Global craft beer company Brew Dog partners Asahi to expand presence in Japan

JAPAN – Scotland-based independent craft brewer BrewDog has entered into a joint venture (JV) in Japan with Asahi Breweries, to accelerate distribution of the company’s craft beers in the Asian country.  

The JV will be known as “BrewDog Japan” and is the first of its type for BrewDog, which says it will retain a controlling interest.   

BrewDog Japan 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 such as Punk IPA, Hazy Jane and Elvis Juice in Japan.

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

The JV will be run by a newly appointed chief operating officer, Daisaku Okuda, who brings with him over 30 years of experience in the drinks industry, including nearly 20 years at Asahi Japan, most recently as general manager, spirits & liqueurs. 

Japan has been an important international market for Brew Dog since 2008 when it first launched its beers there. However, the joint venture will invest to grow brand awareness country-wide and significantly increase the number of outlets where BrewDog is on the shelves.   

 “As we move towards considering an IPO our success in international markets will be a key driver,” said James Watt, Brew Dog Co-founder and CEO. 

 “Our new Japanese partnership with a fantastic partner who shares our vision for growing our brand in Japan should prove a key cornerstone of our international growth plans.” 

Asahi Beverages: A key strategic partner

Asahi Breweries being leading manufacturers of alcoholic beverages – producing and selling beer, non-alcoholic beer, whiskey and spirits in Japan nationwide – is a key ally for Brew Dog. 

The company’s highly developed distribution network will be particularly important for Brewdog in its quest to satisfy the rising Japanese appetite for craft beers. 

In particular, Asahi will help the JV in expanding the footprint of   Punk IPA, which currently accounts for 70 percent 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.    

Brew Dog has been expanding its presence in Asia and today one of its funky beers can be enjoyed in Tokyo, Shanghai, Seoul, and Mumbai.  

Soon craft beer lovers in New Delhi will also have a chance to taste one of the world’s most prominent craft beer brand. 

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