Success stories: Brewdog crowdfunding case study

crowdfunding successo brewdog

The name Brewdog is linked to perhaps the world's most celebrated crowdfunding campaigns, which have become a veritable model for successful marketing strategy in equity crowdfunding and beyond. We have mentioned it several times, for example in talking about the concept of reward, and a lot can be learned from delving into this case.

Brewdog was born as a small craft brewery in Scotland, from the minds of James Watt and Martin Dickie, back in 2007. The idea was to bring a breath of fresh air to the flat sea of industrial beers in the United Kingdom. Starting from the back of a van, they became Scotland's largest independent brewery within a year, but the loans required to do so were beginning to take their toll.

So it was that the two founders decided to try a card that had not yet been played in Europe: that of equity crowdfunding.

Why crowdfunding?

The decision to launch a crowdfunding campaign was dictated not only by the mere need to try an untrodden path due to the need for capital, but also by the very nature of the Brewdog project.

It was a project that described itself as "punk," "anti-industrial," "unconventional"-a project from below. The idea of participation, then, was almost inherent in the brand proposition that the two friends were creating. The growth in the first year, moreover, had been due almost exclusively to word of mouth from beer lovers.

Strengths and weaknesses

On the eve of the launch of the first crowdfunding campaign, Brewdog was in a critical situation, with great potential but insufficient means to realize it and little time to spare in order not to lose the efforts made.

Strengths:

  • affectionate community
  • craft beer market on the rise
  • high demand
  • innovative project
  • innovative financing channel.

Weaknesses:

  • very low budget
  • inability to meet demand
  • precocity and poor reputation of the crowdfunding tool.

Brewdog marketing strategy: Equity for Punks

The 2009 one was just the first in a long series of crowdfunding campaigns launched by Brewdog, all under the name Equity for Punks, which has itself become a kind of brand, a certificate of the reliability of an investment proposal.

Brewdog staked its marketing strategy precisely on the concept of "punk" as a rebellion against the overwhelming power of big industries, as a claim to an identity, as a sociocultural movement that needs the participation of many to succeed. And it needs a symbol: in this case, craft beer.

The two partners called together all their customers and beer lovers in general, making them feel that they were part of a large community that needed to unite to defeat the enemy faction, the industrial beer faction.

But glory was not the only thing promised in return: Brewdog set up an attractive reward structure for investors. Those who supported the project could get free beer, of course, or discounts on purchases, special memberships, branded gadgets, personalized experiences-all very attractive rewards for Brewdog's customers or potential customers, which gradually became more sophisticated one crowdfunding campaign after another.

The result of the first one was surprising: about 700,000 pounds in one month with just over 1,300 investors.

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Communication and identity

The marketing strategy of Brewdog has also continued to work through the use of multiple communication channels:

  • social media (obviously)
  • publicity in the local area (crucial in the early stages, but not only)
  • spaces in bars (own or resale)
  • the products themselves (irreverent or provocative labels, bizarre packaging, beers with unusual features bordering on the absurd, all in order to get people talking about them more than to sell those specific products).

The communication style has always been aggressive, provocative and lighthearted, creating a strong brand identity with instant recognition.

Crowdfunding and sustainability

Without falling into greenwashing, another important card to play today is that of sustainability. Not just as a claim, but as a structural element that can benefit both the image and the substance of a company.

In the world of financial investment, this is a hot topic, and crowdfunding is no exception, indeed: projects related to sustainability and climate change are rife on crowdfunding platforms and achieving great success.

Brewdog has also entered this arena with its latest crowdfunding campaign, launched in 2020 under the name Equity for punks tomorrow, with a promise to use the proceeds to support the Carbon Negative ecological transition program to abate carbon emissions generated by the brand's brewery operations.

Brewdog equity crowdfunding: results

After the first campaign, Brewdog carried out five more, with increasing success.

First campaign: 2009

Last campaign: 2020-2021

Total investors: over 120,000

Raised: 73 million pounds

This path has allowed Brewdog to build an extremely active and loyal community of members, customers, and followers, open breweries and bars around the world, and become one of the most popular craft beer brands.


Turbo Crowd, come prima agenzia di consulenza marketing per il crowdfunding in Italia, ha da sempre un occhio puntato sui progetti all’estero, dove spesso le novità arrivano prima e dove possono esserci opportunità anche per le società italiane. Per scoprire altri retroscena del mondo del crowdfunding con chi il crowdfunding lo fa per davvero, entra nel gruppo Facebook di Turbo Crowd, dove ogni due settimane teniamo un webinar con professionisti del settore o imprese.

Do you need support in preparing a successful crowdfunding campaign and seeking potential investors for your project?

Turbo Crowd can accompany you throughout the process, from organizing the precrowd to closing the collection, developing effective and innovative marketing strategies to best promote your campaign.

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