Beer tourism is a real thing, just like wine and culinary tourism. I’ve written many columns on my visits to breweries across the country–and will continue to do so–in an effort to educate you, gentle reader, about beer culture. A new hotel in Columbus, Ohio has raised the bar considerably on beer destination travel.
BrewDog, the wildly popular Scottish brewery founded in 2007, recently opened its first U.S. outpost last year. The DogHouse, the world’s first beer hotel, has 32 rooms, including eight deluxe suites with views of the company’s BrewDog OverWorks sour beer facility. It’s a first-of-its-kind lodging choice.
Back in 2013, I had a chance to speak with BrewDog’s irreverent founders, James Watt and Martin Dickie. At the time, they were promoting their TV show, Brew Dogs, on the now-defunct Esquire network.
“[In the U.K.] we just didn’t have the excitement, the diversity or the innovation that was happening in the U.S.,” Watt told me about their show. “So we wanted to capture some of that.”
The show fostered a deep appreciation of the American craft beer experience and perhaps helped England’s craft beer scene take off. Today, Britain’s craft beer industry is exploding, just like the rest of the world.
“The U.K. doesn’t have anything like the craft beer culture that you’ve got the U.S.,” Dickie explained. “In the U.K., before 2007, you had two options; you could have industrial generic beer or you could have cask beer.”
That limitation led the bad boys of British beer to build their first American brewery in Columbus. A 42-acre site was procured and construction began on a 100,000-square-foot brewery. In 2017, the brewery opened to much fanfare and promises from Watt and Dickie of more
The “more” they pledged to has materialized in the form of their newest venture: DogHouse USA.
Within the confines of the beer-soaked hotel, guests occupy unique rooms themed around Planet BrewDog. The eight deluxe suites have custom artwork centered on the company’s history and its founders’ beer passion. All rooms are equipped with refrigerators fully stocked with beer chosen personally by Watt and Dickie. So guests are never far from a cold brew, every room has a shower fridge with even more beer, along with rainfall showerheads and locally made craft beer soaps. Want more? Opt for an in-room tap with your choice of draft.
DogHouse features a museum/conference facility dubbed “Craft Beer for the People–The Museum,” workout facilities (to burn off the beer), a lobby bar, beer-paired breakfasts, dog-friendly rooms and an onsite dog park.
Like the brewery, the hotel was made possible by a crowdfunding campaign. BrewDog’s Equity for Punks program sells equity shares of the company to anyone who wants to buy in. In return, the company gives investors first access to limited-edition beers, discounts and a say in how the company is run.
With the opening of DogHouse USA, BrewDog has sent a clear message to other brewers in America and around the world: Step up your game or you just might find yourself in another kind of doghouse.