UK craft beer producer BrewDog swung into the red last year as booming sales of its beers online during Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns failed to offset the impact of bar closures.
The Scottish-based company sank to a £13.1m (€15.2m) pre-tax loss in 2020. This was despite reporting revenues of £238m for the year, 10% higher than in 2019.
BrewDog’s co-founder James Watt called the revenue increase during the year “the most significant achievement in our short history” for the firm, founded in 2007, and backed by 130,000 small shareholders, with its beer now stocked in bars and supermarkets.
After the pandemic closed hospitality venues around much of the globe, BrewDog switched to selling its beers through its online shop. Thirsty customers pushed its e-commerce revenues up by 900% compared with 2019, as it shipped 750,000 orders in 12 months.
BrewDog called its online shop “one of the most important divisions of our entire global operation” during 2020, and has further rolled out its e-commerce platform to mainland Europe, the US and Australia.
BrewDog, which employs 1,600 people globally, said the pandemic had not dented its plans to continue opening more venues. It is working on 30 new locations – including bars and hotels – in cities such as Manchester, Mumbai and Milan. It currently has one bar in Dublin.
• Guardian and Irish Examiner