Industry disruptors, crowdfunding and beer on tap in hotel rooms; thanks Brewdog!

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It’s Friday (cue the cheers) and for many thoughts are starting to turn to the weekend and relaxing with a beer. First in the queue here, must surely be the owners of Brewdog, an independent Scottish craft beer manufacturer, who are launching a ‘beer hotel’ to give guests the chance to have their craft brew on tap in their hotel rooms.

Now, beyond thoughts of all the ruined stag parties who will now never make it out of their hotel rooms (rest assured the hotel is in Ellon, Scotland,  a quiet spot Brewdog are hoping to turn into a tourist destination) this move is truly ground breaking.

Although not the first ‘booze’ themed hotel – the US has the Dogfish Inn from Dogfish Head Craft Brewed Ales with a wine themed hotel to open in Washington State next year – it is the first in the UK.

The Brewdog Hotel is also an interesting example of an industry disruptor (which bring innovation to an industry through shifting paradigms or solving problems from new angles, often from thinking outside of the industry). For example, Google’s proposed move into the car industry via driverless cars, or the Maaxi taxi app as described by me here last week to shake up London’s black cab industry are all disruptors.

It will be interesting to see what effect this beer hotel will have on the hospitality industry, e.g., on expectations of what is available to guests on their stay. Is this the beginning of food and drink inspired stop overs? We will soon have chocolate fountains where the taps used to be? Having said that anything to improve the typical offering of a minibar/snake combo would be most welcome.

Equally as interesting as the proposed hotel, however, is the way that Brewdog is seeking to fund the development; via the UK’s largest ever crowdfunding campaign to raise £25 million. This move is a step away from the traditional systems of funding for growth capital. Founders Martin Dickie and James Watt, said they were “burning the established system” for fundraising with this crowdfunding round, ignoring bank finance and the potential corporate cash to go it alone. In the words of co-founder James Watt “We are not the Rockefellers. We are Guy Fawkes. This is about changing small business finance for ever”.

This move by Brewdog, multiple award winners at the entrepreneurs 2014 awards, forms part of a vanguard of SMEs moving towards crowdfunding. In 2013 alone, crowdfunding provided over 200 million worth of SME finance. As such, Brewdog’s move is symptomatic of a whiplash effect from small businesses towards traditional investment markets who neglected SMEs following the financial crisis

Brewdog will bring back their successful Equity for Punks scheme, which has already raised £7 million via crowdfunding previously from Brewdog drinkers. This £25 million funding round will see 526,316 shares available with a minimum investment of £95 for two shares, to fund a new brewery and 15-20 new Brewdog bars across the UK, as well as the above mentioned beer hotel.

Industry disruptors, crowdfunding and beer on tap in hotel rooms. Of course it is unique to Brewdog. But they are part of a new breed of small business forging their way to success through innovation across operation to finance. Surely we can all raise a glass to that!

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About the Author

About the Author: Crispin Oyen-Williams is the Director and Founder of Business Innovate. .

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