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James Watt Discusses New £12M BrewDog Eco-Friendly Plant

James Watt CEO at BrewDog

James Watt and the leadership team at BrewDog have plans to open a £12M eco-friendly brewing facility. This bio-energy plant will fuel the production of 176M pints of craft beer per year and reduce carbon emissions by 7,500 tonnes. 

The plant will be located at BrewDog’s Ellon base, where the company has operated a brewery since 2013. Quality, social responsibility, and sustainability are significant elements of the company’s strategic operating plan, which is why this £12M investment is critical. Operating as efficiently as possible and with minimal environmental impact is advantageous from a financial and customer perspective.

The new eco-friendly brewing facility in Ellon will bring the company’s investment in operations to £50M. BrewDog’s operations are under continuous improvement, meaning the company evaluates systems and processes relative to new technologies, looking for new efficiencies and methods for cutting waste. The leadership team at BrewDog has proven effective at meeting adaptive challenges and steering the company in a positive direction.  

James Watt and BrewDog plan to become self-sufficient in gas, with surplus supplies to be sold back to the grid or used for company vehicles. This approach will reduce operating expenses, increase profit and allow the company to deliver quality products to customers at competitive prices. BrewDog is reviewing all aspects of its operations to improve the consumption of energy and raw materials.  

The company has managed to reduce water usage during the brewing process by 50 percent since 2013. An anaerobic digester has also been utilized for recycling wastewater at the current facility, further enhancing the sustainability of operations. With this method, bio-methane is a byproduct of wastewater recycling and is used to power production. Through innovation and technology, BrewDog is developing new best practices without sacrificing quality.

The company’s goal is to reduce emissions and become as energy self-sufficient as technology will allow. BrewDog also utilizes wind power in its operations to further reduce its impact on the environment. Adopting wind power helps to support clean energy initiatives and improve the technology to make it suitable for mainstream power consumption. While some clean energy may be cost-prohibitive in the early stages of development, support from companies like BrewDog makes sustainability a reality.

BrewDog also has the goal of using 100 percent recycled aluminum in its canning operations. All raw materials in production are vetted for sustainability. The company believes it’s possible to maximize customer satisfaction, shareholder value, and eco-friendly manufacturing without sacrificing taste. While it’s important to protect the environment, BrewDog’s holistic approach to sustainability is a competitive advantage and can help to win market share in craft brewing.

In addition to the sustainable brewing and canning operations across the United Kingdom, Australia, and the United States, BrewDog is also engaged in the largest tree planting and peatland restoration in the U.K. The plan is to plant more than 1 million trees in the Lost Forest near Aviemore, resulting in significant carbon reduction from the atmosphere.

Focusing on the customer and quality is important to remain competitive in the global marketplace. James Watt and BrewDog continue to serve their customers top-quality products that stand out, even when competing with large, traditional brewing companies. Staying competitive and differentiating is creating value for all stakeholders in the business.

James Watt and Martin Dickie are co-founders of BrewDog, which is a Scottish brewer and bar operator. The company continues to focus on sustainability and eco-friendly business practices in the production of quality craft beer. Growing the company’s competitive advantage through a reduction in emissions is a strategic objective that is setting an example for the rest of the brewing industry. 


Written by James Watt CEO at BrewDog.
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James Watt
James Watt is a business owner, innovator and the Founder of BrewDog, a popular craft brewery in Aberdeenshire, Scotland. James was named Great British Entrepreneur of the Year in 2014, and is one of only a few in Europe who holds the coveted title of Master Cicerone.


James Watt is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. Connect with him through LinkedIn.