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Fierce Beer’s thirst for success

Fierce Beer's founding duo: Operations director Dave McHardy, left, and managing director Dave Grant.
Fierce Beer's founding duo: Operations director Dave McHardy, left, and managing director Dave Grant.

Fierce Beer has become one of the north-east’s craft-brewing success stories since Dave Grant and Dave McHardy co-founded the business in 2016.

Five years on, the multi-award-winning brewery has built a thriving direct-to-consumer business, owns bars in Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Manchester, is active in high-growth international markets, and has a string of collaborations around the world.

China and Russia are now big export markets for us, with huge populations and lots of scope for growth.”

Dave Grant, managing director, Fierce Beer.

From day one, Fierce had a strong focus on innovation. It produces flavour-packed beers ranging from traditional pilsners, juicy hop bombs and fruity sensations to barrel-aged stouts and tart sours.

The past 18 months posed challenges but also provided an opportunity to pause and plan.

Re-focusing the sales team on e-commerce paid dividends, and Fierce – based in Dyce, Aberdeen – now delivers directly to consumers across Scotland.

Recent investment in its production facilities has tripled capacity, with bigger tanks and a new brewhouse paving the way for future growth.

Managing director Dave Grant said: “We’ve had immense local support and that’s increased in the past 18 months.

“Direct-to-consumer sales of small packs of cans and bottles have taken off and continue to grow.

“Our sales team is working on our e-commerce channel and social media to maximum effect. Small packs are good business, compared to the traditional casks and kegs to distributors model that prevailed in the industry.

“The trend for home-delivered beer subscription boxes has also driven big increases in volume, working with businesses like Beer52.”

He added: “We continue to innovate with new brews and introduced a core range of four gluten-free beers that people can return to.

“That’s worked for pubs and venues, and we have had solid support locally from McGinty’s Group and others as hospitality continues to recover.”

Exports have been more challenging, with Fierce’s pre-pandemic European markets impacted by Covid and Brexit.

But new emerging markets have acquired a taste for the firm’s beers, Mr Grant said, adding: “China and Russia are now big export markets for us, with huge populations and lots of scope for growth.”

Meanwhile, collaborations with other brewers have opened up new market entry routes.

Mr Grant said: “We have partnered with brewers including South Africa’s Devil’s Peak, the New Zealand Beer Collective and Gweilo Beer from Hong Kong, brewing beers for them in the UK.

“They’ve done the same for us in their home markets. It is an effective way to build the brand, learn from like-minded people, showcase beers to new audiences and reduce environmental impact by not shipping containers of beer halfway around the world.”


Raise a glass to the region’s dynamic drink sector

Aberdeen’s Fierce Beer chief on surviving lockdown and planning for the future

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