Brewdog reveals new distillery and spiritsBy Melita Kiely
Scottish producer Brewdog Distilling has launched a new range of spirits, produced at its new distillery in Ellon, Scotland, The Spirits Business can exclusively reveal.
The new distillery was built because the original location was “not fit for expansion”, Steven Kersley, head of distillation at Brewdog Distilling, explained.
“This has been in the pipeline for a bit of time. We long-realised we’ve got capacity constraints on the whisky and rum side,” Kersley said. “We’re a whisky distillery that’s got a serious gin problem, as we like to describe it.
“But because all the equipment we use to make spirits are intricately linked, as demand for gin and vodka increases, we can’t make as much whisky as demand for the equipment is taken up by white spirits.”
The equipment from the original distillery has been moved to the new site. The new facility will also boast a 10,000-litre triple bubble still – three times bigger than the original still.
“That will be our main wash still, and will be the start of the rum-, vodka- and whisky-making process,” Kersley explained.
The triple bubble still will sit alongside two 3,000-litre pot stills, one of which will become a full-time spirit still for whisky production. There will also be Brewdog’s 19m-tall rectification column.
“It’ll really allow us to turbo-charge the amount of whisky we can lay down on an annual basis,” Kersley added. “Right now, we’re maxed at eight to nine casks a week, but we need to be at 30-35 casks a week.
“Where we have the most volume and demand is on our vodka, gin and rum, so what time is left over is where we put our efforts into making whisky. The purpose of the 10,000-litre pot still is to reset the balance a little, dedicate time and become even more innovative with our whisky programme; just open the floodgates in terms of whisky production.”
The new site sits next to the Brewdog brewery but will operate as its own standalone distillery. There will be a visitor experience, a gift shop and a tasting room that will be able to accommodate “upwards of 30-40 people”, and will look out over the distillery so guests can see the still house.
New flavoured rums and packaging redesign
Brewdog Distilling also has a number of new products ready to launch, and has rebranded its Lonewolf Gin range and 500 Cuts botanical rum brand. While the products will retain their names, the new identities will unify each line under the Brewdog brand.
“This will be much more of a Brewdog-led identity, and the way that’ll look is we’ll use some symbiotics and brands that people recognise with Brewdog, and transfer that onto spirits but in an authentic way,” Kersley explained.
The 500 Cuts Spiced Rum liquid will remain the same but has been given a new packaging design. It will be joined by three new flavoured expressions: Coconut and Vanilla, Pineapple and Mango, and Cherry and Dark Chocolate.
Each rum has an ABV of 40% and will retail for RRP £24 (US$33) per 700ml bottle.
Kersley and his team pulled together various flavours they enjoyed to create a “melting pot of ideas” for the series.
“We wanted to take the tropical expectations of rum in a slightly different direction and so we looked at what flavours would work with the rum we have,” Kersley said. “We immediately had a clear tropical direction, and pineapple and mango are lead flavours in that segment.
“Then we thought about a dessert rum, and we ended up going in a black forest chocolate gateau direction.
“And then we wanted to play on a classic but do our way authentically. Coconut and rum have been best buds for however many years now, and this is probably my favourite of the three. We’ve taken toasted coconut and infused that into the rum, which balances out with the molasses and complements the burnt-sugar flavour, while making a super bright drink.”
New vodka range: Seven Day Vodka
In addition, Brewdog Distilling has created a new range of vodkas: Seven Day Vodka.
The name is a nod to the seven days it takes Brewdog to make its vodka from scratch.
The line-up includes original Brewdog Seven Day Vodka and three flavoured expressions: Seven Day Vodka Passionfruit and Vanilla, Seven Day Vodka Rhubarb and Lemon, and Seven Day Vodka Raspberry and Lime.
Each expression sits at 40% ABV and will retail for RRP £25 (US$34) per 700ml bottle.
“For this range we’ve infused our vodka with natural flavours,” Kersley explained. “The idea behind this range was that it has to work with soda, but also work with some of our favourite cocktails.
“We have a four-pack of [ready-to-drink] cocktails using our Lonewolf Gins, and two standout favourites from everyone who bought the pack was the Negroni and the Pawstar Martini. The big inspiration for flavoured vodka passionfruit and vanilla vodka came from that cocktail pack; everyone loved it.”
The Rhubarb and Lemon expression brings a “little yuzu and lemongrass to create a level of complexity and difference, which I think takes our vodkas to another level”, Kersley added.
With the Raspberry and Lime, Kersley and his team found “raspberry distils really well into vodka” and took inspiration from a traditional raspberry-flavoured Scottish dessert, cranachan.
The new spirits are available to pre-order in the UK from Brewdog.com as of today (Monday 4 October). The products will be rolled out to international markets, including the US, from 2022.
In terms of the RTD range, Kersley added: “We are currently working on what that RTD range could look like. We had a great opportunity for a positive initial launch back in March or April, so we’re trying to take that range and look at a couple of things.
“One is format, how do we want to serve it with a sustainable view? We want to make sure that the packaging is as planet-friendly as possible and get the range right.
“We’ll definitely have the Negroni in there, then the other three we’re working on are still to be confirmed. Across the full range, I imagine we’ll take one or two from each of the spirits we’ve created and put them into an RTD.”