ABERDEEN/COLUMBUS, OH: Craft beer brand BrewDog has launched a subscription video-on-demand service which promises to deliver “original content spanning beer and spirits, food and travel and everything in between”.

“Just as Netflix has pioneered mainstream streaming services, The BrewDog Network will be the first globally-recognized, passion-focused platform,” said founder James Watt. “We believe craft beer can be the inspiration for the most popular content on the internet."

For $4.99 a month, the network offers a mixture of original and bought-in shows, including Brew Dogs – a show which ran for three seasons on the Esquire network and the cancellation of which appears to have been a factor in the birth of the new SVOD service.

“After our TV show Brew Dogs got cancelled, we didn’t want to sit around in our underpants, crying into a tub of ice cream,” said Watt. “So we decided to launch our own TV network.”

Big brewers have dabbled with storytelling and long-form content before – a 16-minute film by Barcelona’s Estrella Damm, for example, has been viewed more than 15m times – but none have felt able to ask people to pay to watch their content.

But BrewDog is coming from a very different place: in 2015, it launched the largest-ever equity crowdfunding scheme and in 2017 it committed to giving away 20% of its profits every year (half to charity, half to employees).

And when it launched in the US, it used the divisive rhetoric around immigration to make beer a vehicle for social good, announcing it would open a craft beer bar that “straddled” the border between the US and Mexico.

The #MakeBeerNotWalls campaign attracted 32,000 new subscribers to the brand’s CRM and generated global media coverage.

This stunt marketing approach has gained it many fans and cynics might see The BrewDog Network as being in the same vein, but the founders insist this is not the case.

“This is a genuine move to take the video-on-demand revolution to a new level,” Watt maintained in remarks reported by Campaign.

“Driven by true passion and enthusiasm, we are doing exactly what we did with craft beer; raising standards and eyebrows in equal measure.”

Sourced from BrewDog, Campaign, CNBC; additional content by WARC staff