Australian official calls BrewDog bosses 'rude w*****s' in bizarre investment row

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On one side is the “post-punk apocalyptic” craft brewery that’s swept all before it — on the other are a pair of no-nonsense Australian officials. 

BrewDog, known for its Punk IPA and unconventional approach, plans to open a production centre near Adelaide in the state of South Australia.

After learning of the proposal Bill Muirhead, the London-based agent general to the government of South Australia, claims he tried to contact the company for two months to no avail. 

Deputy agent general James Mraz has now released a video accusing the British company, founded in Fraserburgh, Scotland, of being “rude w*****s” for failing to respond.

He and Mr Muirhead, responsible for attracting investment from British and European firms, also joked that in an uncertain post-Brexit environment the brewers cannot afford “to dither between no deal and a bad deal”.

A still from the video message by James Mraz

In the letter to BrewDog founders James Watt and Martin Dickie, Mr Muirhead wrote: “Bit surprised we haven’t heard back. In Adelaide we pour beer on our Weet-Bix and use it as sunscreen … scrappy buggers like you are the state’s lifeblood. We thought you’d be knocking down our door.”

He accused the company of having “sold out” by selling a stake to a private equity firm and said the gimmicks it had become known for, including brewing steroid beer for Olympic athletes, stalled after it teamed up with a “poncy London PR agency”.

He added: “If you’re gonna make it in Australia, you need to go back to your roots. South Australia doesn’t do empty stunts. We’re the original punk state.

“We were first to embrace Aboriginal Rights in 1856, and Women’s Suffrage in 1894. We like people who give two fingers to the establishment … lads, this is the post-Brexit world. You can’t afford to dither between no deals and bad deals. You need good deals. And Adelaide’s prepared to offer you one. Let’s make it happen.”

Mr Watt and Mr Dickie founded BrewDog in 2007 after becoming “bored” with mainstream beers and lagers and opened their first bar in Aberdeen. 

The multi-award-winning company once described itself as a “post-punk, apocalyptic, motherf***er of a craft brewery”. It has bars around the world, including in Shoreditch and Soho, and reportedly recently received a £213 million investment from TSG Consumer Partners, valuing it at up to £1 billion. Mr Muirhead today said he stood by the letter and video.

He said: “We think they are a great company and they make some great beer and we would like to help them grow.” Mr Mraz said: “We are trying to get an audience with BrewDog ultimately and we thought we would engage in the sort of tactics they know.”

BrewDog had not responded to the Standard by the time of going to press.

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