BrewDog's PR Coup

Mark My Words #1

This week, BrewDog made the visionary decision to offer (and to announce that it was offering) its 50 or so closed pub locations to help with a roll out of the Coronavirus vaccine.

Whereas other business leaders have met the latest announcement with more grovelling for support, this response is truly epic. It makes the best of a bad situation, and turns a disadvantage (all its venues will be closed through at least mid-February) into an advantage (truly great and authentic PR). And Nicola Sturgeon is evidently thinking about taking them up on it!

Whether or not this ends up with over-50s queuing up, beer-in-hand, in a BrewDog venue, that’s not the point. CEO James Watt boasts a company that serves ‘great beer that’s great for the planet’. With this announcement, he shows this message to be 100% authentic.

Of course, there are the usual dissenting voices on Twitter, with a handful of users accusing BrewDog of opportunism. But the overwhelming response seems to be positive.  

The result is a stunt totally appropriate to the times we live in: unflashy, socially responsible, and even allows for some punning around new, vaccine-themed beer names. But the impact goes beyond the puns. For a long time, Britain’s pubs have served as important community institutions. With this announcement, BrewDog is subtly reasserting that role for the 21st century, putting the ‘pub’ in ‘public spirit’.