BrewDog Launches Coworking In Pubs

Scottish craft beer brewery and pub chain, BrewDog, is inviting professionals to work from some of its pubs while they enjoy a cold pint of beer. Image source: BrewDog
  • DeskDog is the coworking brand of Scottish craft beer brewery and pub chain, BrewDog.
  • By creating DeskDog, BrewDog is inviting people to cowork from some of its UK-based pubs while they enjoy a cold pint of beer.
  • Some professionals believe that business and alcohol shouldn’t mix, especially in the workplace.

“Why work in a coffee shop when we have beer?”

Scottish craft beer brewery and pub chain, BrewDog, has added coworking to some of its UK-based pubs.

DeskDog is a hot-desking initiative that can be booked online at four BrewDog locations – Brixton, Sheffield, Shoreditch, and Paddington – with more on the way.

Announcing DeskDog with its tagline “Hot desk, cold beer”, the brand said in a statement:

“Our many remote staff often spend time dialling into their laptops in our BrewDog Bars, and we know many of you do so too. DeskDog makes that official.”

Workers pay £7 to use the bar after midday, which includes unlimited coffee and a pint of their signature beer, Punk IPA. However, desks can only be booked for a maximum of two and a half hours.

Despite the limitation, early feedback on the brand’s Facebook suggests DeskDog could be onto something:

“£7 is a steal and cheaper than a serviced office”
“Beats a Regus lounge”
“Coffee shops are so 2018”.

With unlimited coffee and a pint of beer, complete with power outlets and printing facilities, coffee shops may well feel threatened by this new hot-desking model. Indeed, pubs usually have a lot of vacant space throughout the day – unlike coffee shops – which enables BrewDog to pitch very low rates for its hot-desking space.

This poses the question, can pubs challenge coworking spaces?

It’s not out of the question. In its 2018 Coworking Report, Cushman & Wakefield noted that operators would increasingly seek alternative accommodation for coworking and flexible spaces as competition and new market entrants placed further pressure on rental values.

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    “While offices have been the traditional source of space, pubs, hotels and libraries are increasingly of interest to flexible space providers,” said Elaine Rossall, who was then Head of UK Offices Research & Insight at Cushman & Wakefield.

    “Any brick-and-mortar business that is vacant for a period during the day could be utilised for flexible working, and the availability of vacant retail units could see coworking become a fixture of high streets across the UK.”

    However, the inevitable question is, how does working in a bar impact productivity?

    We’ve already seen the damaging effects that alcohol can have on business communities, and although some people see alcohol as a central part to doing business – think boozy lunches, events, and WeWork’s infamous free beer on-tap (which is now being limited in some locations) – others firmly believe that alcohol and business do not mix.

    “In my experience, many HR managers are very reluctant to place their teams in an environment where casual drinking in the office is common, especially if the company is involved in any work that requires security of information,” said Frank Cottle from the Alliance Business Centers Network. “So, to me, the best company policies are those that keep alcohol out of the workplace and don’t try to build a party-hardy culture in the office.”

    As for the question of productivity, different people have different tolerances when it comes to alcohol. But according to Drinkaware, a UK-wide alcohol education charity: “Soon after drinking alcohol, your brain processes slow down and your memory can be impaired” – which clearly isn’t conducive to productivity.

    For its part, DeskDog suggests that the pint of Punk IPA that comes inclusive with a £7 desk rental is for “once all your business has been concluded, or midway through to spark creativity”.

    The brand has more DeskDog bars lined up at Norwich, Cardiff, and Lothian Road Edinburgh.

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