BrewDog CEO James Watt has revealed despite enduring the toughest year in the company’s 13-year history, the business managed to turn a profit and grow revenues by 10%.

Reflecting on the past 12 months, Watt said the company lost 70% of its revenues overnight, as its 100 bars were closed, exports dried up and customers struggled to settle their bills.

He revealed he broke down in tears in front of staff, believing the company would fail, but rallied through by buying an airbed to sleep in the office.

“If the ship was going down, I was going down with it,” he said.

Watt said plans are in motion for 30 locations around the world, including Manchester, Berlin, Brisbane, Mumbai, Amsterdam, Las Vegas Sydney, Cleveland and Milan.

“It may seem like a very strange time to expand our retail business,” he said. “But where others see challenges we like to see opportunities.”

The BrewDog boss likened the last 12 months to being like a start-up: “High highs, low lows and incredibly high stakes. In a start-up you also make big bets, you put everything on the line for what you believe in and then you do it over and over again. We had to do that throughout 2020.”

The company also grew its E-commerce volumes by 1080%, was ranked the world’s 19th most valuable beer brand and became the world’s first carbon negative brewery.

Watt said 2020 was a time when “we simply had to step up to the plate” and show how business could be a force for good, with over 500,000 bottles of hand sanitizer donated to the NHS.

“The aftermath of C-19 is going to be a brave new world,” he added. “The impact of the pandemic is going to accelerate the pace of chance and we will see more change in the second 6 months of 2021 than we have seen in the previous 10 years. We know customers are changing to brands with purpose, brands with solid sustainability credentials, brands with quality at their core and brands who genuinely care. Next year we will see the pace of this change accelerate.

“We are determined to make sure we do the same in 2021 as we look to really take the fight to big beer and set a new global benchmark in sustainability.”

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