Every good story starts with a beer. Well, it does in Brewdog’s case.
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The north-east brewing giant started life in Fraserburgh and has built itself up to be one of Scotland’s biggest food and drink success stories.
On a mission to bring the best beer to the masses, Martin Dickie and James Watt pushed boundaries to introduce something different to the UK brewing market and have paved the way for independent brewers up and down the country.
But no beer has been as successful as the firm’s first brew, Punk IPA.
Celebrating its 15th birthday this year, Punk has itself become a bit of a revolution. It was the beer that started it all.
Having undergone three different rebrands in its time, it now has its own non-alcoholic version which has proven just as popular as its alcoholic sibling. Available also as gluten-free and double-amplified versions.
It was also one of the first products Brewdog, which is now based in Ellon, showcased at their first Taste of Grampian event, and it is said the food and drink festival is one of the first places anyone could get their hands on it.
Martin remembers launching the beer to consumers back in 2007 like it was yesterday.
He said: “We knew it was a great beer. I guess the issue we had was that we were trying to introduce a beer that didn’t really exist into the UK market.
“We had the idea before we even had Brewdog.
“We wanted to recreate a small piece of West Coast style IPAs which were big in America in 2007, and very few people had seen or heard of them in the UK and Europe.”
It took a while for beer fans to get stuck into Punk IPA as the beer was very different in comparison to the array of lagers which were popular at the time of its launch. This was due to its full-flavoured hoppy taste.
“A lot of people distinctly disliked the taste because it was something they weren’t expecting from beer.
“I remember being in one of our early bars in Glasgow. There was a little old lady sitting reading her Sunday papers with a pint of Punk IPA. Beer isn’t about a certain demographic, it isn’t a trend or a fad or whatever, it is about people enjoying a bit of time with themselves or friends.”
But why has this beer proven such a hit with consumers?
It hasn’t stood still.
The team at Brewdog have continuously adapted the recipe for Punk over the years and have adopted new skills and techniques they have learned to make the beer what it is today.
The introduction of new machinery and talent has seen the way it is packaged up change, too, and by introducing new ingredients and flavours, Punk IPA has moved with the times.
Featuring new world hops, bursts of caramel and tropical fruits including grapefruit, pineapple and lychee are complemented by a slight bitterness from this light, golden classic.
“The beauty of Punk is that it’s a pretty simple straight forward expression of incredible hop flavours.
“When it wasn’t dry-hopped it didn’t have such an aromatic fruity aroma. Back then it was more about a hoppy, dry bitterness. The hops we use now add a softer fruit flavour.”
Brewdog has also launched a super-limited 15% ABV version of Punk IPA to celebrate the milestone. The beer sold out a few hours after the launch.