It looks like we were wrong about BrewDog. The craft beer brewery with the punk rock ethos just became UK crowdfunding's first unicorn, bagging a cool one billion pound valuation from a Californian private equity firm.
Rumours first began that BrewDog had some serious funding in the pipeline a month ago, when Lynsey Barber in CityAM reported a BrewDogs letter to shareholders. At the time we were sceptical, and we said so in this article.
BrewDog has sold equity in many rounds over the years, but its crowdfunding campaigns always seemed to have more in common with the 'reward' model of crowdfunding. BrewDog's backers got t-shirts and perks, and special deals, but when it came to any hope of an exit, we were inclined to agree with research firm All Street, who said two years ago that it was "Europe's most expensive brewery."
Well, guess what, punks? Europe's most expensive brewery just got a lot more expensive. The deal with Californian private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners values the business at a cool billion, making BrewDog the UK crowdfunding scene's first ever unicorn - and it's a billion pounds, not a billion dollars !
We're prepared to admit we were wrong.
UPDATE: 15th April 2017
There are strings attached. This is not a straightforward exit like the Camden Town Brewery sale. It seems that existing BrewDog shareholders are only being to liquidate a small part of their holdings. For the rest, they remain locked in.