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Giant Brewery BrewDog Announces Takeover of 13 London Pubs

The Scottish-born brewery has acquired the full Draft House portfolio in the capital

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BrewDog has acquired the entire Draft House portfolio
BrewDog [Official Photo]/Artwork by Andrew Leitch

Craft beer giant BrewDog has announced that it is to take over all 13 Draft Houses in London for an undisclosed sum. It comes as the brewery continues to expand its portfolio of proprietary pubs and bars across the UK. Last October the company announced that it would launch its first BrewPub in the capital, before news broke of its acquisition of the Ape and Bird pub on Cambridge Circus in January.

BrewDog managing director of bars, David McDowall, said in a blog post:

“We’re incredibly excited to announce that we are joining forces with one of the most exciting craft beer bar businesses in the UK, enabling us to bring more amazing beer to more people, across the country.

“Draft House is an absolute staple for the London craft beer scene (and beyond) and their people, their culture and their awesome spaces are well-respected cornerstones of the craft beer bar scene. As of Monday 26th March, Draft House is now a part of BrewDog.”

Although McDowall writes that the two (until now rival) companies are “joining forces,” he says that Draft House founder Charlie McVeigh, “will hand over the reins and I will assume the role of MD of Draft House, alongside my role as MD of BrewDog Bars. Effectively though, we are creating one killer team, running an awesome global collection of craft beer bars.”

He adds that McVeigh “has done an absolutely amazing job building the business to this stage” before moving into details of BrewDog’s wider mission. Namely to become known as pub landlords as much as it is a beer maker and distributor.

“At BrewDog, we are obsessed with making other people as passionate about amazing craft beer as we are,” McDowall writes. Through the Draft House team, he says that “we recognised that there is a great opportunity to combine our efforts and continue to elevate the status of beer. We’re here for great beer, and empowering our people to provide incredible experiences and environments in which to experience great beer across our industry.”

At least one commentator on Twitter took issue with this tone, writing: “Just once it’d be nice if Brewdog announced a business deal as a business deal, and not couched in terms that attempt to make its selling more beer sound like an evangelical mission to save Western civilisation.”

And yet, McDowall speaks in terms apparently both selfless and self-important: “Beer is, and always has been (and, for the record, always will be) the beating heart of what we do at BrewDog. Every decision we make is for the betterment of craft beer.

“Draft House does a lot of things outstandingly well, and we’re all in for enabling them to further nail what they do best, and provide support where we can... Together, there’s no telling where we can take craft beer in the UK and beyond.”

The effusive post goes on to say through the routes to market, BrewDog will be “continuing to champion the incredible world of amazing, independent craft beer by ensuring Draft House is fully stocked with the world’s best beer from the planet’s most exciting and eclectic craft breweries.” Which, one has to assume, (also) means more BrewDog beers at the new Draft House sites.

McVeigh established the Draft House brand in 2009, in Clapham. About the acquisition, he wrote:

“Wow…what a ride! Nine years have passed since we launched the first Draft House on Northcote Road. It has been a truly remarkable journey of discovery, building a business and — more importantly — a team right at the heart of the UK’s beer revolution.

I am immensely proud of what we’ve all achieved together and equally delighted to hand the business over to BrewDog for its next stage of growth...

Draft House could not be in better hands.

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