ABERDEENSHIRE craft-beer maker BrewDog has expanded a fund it launched a year ago so that charities as well as its staff can share in what is expected to be a £45 million pool of profits over the next five years.

The company launched its Unicorn Fund in July last year to allow all staff to receive an equal share of 10 per cent of the profits generated in their business division. Brewery staff therefore share in the brewery profits while those working in bars receive a share of the profits generated in their particular bar.

The company, which was valued at £1 billion earlier this year when it sold a stake to US private equity house TSG Consumer Partners, has now extended the fund so that charities chosen by staff members and investors can also benefit.

While the firm has committed to giving away 20 per cent of its profits each year “forever”, chairman James Watt said that over the next five years it expects to hand over in excess of £45m “if we hit our targets”. That means that as-yet unnamed charities stand to benefit to the tune of around £4.5m in each of the next five years.

Mr Watt said the move would “change our business forever”.

“The BrewDog Unicorn Fund is destined to become central to our business as we look to democratise positive impact and use craft beer to make the world a better place for everyone,” he said.

“We are going to share 10 per cent of our profits evenly with our entire team and, furthermore, we are going to donate 10 per cent of our profits each year to charities directly chosen by our team members and by our equity-punk community.

“In addition we are formally committing to reinvest the entire balance of our profits each year, for at least the next seven years, into the two things we care about most - our beer and our people - in order to fuel further growth.”

BrewDog has grown dramatically since Mr Watt and cofounder Martin Dickie launched the business from a shed in Fraserburgh 10 years ago. From a standing start in 2007 it turned over £71.9m last year and generated a gross profit of £24.8m and pre-tax profit of £3.8m, with Mr Watt and Mr Dickie each pocketing in the region of £50m after TSG paid £213m for a 22.3 per cent stake in the business in April.

It has not all been plain sailing though, with the firm this year falling well short of its US crowdfunding round in addition to closing a number of newly launched bars and being forced to pull the plug on three further launches.

Having targeted $50m to fund its expansion in the US, where it recently opened a brewery in Ohio, the company closed its Equity for Punks USA round earlier this month after raising just $7m of the total.

Its bars in Hong Kong and Finnish city Turku, which opened in 2016 and 2015 respectively, have closed since the start of the year and it has also shelved plans for new openings in London, Dublin and Paris after failing to iron out issues with landlords and licence partners.

BrewDog, which prides itself on its distinctive branding, also ran into difficulties after the estate of music legend Elvis Presley opposed its application to trademark the name Elvis Juice for an American IPA that it brought to market in March 2016.

In June the UK Intellectual Property Office sided with Elvis Presley Enterprises (EPE) and rejected BrewDog’s application, although the company is still selling the beer.

It would be possible for BrewDog to appeal that decision, either directly to an appointed person at the UKIPO or to the Court of Session in Edinburgh, although the company has not confirmed whether it plans to do this or whether it has applied to EPE to license the name.

If it did choose to appeal to the Court of Session it would be breaking new legal ground, with the court only ever ruling on one appeal of a UKIPO decision.

That case was decided in July this year.