The South Australian government has taken a passive aggressive and yet somehow loving swipe at Scottish craft brewer BrewDog in a bid to entice the business to set up shop in Adelaide, a reputed craft beer hotspot down under.
Oz government officials hope to generate publicity and jobs for the area with a video campaign on Facebook and an open letter to BrewDog founders James Watt and Martin Dickie. It comes after the brewer announced it was to expand to the country and was considering the cities of Newcastle and Brisbane - much to the disdain of officials representing Adelaide, who want a seat at the table.
Bill Muirhead, agent general to the South Australian government and his deputy James Mraz, created the 'Bring BrewDog to Adelaide' campaign, working with Borkowski PR, a troupe that has previously spouted mischevious campaigns around a UK horsemeat ban and getting UK reality show 'I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here' (that is shot in Australia) to move to South Ozzy's Kangaroo Island.
Muirhead’s letter congratulated BrewDog upon its new Australian endeavor but expressed surprise that the company had not considered Adelaide since the region loves beer to the extent that its people "Pour beer on Weet-Bix and use it as sunscreen."
He then lamented the group’s 22% sale of stakes to private equity firms after praising the company’s scraps with Diageo and Portman Group (they were sorry for "not giving a shit" about its marketing rules).
“You blokes did great stunts. You brewed steroid beer for Olympic athletes, and made a drink so alcoholic it broke records, then led a campaign to get it banned. But when you hired a poncy London PR agency, your gimmicks tanked. That appearance on Who’s the Boss was a car crash!” he said before leading into an anecdote around the neutering of dogs that you can read in full at the foot of the article.
After beating BrewDog down, the letter started likening itself to BrewDog’s philosophy: “If you’re going to make it in Australia, you need to go back to your roots. South Australia doesn’t do empty stunts. We’re the original punk stat. We were first to embrace Aboriginal Rights in 1856, and Women’s Suffrage in 1894. We like people who give two fingers to the establishment.”
He revealed that the region has 50 independent craft brewers in Adelaide alone before concluding: “Competition is cutthroat: it’s where reputations are forged. This is where you need to be.”
Furthermore, the group launched a campaign video to further underline its cause.
Andrew Olley, director of Borkowski Ltd, told The Drum: "Borkowski has been devising disruptive and maverick campaigns with agent General Bill Muirhead and the team at the Government of South Australia for 10 years now... now enticing Brewdog to choose Adelaide for its planned Australian brewery.”
“The strategy behind the irreverent humour has always been to rigidly ask the hard campaign questions that produce the engaging and trackable results. Every campaign must draw attention to the phenomenal attributes that South Australia has to offer and help it punch above its weight. From the weather, to its food, drink, beaches and world leading use of renewable and autonomous technology.”
The Drum has contacted BrewDog for comment on the outlandish letter. The piece will be updated to reflect their response.
Read the full letter below.