SCOTS beer entrepreneur James Watt’s announcement last month that he was relinquishing his role as chief executive of beer giant BrewDog to concentrate on other projects might have signalled that the business world might be hearing less from the self-assured businessman who has been both controversial and provocative as a leader.

But for a man never far away from the headlines – good and bad – that was never going to be an option. As Mr Watt told The Herald yesterday, he’s excited about his start-up and surprised that others haven’t attempted to a build a business like his new venture Social Tip, an app platform “designed to help make anyone an influencer”.

Mr Watt’s girlfriend is Georgia Toffolo, an influencer and former Made in Chelsea star, so perhaps it’s no surprise that he has chosen the influencer market – globally worth about £24 billion – for his next high-profile business venture.

BrewDog co-founder James Watt steps down as beer company CEO

While admitting it feels “strange” not to be “living and breathing BrewDog every second of my life” after scaling back his involvement in the business that he co-founded with Martin Dickie and launched from a garage in Ellon in 2007, he said that he was “relishing the chance to build something new with Social Tip”.

“I tend to move pretty quickly,” he told The Herald. “So, it’s good to be getting back into it. Obviously, I’ve not left BrewDog and I still love the business. I could be sitting doing nothing but that’s not me.”

Asked about Haatch, the UK tech investment fund that has joined forces with Mr Watt, he revealed that he hadn’t previously been familiar with the company but had been introduced via an existing contact. And co-founder Fred Soneya’s glowing comments about the former fisherman suggest he has faith in a businessman whose influence turned BrewDog into a beer market leader, with annual revenues exceeding £300 million, breweries on three continents and 130 bars across the world.

That the much-respected Allan Leighton, who was chief executive of Asda from 1996 to 2000, remains chairman of BrewDog despite allegations of inappropriate workplace behaviour by Mr Watt in 2022 also suggests that while his public persona has started to grate on some, there are many others who don’t see well-documented marketing stunts as a problem.

Sir Tom pays tribute as BrewDog founder steps down

From tussles with the Portman Group, the regulator for alcohol labelling, packaging and promotion in the UK, and headline-grabbing publicity stunts including driving a tank down Camden High Street in London to herald BrewDog’s move down south, James Watt has been a larger-than-life of the UK business scene for 17 years.

It will be hugely interesting to see what this master arch-disruptor does with Social Tip – and with the early support of a stellar line-up of big companies, it looks like the former professional fisherman’s unorthodox approach to business remains an appealing model.