BrewDog bites off $50m equity fundraising challenge for US expansion

Francesca Washtell
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Beer-y good: BrewDog is thirsty for US funding (Source: BrewDog)

Scottish craft beer upstart BrewDog has bitten off its biggest equity crowdfunding challenge yet in a bid to raise $50m for its US brewery.

If its Equity for Punks USA round is successful, it will beat the previous record - also set by BrewDog - for online equity crowdfunding.

In April, the company's Equity for Punks fourth round of fundraising raised £19m, but this will be the first time it has crowdsourced equity in the US.

Equity for Punks USA shares cost $47.50 each and the minimum investment is two shares.

In the US, BrewDog is building a 100,000 square foot brewery in Columbus, Ohio, in a bid to make an impact on the sprawling American craft beer market. The brewery is due to open in late 2016.

Read more: BrewDog doesn't want to benefit from any of your dirty corporate cash

"About 90 per cent of our portfolio will be identical to our British offering, but we are also going to make some in Ohio just for the US market," BrewDog founder and chief executive James Watt told City A.M.

"I think our business model, with its new approach to small business financing, is the first time anyone has attempted to do this in the US and it makes us stand out. We are already engaging with the US market with a TV show and have a good following out there," Watt added.

Watt and co-founder Martin Dickie have presented three series of BrewDogs, a US show in which the founders travel the US and sample different beers.

Read more: BrewDog sets record with £10m crowdfunding campaign

Earlier this year, the company was slammed on Twitter for its appearance on a BBC2 reality show "Who's the Boss?"

"I don't think the show damaged our reputation but it's not something we enjoyed being a part of, we were sent unsuitable candidates from the outset. We definitely didn't enjoy that," Watt said. "We'd definitely do it again though - we'd just do it better."

Since launching in 2007, BrewDog has become one of the fastest-growing food and drinks companies in the UK and has received investment from more than 46,000 individuals across the world.

In the first six months of 2016, its UK sales grew 93 per cent. Its flagship craft beer Punk IPA is the number one craft beer in UK supermarkets.

BrewDog is also extending its retail footprint, with venues locked in for new craft beer bar sites in Berlin (also its first international bar), Southampton, Dalston and Homerton.

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