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UK’s strongest beer unleashed by BrewDog

The oak-aged imperial stout, which has been produced in a 3,000 run of limited edition 330ml bottles to be retailed at £9.99, is aimed at a small, niche market of beer aficionados and will only be available to buy at or from specialist, independent retailers. The product will also be available with tasting notes and food pairing advice.

The brewery, which caused public outcry from health campaigners when it launched Tokyo last year at 12% has brewed  Tokyo* at a stronger abv level as it enhances the flavour, depth and character of the beer, qualities which appeal to BrewDog’s connoisseur customers.

Tokyo*, which was brewed with jasmine and cranberries as well as a large amount of malts and the finest American hops, was fermented by a skilled team of brewers with a champagne yeast to enable the high abv. The beer was then dry hopped before being aged on toasted French vanilla oak chips to give it an entirely unique flavour.   

BrewDog founder, 26-year old James Watt from Fraserburgh, a town blighted by alcohol and drug abuse problems commented: “At BrewDog, we are determined to revolutionize the UK beer scene. Our hardcore beers are loaded with flavour, bite and body so consequently you drink less of them. Mass-market industrially brewed lagers are so bland and tasteless that you are seduced into drinking a lot of them. Responsible drinking is at the core of what we do because the types of beers we make actually encourage responsible consumption and a better understanding of beer. We want to change people’s perceptions and understanding of beer and firmly elevate its status.

“In order to change society’s drinking habits, we have to change the way consumers enjoy beer – it’s all about a change in their mindset.  We’ve been challenging people to drink less alcohol, and educating the palates of drinkers with progressive craft brewed beers which have an amazing depth of flavour, body and character. The beers we make at BrewDog, including Tokyo*, are providing a cure to binge-beer drinking.”

Watt firmly believes the UK’s alcohol abuse habits are caused by multi-national brewing companies which control the market, and the bodies set up to police them: “Tokyo* is £9.99 for a 330ml bottle but you can purchase 24 cans of lager or a litre bottle of 40% ABV spirits for the same price.  These are the products people seek out if they choose to abuse alcohol, not premium, high-quality product such as Tokyo*.”

Tokyo*, Watt continues, is testament to the very talented brewers on the team at BrewDog: “Brewing a 18.2% beer requires a huge amount of knowledge, talent and perseverence. We are determined to push the boundaries in brewing and produce ground-breaking brews. The unusual ingredients and methods used to create Tokyo* give the beer amazing flavours and dimensions. This huge beer is all about libertine master-craftsmen at the absolute top of their game.”

Zak Avery, named ‘UK Beer Writer of the Year 2008” by the British Guild of Beer Writers and as a retailer, wholesaler and blogger, is one of the UK’s leading beer experts agreed: "Instead of celebrating BrewDog’s achievements of being globally-celebrated craft brewers, of putting the focus on the craft brewing scene in Scotland, and of being at the forefront of the new wave of craft brewing in the UK, the spotlight instead is being shone on a spurious link between their beers and alcohol abuse.

“While there is no doubt that alcohol misuse is a problem in the UK, and not to belittle the resources that this eats up and the misery that it may cause, the beers that BrewDog produce are not part of that problem. Tokyo is produced, marketed, priced and sold as a super-premium product. To claim that this type of beer is part of the alcohol abuse problem is akin to blaming Michelin-starred restaurants for the oft-reported obesity epidemic"

Greg Koch, founder and CEO of Stone, the top craft brewery in the US and voted number 1 brewery in the world by Beer Advocate also agreed: “The great British brewing culture has been reduced from a former shining star, to just a handful of tiny sparks of light...which the nanny state is endeavouring to stamp out.

“I have been quite bemused to learn that the once-famous British brewing culture has been reduced down to the nannying of lager-louts and binge drinkers, and the eschewing of character and style worth contemplating….and the inability to tell the difference.  BrewDog’s beers, like ours, are for those who prefer to contemplate rather than chug."

July 09

1 July 2009 - Felicity Murray