What does the launch of Brewdog Cycle Clubs mean for us ladies?
BrewDog, the self-styled punks specialising in an craft beers, have started their own international cycling club. Emma Nicholson finds out what it’s all about…
The taste of cold beer at the end of a long ride is probably one of cycling’s greatest rewards, so it makes sense that someone would come along and cash in on this most natural of pairings.
Guess who? None other than those canny multinational brewing giants, Brewdog. Not content with being masters in the beer sphere, the brewing bad-asses have established ‘the Chain Gang’ in an effort to connect beer enthusiasts across the world through the medium of bicycling.
Never ones to shy away from a brewski, we were keen to find out exactly what BrewDog have planned for the ladies in their new bike club, so got in touch with the brewing badasses to get a lowdown on everything beer, bikes and women’s cycling.
In the beer-ginning
BrewDog’s meteoric rise to the top of the craft beer world began in 2007 with a workforce of two and their mascot, a chocolate Labrador, in Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire. They have since expanded to be stocked in bars all over the world, as well as opening up a network of their own locations – which will form the central hubs for their all-new cycling meet-ups.
The Chain Gang concept allows just about anyone to start a chapter out of their local BrewDog bar, whether they are an advanced cyclist, staunch craft beer lover, or a combination of the two. The Chain Gang itself is a club ride that brings together all manner of people under the ethos of ‘bike + beer = good times’.
The new chapter
So far, so convincing (as long as there’s no cycling sloshed, of course). But, what’s in it for the ladies?
James Brown, the company’s retail operations director, told us, “We’re thrilled to have welcomed thousands of new cycling friends into the Chain Gang, many of whom are women.
"One of our very first ride leader signups was a woman from Canada, followed shortly by a woman leading our Birmingham chapter.”
Brown says that anybody who is passionate about cycling and craft beer can set up a chapter.
“We live and die by the philosophy that beer is for everyone,” he explains. “Women are still outnumbered by men in the beer community, but that’s shifting every single year, which is awesome to see. The more women involved in beer, the better.”
International bike rides
There are BrewDog bars in most major UK cities and also have international branches in some pretty idyllic riding locations, including Barcelona, Rome and Brussels. That means wherever you wander, you shouldn’t be too far from a group of like-minded riders to munch miles and sip suds with.
BrewDog’s co-founder, James Watt, echoes these international ambitions, “We can create awesome cycling hubs spanning Southampton to Stockholm, and Brighton to Barcelona, giving people the opportunity to meet new people, see new places and try new beers.”
Far from being a fresh idea, Brown says cycling has always been an integral part of the wider BrewDog culture.
“Our fans, who are avid cyclists, have been using BrewDog bars as unofficial Clubhouses for years, so it felt like a natural next step to turn it up a gear and offer something we fully endorse.
“We’re always looking to connect people who are driven by the same passions, in this case cycling and great craft beer. Judging by the massive uptake since launching late last week, it’s a winning combo!”
Watt eloquently summarises the bond between beer, bikes and the BrewDog brand.
“There has always been a natural crossover between craft beer fans and cycling fans. Both are driven by a passion for exploration, discovering the road less travelled, and are powered by hugely passionate communities.” And frankly, it doesn't matter what sex you are. Cheers to that.