If you can’t find any beers worth drinking you can always brew your own. At least that’s what James Watt and Martin Dickie thought before quitting their jobs, landing a scary bank loan and setting sail towards the great unknown in the world of craft-brewing. What was originally two men and a dog up in a north-eastern corner of Scotland has evolved into an international craft beer brand, a string of bars across the globe and a US TV show.
Their mission is still what it was when they started out – to make other people as passionate about great craft beer as they are themselves. They also seem to have a penchant for the Nordic countries with bars across Norway, Finland and Sweden – where they marked their arrival by holding a funeral for generic beer in the centre of Stockholm.
You’ve just opened up your second bar in Stockholm on Södermalm. What do you offer with your Brewdog bar that distinguishes it from other bars?
We wanted to showcase our own beers, but also a selection of carefully-curated beers from all over the planet, some of our favourite beers. We wanted to have staff that were knowledgeable and passionate, evangelical about beers. We wanted to create an environment where people could come and chill out, but also get excited about the passion that went into the beers, be excited about the flavours and how they were made. Basically be a temple of amazing beer.
You’re bringing out the “Hello, My Name Is Holy Moose” beer in Scandinavia. What kinds of special Nordic ingredients and influences have gone into that?
Well, it’s quite cool. We have cloudberries from Sweden, lingonberries from Norway, blueberries from Denmark and we have sea buckthorn from Finland, so it’s an amalgamation of all of them. We did stand-alone beers for each of these countries with these ingredients and in this one we mashed all the ingredients together to combine tastes from all over the Nordics.
Has the Holy Moose succeeded in bringing good craft beer to Scandinavia?
Well, there’s fantastic craft beer in Scandinavia anyway and we’re just excited to be a small part of that. For me the exciting thing is how the beer seems to change and evolve in Scandinavia over the last ten years. There are more people making fantastic beers, more and more people selling fantastic beers, and most importantly more and more people drinking fantastic beers. Consumers are looking for beers which are artisan, which are craft, which are authentic, which are full of flavour, and fewer and fewer people are just going for the generic *stor stark*.