david gates brewdog distilling co

BrewDog Distilling Co: 'Whisky still focus despite portfolio growth'

31 October, 2019

BrewDog Distilling Company CEO David Gates joined Drinks International to discuss the new direction the company has taken with its spirits in 2019.

Gates took on his role with BrewDog in late 2018 following 27 years at Diageo and since then he has helped establish the BrewDog Distilling Company and its new products.

The portfolio now includes three gins, a vodka, collaborative whiskies and a botanical rum.

“The main goal was always to make whisky and to shake things up within the industry - just like we did with beer,” Gates told DI.

“We’ve made the whisky and it’s currently ageing. We’ll release it when we feel it’s ready, when we think it’s special. We’ve embraced certain traditional aspects of whisky production such as the old varieties of barley but we’ve got some new ideas up our sleeve.”

BrewDog first moved into spirits in 2017 with the launch of Lone Wolf Vodka and Gin following its success in the beer industry.

“The first launch of Lone Wolf Gin two years ago was an interesting idea but there were some problems,” added Gates. “The bottles were expensive and the packaging looked great but wasn’t practical. So when I came in one of the first things we did was establish the Brewdog Distilling Co. It was important for us to use the ‘BrewDog’ name on the product because it’s now such an international brand.

“What we want to happen is for people to see the design and love it, and then get the quality assurance when they see it’s made by BrewDog.”

The most recent launch by the brand was its botanical rum called Five Hundred Cuts. It is a white rum which is distilled twice in pot stills and uses 11 different botanicals in its production.

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Gates added: “With the botanical rum we felt that using the language from gin would make it more accessible to consumers. The use of botanicals puts it in a unique position and it’s a fabulous liquid.”

BrewDog now owns breweries all over the world including the US and Australia, but with its spirits the company is looking more local for now.

“Our focus has been the UK for 2019 because we’ve relaunched and added a lot of products in a short space of time,” continued Gates. “We want to really assert ourselves in the UK before branching out.

“Gin was a no-brainer for us just because of the sheer demand within the category, but we also wanted to leave our own mark. This is what we've chosen categories where we have passion and where we think we can add something new and exciting.

“With Rogue Wave vodka the inspiration was Tito’s because it shows that even with vodka consumers care about the production and quality of the product. We’re delighted with this vodka and the packaging not only has a great story behind it, but works really well within the premium, artesian category.”

The full range of BrewDog Distilling Co. includes LoneWolf gin, LoneWolf Cloudy Lemon gin, Zealot’s Heart gin, Rogue Wave vodka and Five Hundred Cuts botanical rum.

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