The rise and rise of BrewDog to become a £1 billion brewing behemoth is an old fashioned tale of business chutzpah.
From day one, founders James Watt and Martin Dickie chose a different path to corporate success.
They eschewed the ordinary and instead embraced the extraordinary to great effect.
BrewDog with its daft-laddie stunts and live-for-the-moment attitude was fun, fresh, cool and edgy – and customers lapped it up.
They marketed themselves both brilliantly and relentlessly.
And when they stuck two fingers up to the establishment by launching a crowdfunding campaign instead of taking a begging bowl to the bank manager, the pledges rolled in.
Equity for Punks, which sounds likes an anarchist movement but was nothing more than a bad-ass name for a rather unglamorous corporate fundraising round, provided the cash platform that BrewDog needed to chase their dream of global dominance in the burgeoning craft beer category.
By now a significant employer in the north east, BrewDog took to the road, bringing its disruptive, punk attitude to a town near you. It first established a network of pubs to sells its brews and, more recently, moved into the hotel business to give its beer-drinking disciples the fully immersive experience.
Like moths to a flame, they came, they bought, they drank and, fantastically for any company, they become unpaid brand advocates.
As is right, BrewDog’s annual general meeting is like no other in the corporate calendar.
For one, you won’t find hordes of people in business suits and smart ties leafing through the first quarter’s final results. And neither will you find that pedantic small investor who has travelled hundreds of miles to air his or her grievance to the board about the unacceptable level of outgoings on sandwiches in the financial year just past.
What you will instead find at BrewDog’s AGM is thousands of people who are keen to dispense with the formalities in the shortest amount of time and instead get on with the real business of the day at the bar.
Think full-on rock festival and you will be closer to the reality of a BrewDog investor forum than you might ever believe.
Whether by default or design, BrewDog’s rise has been great fun and it has grown to become an unlikely hero of Scottish business.
And now, almost 10 years to the day since it all began on what resembled an upturned drum kit in Martin’s mum’s garage, BrewDog has come of age.
US private equity firm TSG Consumer Partners has just invested more than £200 million in the firm for a 22.3% stake – pushing BrewDog’s value into so-called unicorn company territory at more than £1bn.
And while they have cracked it money-wise – I will happily tip my hat to anyone who makes it as far as James and Martin have on their talent and wits alone – for me BrewDog is now at a dangerous crossroads.
Strip it down to the bare bones and BrewDog isn’t exceptional – it is a craft brewer like so many others out there now in a crowded marketplace.
Its unique selling point has always been its in-your-face attitude.
But they are no longer the cheeky whippersnapper giving a bloody nose to the faceless brewing giants.
They now have very significant shareholders to keep happy that won’t see a few free pints and a good night out as an acceptable return on investment.
With a £1bn valuation, BrewDog is at risk of becoming everything they have railed against for so long.
If there’s simply more machine and less raging against it then BrewDog could quickly find itself on a very sticky wicket indeed.