We Flew On The World's First Craft Beer Airline
The flight that gives away free beer...
The anticipation quickly became clear in the check-in desk queue as kilts with sporrans & BrewDog stickered luggage adorned the guests. It was time to board the booze cruise inaugural flight.
Our Ohio destination is home to BrewDog’s massive US HQ as well as DogHouse brewery & hotel - the first hotel inside a brewery no less.
But as soon as we took off, ‘Flight Club’, a specially brewed beer for drinking at altitude was more than readily available. Don’t mind if we do.
Joined by the BrewDog co-founder James Watt, we wondered what he would create for the next big adventure. “I’d brew a high ABV beer with a chilli infusion for extremely cold places”. One for you mountain climbers and apré-ski enthusiasts, watch this space!
Touch down in Ohio and we dove head first into US culture. Everyone knows America loves sport, and locals told us Ohio State Buckeyes Football can get crowds over 100,000. So when BrewDog arranged for us to attend the local NHL hockey game, we were ready for a relaxing affair.
Oh, how we were wrong. The crowd was enormous inside the Nationwide Arena, and everyone stood and saluted “LEO!” as the Columbus Gay Men’s Chorus (led by Liam Welsh), sang the ‘Star Spangled Banner’.
BrewDog bars being in the Nationwide Arena, as well as sending their equity punks to neighbouring breweries like Rhinegeist, Rockmill, Seventh Son & Wolf’s Ridge, shows how much they’ve been adopted over-the-pond. And they’ve been adopted back, with thousands also choosing to invest as equity punks locally in the USA.
Many Equity Punks had also gotten BrewDog tattoos, which entitled them to a discount, and bragging rights among the many at the two additional bars in Columbus Ohio; Franklinton & Short North.
But BrewDog didn’t just send Equity Punks to the Doghouse, they also shared some local recommendations, walking tours for Columbus & a day trip to Cincinnati. At Rhinegeist, Dennis Kramer-Wine explained how Ohio had lost its many breweries and traditions of beer during the prohibition era. Even so, it’s only taken Rhinegeist 5 years to rise to 100,000 barrels a year.
Another recommendation from the other BrewDog founder Martin Dickie, Rockmill Brewery, was an old horse farm, with a much smaller output. Owner Matthew Barbee thanked BrewDog for it’s the selection of Columbus as it’s beer destination and US HQ, just five miles down the road from his farm. Here Rockmills makes a selection of Belgian style beers, owing to the similarity in the quality of his water source, to that of those in Belgium.
Speaking to co-founder James about the potential of future BrewDog Airlines trips, he says there’s already a waiting list with two trips worth of Equity Punks raring to go. But perhaps even better, the US Equity Punks are also hoping one day this flight will be in both directions.
By Jack Harwood