There aren’t many businesses like BrewDog. As the world’s first carbon negative brewer with a reputation for breaking records, BrewDog’s many achievements are founded on 3 unwavering priorities: beer, people and planet. At the heart of BrewDog’s success is a 200,000+ shareholder community whose loyalty and support is a key growth driver. As a result, the business is constantly exploring novel ways to meet their demands through the adoption of disruptive technology, an agile approach to modernisation and the application of data to drive sustainable change.
Having previously built the platform that supported BrewDog’s record-breaking equity crowdfunding raise in 2018, our partnership evolved strategically to help them define a ‘North Star’ for their digital ambitions and investments that would engage the entire BrewDog business around a common goal. Optimising for community under the concept of ‘the BrewDog Neighbourhood’, this included creating meaningful KPIs above revenue and profit - like doubling the number of same-customer interactions - and building a framework to explore the impact and priority of new digital capabilities and projects.
BrewDog’s ambitious digital journey is now squarely focussed on better understanding customers and connecting communities, enhancing the hospitality experience and building on their core sustainability imperative. However, rapid expansion and a ‘get there first’ approach to surprising and delighting the market had naturally deprioritised process and incremental improvements at BrewDog. Over time, this led to a fragmented view of customers across different systems that made it difficult to influence or track changes in buying behaviours.
Across a number of projects, we were engaged to help BrewDog:
Consolidate and enhance existing standalone app functionality into a modern omnichannel experience
Prototype and productionise a beer recommendation engine that blends AI and human decision-making, supporting and elevating their in-bar experts
Design and build a data platform to create a single customer view across all interactions and support BrewDog’s evolution as a modern, data-driven business.
After assessing BrewDog’s existing siloed eCommerce, community and in-bar apps, we designed and built a new centralised retail application that would give BrewDog the ability to track customer interactions across different contexts, from ordering a beer and a burger at a table in a BrewDog bar to home delivery.
Extending the capability of the retail app and enhancing the in-person hospitality experience, we built a new predictive Next Best Beer engine to make the vast array of BrewDog products more accessible and personalise customer experience based on previous purchasing data and AI. Taking a highly agile approach to prove the idea quickly, cheaply and effectively, we were able to demonstrate success rapidly and productionise the approach into a more robust middleware layer, building data models to create interoperability between services.
Taking on the challenge of the unified customer view, we worked with BrewDog’s teams to define a strategy to link digital and physical contexts, and a custom analytic approach to transform data into marketing insight and organisational wisdom. Our BI & data engineers delivered a platform that captures real-time data from a wide variety of sources for optimised reporting and presented the data in a number of key marketing dashboards.
The rebuild of the BrewDog retail application focused on creating a compelling omnichannel user experience. This led to conversion improvements across the board, from a 10.2% increase in product views through to a 9% increase in people moving through to checkout.
The Next Best Beer engine was deployed into the business and the initial campaign generated an average email open rate increase of 19% and a conversion increase of 91%, leading to a 103% uplift in revenue. Next Best Beer is now being deployed into bars to complement the human experience of BrewDog’s in-bar experts, giving them the ability to better personalise recommendations and sampling.
The new platform ingests and consolidates BrewDog data to deliver a raft of new daily insight into the business – from understanding individual customer spend habits to bar behaviours and product performance.
Moving into Azure and embracing cloud native services enabled the rapid development and deployment of these new capabilities. This was coupled with strategic workstreams to extract core functionality from older monolithic platforms and deprecate older, unintegrated systems – simplifying and de-risking the overall technical landscape. New development processes and tooling increased engineering cadence and throughput, helping keep BrewDog teams on track as the business continues to innovate and evolve.
Ascent came highly recommended by an industry contact I trust - and they have delivered. The omnichannel offer we are building will be transformational for BrewDog. The Ascent team are highly engaged from the C-suite to the team on the ground, helping us both shape our strategy and building the products that will deliver on it.
Group Digital Director - Brewdog
BrewDog case summary
Building community engagement.
- New Product Dev
- Mobile App Dev
- Data Science
Single customer view
Personalised, omni channel customer experiences
Improved sales conversion
Consolidated, actionable insight delivery