Opening a brewery and its U.S. headquarters in Canal Winchester earlier this year was only a start for BrewDog.

The Scotland-based craft beer maker began distributing beer this summer and closed its first round of U.S. crowdfunding after raising $7 million.

Up next is the groundbreaking in October for a hotel next to the Canal Winchester brewery, followed in December by the opening of its first U.S. bar in the Short North. In spring 2018, the company is scheduled to open a brewpub in Franklinton.

"It's like jumping onto an already moving ship," said Tanisha Robinson, CEO of BrewDog's U.S. operation, who joined the company about three months ago.

Robinson, the founder of Print Syndicate and Ticket Fire -- she goes by T -- thrives on fast-moving, high-growth corporate cultures.

In fact, she was first hired by BrewDog as a "growth guru" before being quickly promoted to CEO.

She is wasting no time in promoting growth.

After opening bars in central Ohio and expanding retail distribution to neighboring states in the next four to six months, BrewDog will open bars in Cincinnati and Cleveland.

"We are scouting locations right now," Robinson said of Cincinnati, pointing to the popular Over the Rhine neighborhood or the riverfront as possibilities.

BrewDog then will make its way to neighboring states, such as Indiana, Michigan and Pennsylvania.

Although BrewDog tends toward the irreverent and often goes its own way, the expansion plan is classic, said Bob Welcher, president of Restaurant Consultants Inc.

"That's kind of a normal expansion. It makes use of available resources. You don't have to fly from coast to coast. It's easier to control and build staff," he said. "That's pretty smart."

It also helps to build on a base of brand recognition, something Robinson knows that BrewDog needs here, unlike in Britain where it is the top craft beer brand.

"We have a long way to go with awareness and to differentiate ourselves," she said, "but we have a big opportunity and we have massive ambition."

BrewDog also has a lot of competition -- and trend lines are not moving in its favor.

Growth of craft beer sales has slowed in recent years as big beer companies such as AB InBev have bought craft breweries and thousands of new breweries have opened. There are more than three dozen craft breweries in central Ohio and close to 200 across the state.

There is still room to grow in the industry, Welcher said, but BrewDog may have to take market share, or at least shelf space, from other breweries as it muscles into new markets.

"It reminds me of the bagel-shop wars when it felt like there was one on every corner," Welcher said. "There is a lot of competition (in craft beer and bars), and it is not an easy business."

Robinson said that when entering new markets, distribution will come first, then BrewDog will open bars.

Another project slated to kick off in the U.S. later this year is a second round of crowdfunding that BrewDog calls Equity for Punks. Robinson figures that if the first round raised $7 million with no BrewDog beer or bars in the market and negligible marketing, this round should be much more lucrative.

She can point to BrewDog's meteoric rise from a garage in Scotland 10 years ago to the sale valued at $1 billion of roughly 20 percent of the company to a private equity group earlier this year.

"We think we can triple what we did," she said of crowdfunding. "We've learned a lot."

jmalone@dispatch.com

@j_d_malone