The City of Columbus owns 47.50 Acers of land SW of the Wilson Road Bridge over the Camp Chase RR per the Auditor Web Site, which will have a bike trail along the rail line, they just did some work on the Broad Street Bridge to make room:
The maker of Vagabond Pale Ale no longer will wander the wilderness.
Scottish craft-brewer BrewDog is putting down roots in central Ohio. The company on Wednesday confirmed plans to create more than 100 jobs with a 100,000-square-foot production brewery and canning line, creating a complex that also will include a restaurant, taproom and offices for its U.S. headquarters.
Although the site for the brewery was not released, the company said it will be accessible by rail and a cycling path. BrewDog looked at a number of other cities to host its U.S. presence, but settled on Columbus for more than economic reasons.
“We considered so many potential locations in the U.S., but eventually it was how much we loved the people of Columbus and how welcome they made us feel on our visits that put Columbus firmly at the top of our list,” according to an announcement on the company’s website.
Columbus 2020 and JobsOhio courted BrewDog for six months, said Kenny McDonald, Columbus 2020 chief executive.
“They are a great company. It’s just a really solid business,” McDonald said. “It’s obviously an industry that is doing very well and expanding across the globe.”
BrewDog is based in Ellon, near Aberdeen, Scotland, and has craft-beer bars across Europe.
McDonald and BrewDog declined to say more about the central Ohio site or incentives that have been offered. BrewDog said incentives have not been completed, though the company has agreed to buy 42 acres of land. The next meeting of the Ohio Tax Credit Authority is on June 29.
BrewDog plans to begin with a 100-barrel brewing system, larger than the 85-barrel system at its home brewery in Scotland, which is being expanded fivefold. Details about expected U.S. production were not provided.
The brewer made about 100,000 barrels of beer in the past 12 months, according to the company, which is slightly less than what Great Lakes of Cleveland makes in a year.
It might seem odd for a foreign craft brewer to expand to a land swimming in craft breweries, but there is room for more, according to analysts.
“The beer market does seem saturated, but amazingly it is not,” said Tim Powell of Think Marketing, a Dublin restaurant- and beverage-consulting firm. “All the major breweries are losing their shirt to the craft brands.”
Craft beer grabbed 11 percent of the beer market last year by volume and 19 percent of the market by dollars spent, according to the Brewers Association, a national trade group. The Brewers Association believes craft beer can command 20 percent of the market by 2020.
Coming to the U.S. is a logical step for a foreign beer-maker, for the same reasons foreign carmakers and other manufacturers locate here: America is big and dynamic.
“Certainly, they think they bring something unique and distinctive, but it probably goes beyond that,” said Bart Watson, chief economist for the Brewers Association. “The U.S. is arguably the most exciting beer market in the world right now.”
No figures were released about the amount of money BrewDog will spend on the project, but it likely eclipses the $4.6 million the company pinned to the project as part of its ongoing Equity for Punks crowdfunding effort. BrewDog hopes to bring the same sort of crowdfunding approach stateside (Americans currently are barred from buying shares) to help finance the brewery and bars, according to the company.
Crowdfunding isn’t new for breweries. Several in Columbus have used such campaigns to get off the ground. It is a smart move for a newcomer, Watson said.
“It makes a lot of sense,” he said. “It builds in a ready clientele who are committed to your success.”
BrewDog investors get discounts at bars and invitations to special events, among other perks. They also can buy and sell shares via a company-run trading program.
Building near Columbus has advantages beyond tax credits and other incentives.
“The interesting thing with Columbus is that it is a major test market,” Powell said. “We have a pretty diversified consumer base of people. The craft-beer markets are really both coasts, but here there isn’t as much competition.”