Ben Lockwood, On-trade marketing manager, BrewDog
Q: Where do you work?
A: Remotely across the UK.
Q: How long have you worked on the brand and how did you start?
A: I’ve been working for BrewDog in the on-trade team for three years, but was first introduced to the brand back in 2008 when Punk IPA had a 6% ABV and was available in cask. An opportunity came up and I decided to make the move to the supplier side after more than ten years working at Mitchells & Butlers across operations, marketing and procurement.
Q: What’s a typical working day like?
A: Every day is spent trying to make people as passionate about great craft beer as we are at BrewDog. No day is ever the same, but every day involves working with our customers, supporting them to grow sales, grow the beer category and create reasons to visit. This could be pubs, bars, restaurants, coffee shops and even virtual reality experiential sites looking at improving their beer range. Add in one-off events, such as pop-up bars, cinemas and festivals, and it’s a massive array of amazing people and venues to be working with on a regular basis
Q: What would you say sets your brand apart from others?
A: We’re the world’s first carbon-negative brewery, removing twice as much carbon from the air as we emit. We’re transforming our brewery in Ellon into a state-of-the-art eco-brewery, and we’re embarking on one of the largest reforestation projects the UK has ever seen through the ‘Lost Forest’ – our 9308-acre plot of land in the Scottish Highlands. We produce great beer, that’s great for the planet.
Q: What one fact should bartenders know about your brand?
A: What started with two men and a dog in 2007 has grown to be the home of Europe’s most popular IPA – Punk IPA – and the fastest-growing beer in Europe – Hazy Jane. Made possible by being obsessed with putting the taste, the flavour and the craftsmanship back into people’s beer glasses.
Q: What’s your favourite part of the job?
A: I love everything about the industry. From the brilliant people who work in it, to the people who come into it through the enjoyment of what hospitality offers them as customers. When you add in the extra layer of the hundreds of exciting, unique and special venues that serve beer, it’s just an incredible sector to be a part of. That’s what I enjoy the most and am incredibly thankful for.
Q: What’s your favourite way to drink your brand?
A: As a fresh pint, in a branded BrewDog glass, in an iconic, traditional setting, surrounded by my favourite people. BrewDog and pubs are a match made in heaven.
Q: What’s your career highlight so far?
A: Working with the team at BrewDog to grow the craft beer category and change perceptions of what great beer really is, is a highlight that’s ongoing and influences every day we come to work. Seeing new pubs, bars and events come on board, pouring craft beer for the first time, or just extending their existing range is such a positive thing to see. In a previous life as a beer and cider buyer I once placed a single order for over 1500 kegs of Sierra Nevada beer – the biggest single order to ever leave the US.
Q: Who do you admire in the industry and why?
A: I have massive admiration and respect for everyone in the industry that’s battled through the last 18 months. From breweries, to pub and restaurant owners, those in the supply chain, and the team members that have faced such uncertainty. It’s been an incredibly challenging time and we all deserve 2022 to be an amazing year. In terms of specific companies and brands, my beer admiration falls at the doors of Sierra Nevada and Thornbridge. Quality runs through everything they do, and they stand the test of time. Sierra Nevada Pale Ale and Thornbridge Jaipur are as iconic and meaningful to me personally as beer can get.
Q: How do you relax outside of work?
A: My partner lives in San Francisco so I’m blessed with some of the world’s best breweries and wineries right on her doorstep whenever I’m in town visiting. Here at home, I’ll be found searching for the best cask ale pub in whichever city or town Barnsley Football Club play in next.
Q: If you could ask anyone for a drink, who would you ask, where would you go, and what would you drink?
A: I’d definitely head to The White Horse on Parsons Green, make sure Hazy Jane was pouring alongside Harvey’s Best Bitter, and round up a random tribe including The Cribs, Kelly Jones from the Stereophonics, Sir Alex Ferguson, Mick McCarthy, Alan McManus and Ted Lasso.