BrewDog enters no man's land

Chris Gaitten
BrewDog provided this image of a proposed bar that straddles the U.S.-Mexican border.

On Thursday morning, BrewDog—the Scottish craft brewer with North American headquarters in Canal Winchester—released a statement announcing its intention to place a bar on the U.S.-Mexico border, dubbed The Bar on the Edge. Meant as an overt political statement more than any description of tangible plans, the company says the bar will exist in a “top secret” location half in Texas and half in Chihuahua, Mexico.

Over Friday morning coffee, the managing director of BrewDog’s U.S. operations, Tanisha Robinson, says the facility’s construction wouldn’t pose much of a problem, but the red tape, regulatory hurdles and maneuvering with local officials are another matter, she concedes.

The company’s press release says the bar will be defined as a temporary mobile building, with an actual dotted line across the center of the bar to separate the U.S. side, which will serve Mexican beers, from the Mexican side, which will serve U.S. beers—along with BrewDog beers on both sides. The venue’s “controversial positioning” is about collaboration and inclusivity, according to the release, in which BrewDog’s co-founder James Watt comments, “I guess it would make it more difficult to build a wall if there’s a BrewDog bar in the way.”

This type of political provocation and marketing is typical of BrewDog, which has driven a tank through the financial district of London and released stuffed cats with parachutes from helicopters as part of fundraising and marketing stunts in the past, Robinson says. Not being afraid to make a statement, political or otherwise, is part of what drew her to the job, which she started in early July. “At BrewDog we don’t push boundaries,” she says, “we completely disregard them.”

While BrewDog works on all the pesky details of creating a bar in two countries at once, Canal Winchester’s DogTap Columbus will hold a Tex-Mex event this weekend to capitalize on the announcement. The bar will serve tequilas and mezcals from Mexico, as well as Texas craft brews from the likes of Buffalo Bayou, Alamo Beer Company, 512 Brewing, Copperhead Brewing, No Label Brewing and Brash Brewing. DogTap will also feature beer cocktails, like Robinson’s favorite, President Camacho, the name of the Terry Crews character who serves as U.S. president in the movie “Idiocracy.”