BrewDog Japan: BrewDog and Asahi launch joint venture

By Rachel Arthur

- Last updated on GMT

Pic: BrewDog
Pic: BrewDog

Related tags BrewDog Japan Asia Craft beer

BrewDog and Asahi will create a joint venture in Japan: helping BrewDog expand its presence in the country.

Top products such as Punk IPA, Hazy Jane and Elvis Juice will roll out across Japan from this month.

Scottish craft brewer BrewDog will have a controlling interest in the joint venture: which marks the first entity of its type for BrewDog as it continues to expand its global presence.

The JV will operate as a standalone entity with its own sales, marketing and back-office teams and will focus exclusively on the distribution and marketing of key BrewDog brands. While BrewDog beers are already available in limited locations in Japan, the JV will grow brand awareness across the country and significantly increase the number of outlets with BrewDog’s brews.

International sales grow despite pandemic

Undeterred by the pandemic, BrewDog has been expanding its international footprint and growing market share in new markets. International sales of BrewDog have ‘grown significantly’ in recent years, more than doubling between 2017 and 2020. Its products are now available in more than 60 countries: with brewing operations in Ellon, Scotland; Ohio, US; Berlin, Germany; and Brisbane, Australia.

BrewDog says it explored a number of options to accelerate expansion in Asia: concluding that a joint venture with market-leader Asahi “provides a rapid boost to our distribution capability, while retaining our independence.”

“A partnership with Asahi Japan provides BrewDog with a considerable new platform to accelerate growth throughout a country with a deep legacy of appreciation for craft beer,”​ says BrewDog.

“The joint venture will focus initially on growing distribution and awareness of the BrewDog brand in Japan and in time will be able to access Asahi Japan’s highly developed distribution network, leveraging its market leading position to rapidly grow BrewDog brands, in particular Punk IPA which currently accounts for 70% of BrewDog volumes in Japan, and Hazy Jane, which in its two years since launch has grown to become the second largest craft beer brand in UK supermarkets behind Punk IPA.”

BrewDog has a growing presence across Asia. Beers are available in China, South Korea, Thailand, Hong Kong, Macau, Singapore, India, Taiwan, Malaysia & Indonesia. BrewDog bars are located in Tokyo, Shanghai, Seoul & Mumbai: with a new bar in New Delhi to come.

'Further announcements on the international expansion of BrewDog are expected soon,' promises the brewer.

Daisaku Okuda, who has 30 years of experience in the drinks industry, including nearly 20 years at Asahi Japan (most recently as General Manager, spirits & liqueurs), will become COO of the newly formed BrewDog Company Japan, Ltd.

He said: "With its reputation for high-quality craft beers, BrewDog already has an established fanbase in Japan. We’re pleased to launch the business operation in Japan to help bring great beer to consumers across the whole country.”

He will be supported by a sales and marketing team in central Tokyo, working closely with BrewDog's headquarters in Ellon, Scotland.

Other small batch craft beers in BrewDog's portfolio, plus cider and spirits, will continue to be imported by Whisk-E, BrewDog’s local partner since 2013.

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