BREWDOG has revealed plans to radically expand its portfolio of Scottish pubs while confirming a move into the cider market.

The craft brewer told delegates at its annual meeting in Aberdeen that it has scheduled bar openings in Inverurie, Peterhead, Perth and St Andrews this year, in addition to further outlets in Glasgow and at Edinburgh Airport. It is also targeting further launches around the UK and internationally, with major cities in the US, South Korea, France, Spain, Sweden and Iceland in its sights.

The company, which has driven its expansion with the proceeds of several crowd-funding campaigns, currently has 33 bars in towns and cities throughout the UK.

Its plans were revealed as the Ellon-based brewer unveiled its first move into cider production, revealing that it has acquired Hawkes, the London-based cider company.

READ MORE: BrewDog smashes through £100m sales mark

Hawkes, which was founded by Simon Hawkes five years ago, has a portfolio of six products, including the UK’s first “co-fermented beer and cider hybrid”. BrewDog said that Mr Hawkes would continue to lead the business alongside the cidery’s existing staff, with the brand name and label design also remaining in place.

It pledged that its senior team would support Hawkes and provide resources to help the brand grow in the UK and internationally.

BrewDog co-founder James Watt said: “Hawkes has grown a distinctive, bold and innovative business in an industry full of conformity, timidity and tradition. Our additional fire power will not only enable Hawkes to expand the reach of its incredible ciders, but also provide the opportunity to really make an indelible mark on the evolution of cider in the UK.”

Mr Hawkes described its merger with BrewDog as “truly a meeting of like minds”. He said: “We are in an industry that has for far too long allowed ‘big’ cider and mass market products to hold back innovation and growth.

“I’ve long been impressed by BrewDog’s attitude and approach to challenging the status quo of beer in the UK and around the world. Just like us, they stand up for those who want to break free, make a difference and take the cider scene into an entirely new era. I can’t wait to see what the future holds.”

BrewDog used the occasion of its ninth annual meeting, which took place at the Aberdeen Exhibition and Conference Centre, to officially launch OverWorks, its new sour beer facility based in Ellon. Its first releases were sampled by the company’s Equity for Punks investors at a tasting led by head brewer Richard Kilcullen, formerly of North Carolina’s Wicked Weed Brewery.

BrewDog reported in March that its annual sales exceeded £100 million for the first time in 2017, during which it opened a brewery in the US city of Columbus.