A grinning Richard Kilcullen meets me at the entrance of BrewDog’s new OverWorks sour beer facility in Ellon, Scotland. It’s pretty empty at the moment, save for a few barrels getting prepped for the wort they’ll eventually contain. A week later they’ll be taking a delivery of 18 oak foeders as the project continues to take shape.
Before relocating to Scotland, Kilcullen spent two and a half years heading up Wicked Weed’s sour project in Asheville, North Carolina. BrewDog co-founder James Watt openly admitted that he poached Kilcullen in a recent episode of the GBH podcast. But Kilcullen prefers to see it as “saving him from AB InBev,” despite the move being confirmed six months prior to Wicked Weed's eventual sale.
We head to the side of the main room, into a small enclave that’s empty, except for the large copper coolship at its center. The light reflects off his thick-rimmed spectacles as he lays his hands on the as-yet-unused vessel.
“It was tough to leave Wicked Weed, especially as, after two and a half years, so much of what we did there was coming to fruition,” he says. “But the chance to come here and develop this project from scratch was an opportunity I just couldn’t refuse.”