Beer “Punks” BrewDog Announce $1.24 Billion Valuation, Partial Acquisition by Equity Firm

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BrewDog has done it again, and by “it” we mean make headlines with a business move involving a large sum of money.

BrewDog, the self-proclaimed “infamous” craft brewers known for all manner of media stunts, made another shocking announcement last week: 23 percent of the Scottish craft brewing company has been acquired by an investment firm for $264 million, valuing BrewDog at $1.24 billion.

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The news broke last Tuesday, April 11, via an announcement from BrewDog, along with the following details:

A $264 million transaction took place between BrewDog and TSG Consumer Partners, an equity investor in high-growth consumer brands. 

$124 million of that sum will fund BrewDog’s continued global expansion.

$140 million (or “the balance”) will provide for early shareholder liquidity.

95 percent of Equity Punks, or BrewDog’s consumer-level investors, voted in favor of the terms at a meeting held on March 29, 2017.

At a $1.2 billion valuation, shares purchased in Equity for Punks I (which closed in February 2010) are now worth 2,765 percent of their original value.

Shares purchased in Equity for Punks IV (which closed in April 2016) are now worth 177 percent of their original value over the course of one year.

Other brands that have sold equity to TSG Consumer Partners, a San Francisco-based equity firm that has successfully invested in more than 70 companies, according to the announcement, include vitaminwater, thinkThin, and popchips. According to BrewBound, other investments include Pabst and Sweetwater Brewing.

TSG managing director Blythe Jack said BrewDog was a natural fit.

“BrewDog is an ideal fit for TSG’s mission, which is to partner with visionary founders building next-generation consumer brands. The company is truly a pioneer and leader in the rapidly emerging international craft beer market. We look forward to working with BrewDog and its founders as it continues to innovate, expand, and harness a unique rebellious energy.”

James Watt, co-founder of BrewDog (whom we sat down with in November to discuss the swiftly negated announcement that the brewery planned to gamble its equity in a double-or-nothing roulette game) believes the partnership with TSG Consumer Partners complements BrewDog’s crowdfunding model, Equity for Punks.

“We are growing mega fast at the moment,” said Watt in the announcement. “Our new partnership with TSG is a launch pad for us to turbocharge our mission to make the world as passionate about craft beer as we are, but it’s also a validation of our crowdfunding model. Our Equity Punks now own part of an independent business that has attracted an awesome partner who will help grow their investment even further. Crowdfunding can no longer be viewed as alternative finance; this is the democratization of finance,” he said.

The company’s five-year plan, he said, includes adding more capacity in Ellon, Scotland, where BrewDog is based; in Columbus, Ohio, where the brewing company recently launched its first U.S. location; as well as building new breweries in Asia and Australia.

“All of these projects are immediate opportunities, and they all link completely back into our core mission of making other people as passionate about great craft beer as we are. This deal will enable us to take our business, and our community’s investment in BrewDog, to the next level.”

As for current Equity Punk shareholders, those who invested in BrewDog’s European crowdfunding rounds will have the chance to cash in: Equity Punks are being contacted this week with the option to sell 15 percent of their shares, capped at 40 shares per investor, at the $1.24 billion valuation, the announcement said.

As a reward for sticking around, those who choose not to sell will receive a voucher for six cans of BrewDog’s upcoming Vermont Style IPA, redeemable in any BrewDog bar.

(American punks need not fret, either: the crowdfunding program for BrewDog USA, the Stateside subsidiary of BrewDog, is still underway.)

“Ever since we first started this journey in Martin’s mom’s garage, BrewDog has existed to make other people as passionate about great craft beer as we are. We remain more laser-focused on that goal than ever before. Martin and I still remain controlling shareholders and are fully committed to BrewDog, and this investment will allow us to accelerate our mission,” said Watt.

Watt will retain ownership of about 25 percent of the company, while co-founder, Martin Dickie, will own about 23 percent, the Telegraph reported.

“We’re not going to let the deal go to our heads,” said Watt, concluding with a bit of humor, “but Martin did buy himself a new sweater.”

Beer production at BrewDog USA will begin in May 2017. The new location will be the first to brew beer outside the company’s original location in Scotland.

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