By Scott Wright

BREWDOG co-founder James Watt has sounded an optimistic tone on the outlook for the Scottish brewer and bar owner, despite the continuing pandemic, in new accounts that reveal it returned to the black in its most recent financial year.

The Ellon-based company, set up by Mr Watt and Martin Dickie in 2007, made a pre-tax profit of £1.1 million in the year to December 31, having lost £576,000 the year before. Gross revenue surged to £214.9m from £171.6m.

BrewDog’s return to profit came amid what Mr Watt said in the accounts had been “our biggest year to date”, which saw the company open its 100th craft beer venue on the banks of the River Liffey in Dublin. It also opened a brewing facility in Berlin which houses a craft beer bar and educational centre for home brewers.

The Berlin brewery became BrewDog’s second outside its native Scotland, following the opening of its facility in Columbus, Ohio, in 2017. It has since been followed by a brewery in Brisbane, Australia.

Mr Watt writes in the accounts: “In 2019 we saw a very solid year of growth in the UK, in our bars and in key international markets. Our US business has also gone from strength to strength as we have increased sales Stateside by 57 per cent.

“In Australia, we built a brand new brewery, and we purchased a state of the art brewery in Berlin as well as launching into key emerging craft beer markets such as India and Russia.”

The BrewDog accounts were lodged at Companies House on November 5. Mr Watt said Covid-19 has had a “big impact on businesses all over the planet.”

But he added: “Despite the difficulties we have managed to weather the storm better than expected with very strong grocery sales and very strong online sales compensating for the temporary closure of our bars and the closure of our on-premises wholesale channel. As I write this, all our bars are back open again and off-trade and digital sales continue to be very strong and we are optimistic about the remainder of 2020.”