Jonny Bright, BrewDog

Say what you like about BrewDog. Go on, really, they won’t mind. In fact, in a world where bad publicity is very rarely actually bad publicity, they’ll probably thank you for the freebie. They’ve certainly ruffled a few feathers along the way with their, er, unique brand of self promotion, but the number of people they’ve made unhappy is dwarfed by their loyal fan base.

BrewDog’s 2012 half-year accounts show revenue of just under £5m and profits of nearly £600k. For a company that’s barely 5 years old started by two people with some pocket money, this is frankly staggering. With 7 bars dotted around England and Scotland and 4 more in the pipeline, the growth of the BrewDog “craft beer empire” continues apace.

Workers are beavering away in the shell of O’Brien’s Irish Sandwich shop at the east end of Baldwin Street, just before Bristol bridge, a stone’s throw from the Glass Boat restaurant. In six weeks time it will become BrewDog’s eighth bar. As we’ve discussed a number of times, Bristol has some amazing pubs, but this will be its first proper “craft beer” emporium selling a myriad of BrewDog and guest beers from the world’s most cutting edge breweries.


The bar will be run, in part, by Bristol’s favourite maverick landlord (well mine anyway) Ned Clarke. Overall manager duties will be undertaken by Jonny Bright, previously manager at the Camden branch. I caught up with Jonny to ask him about his impending move to Bristol and what the plans were for the bar:

Hey Jonny, what brings you to Bristol?

A calling to the West Country, I’m from the Forest of Dean in Gloucestershire so I’m moving closer to my roots. I love the culture in Bristol, it’s full of amazing people. And an opportunity to manage my own bar!

Have you had a chance to check out any local places on your BD visits? What did you think?

I’ve done some scouting on my recent visits. Interestingly it was the Apple (Cider Boat) that caught my attention the most!

Tell us about your plans for BrewDog Bristol?

It’s going to raise the bar (pardon the pun). We’ll have an unrivalled beer selection, great locally sourced food, and some kick ass events.

Bristol’s quite cask-centric, do you think the locals will take to craft-keg?

Yes. The times they are a-changin’

Who do you think is brewing the most exciting beers at the moment (who aren’t BD)?

Summer Wine are one of my favourites, I’m also really excited by the barrel aged beers that Magic Rock are experimenting with at the moment. Brodie’s and Beavertown Brewery are my favourites in London. Wild Beers are one to watch out for, I’ve tasted several test batches and they’re game changers; watch that space!

What’s the best beer you’ve drunk recently?

The BrewDog & Ballast Point collaboration beer; San Diego Scotch Ale. Whisky cask aged with raisins soaked in Ballast Point rum. Moor Hoppiness also melted my face recently!

What’s the worst beer you’ve drunk recently?

One of my very first homebrews :-/

When can we expect the BrewDog tank to be driven down Baldwin Street for the big opening?

Mid to late October. I think James is planning to ride a great white shark up the river to the bar.

Thanks for your time Jonny. We look forward to drinking with you when the bar is finished, best of luck with the opening.

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