BrewDog started life in a garage in the North East of Scotland back in the mid-00s. Their rise to international brewery superstardom (if such a thing exists) has been meteoric. Their profile has grown so significantly that despite me now residing over 16,000 km from their North-East Scotland home, BrewDog and their beer catalogue were presented to me as the subject for Day 3 of Dashboard Week here at The Data School Down Under.


Punk API

The challenge began with the Punk API. An API that gives access to a wide variety of information about BrewDog’s extensive list of brews. I am, unashamedly, a lover of good puns, so I think that before I dive into the data, “Punk API” deserves a quick round of applause of its own. An excellent twist on BrewDog’s iconic Punk IPA name! The API can be found here.


Data Preparation

Figure 1: Alteryx workflow


To prepare the data, I wrote an Alteryx macro. This iterative macro heads to the API endpoint, and iterates through the list of beers. The JSON acquired from the URL on each iteration is parsed and split into three primary streams.

One stream creates a master list of beers, with key details such as ABV (alcohol by volume), IBU (International Bitterness Units), and much more. The second stream creates a list of ingredients, with the beer ID appended to to allow me to create a relationship later. Finally, the this stream generates a food pairings list for the beers!

Each of the three tables was exported as a hyper file to use in Tableau.

A fourth stream was used to update the URL for the next iteration.


A Viz for Punks

One of the first things I noticed when exploring the data was a few truly standout beers. Not just because of their excellent names (“Tactical Nuclear Penguin” might just be my favourite beer name ever), but also their extreme alcohol content and bitterness.

I couldn’t help wanting to learn more about these beers. Why do they exist? And how?

It was here that I learned of a war to brew the world’s strongest beer!

My viz details the history of the battle between BrewDog and Schorschbräu, culminating in a 2020 collaboration. I have included details of the beers and information about the Eisbock method used to make them. You can also see how their ABV and IBU compare to the rest of BrewDog’s beer catalogue.


Figure 2: Dashboard screenshot


You may no longer be able to get your hands on some of these beers but hopefully my viz on Tableau Public can help you to explore their history.

Jonathan Carter
Author: Jonathan Carter