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BrewDog accused of having a toxic workplace culture

James Watt, the company’s co-founder and CEO, has shared an apology on Twitter.

Yessi Bello-Perez

BrewDog beer
Photo by Kutan Ural on Unsplash.

Unleash Your Culture The allegations were shared in an open letter published on social media.

  • Former and current employees allege the UK brewery fostered a culture of fear.
  • James Watt, the company’s co-founder and CEO, has shared an apology on Twitter.

BrewDog’s former employees have accused the UK company of having a toxic culture. 

In an open letter shared on social media, 61 people formerly employed by BrewDog, and around 45 others who preferred to remain anonymous, shared several damaging allegations against the brewery. 

The former employees alleged they experienced a “residual feeling of fear” while working for the company. They also claimed that some workers had been asked to cut corners, including bypassing customs when shipping beer to the United States.

“It doesn’t matter which part of the business we worked in… we all felt that in our day-to-day working lives, there were at best hurdles, and at worst genuine safety concerns,” the letter reads.

“So many of us started our jobs there eagerly, already bought into the BrewDog ethos, only to very quickly discover that ‘fast-paced’ meant ‘unmanageable’ and ‘challenging’ meant ‘damaging’.

“Put bluntly, the single biggest shared experience of former staff is a residual feeling of fear. Fear to speak out about the atmosphere we were immersed in, and fear of repercussions even after we left.”

The employees also claimed BrewDog had run several “vanity project” PR campaigns. As an example, they cited BrewDog’s seeming mission to save the planet while also making use of a private plane. 

The letter, which was addressed to BrewDog co-founder and CEO directly, added: “It is with you that the responsibility for this rotten culture lies … In the wake of your success are people left burnt out, afraid, and miserable.”

AN apologY

BrewDog has issued an apology in response to the letter. 

“At BrewDog our people are our main priority, which is why the open letter we saw on Twitter was so upsetting, but so important,” said Watt. 

“Our focus now is not on contradicting or contesting the details of that letter, but to listen, learn and act.

“At BrewDog we are focused on building the best business we can. We have always tried to do the best by our team — we do have many thousands of employees with positive stories to tell as a result. But the tweet we saw last night proves that on many occasions we haven’t got it right. We are committed to doing better, not just as a reaction to this, but always; and we are going to reach out to our entire team past and present to learn more.

“But most of all, right now, we are sorry.

“It’s hard to hear those comments, but it must have been harder to say them. We appreciate that and we will endeavor to honor that effort and courage with the real change it deserves. We aren’t going to make excuses, we’re going to take action. From our commitment to sustainability to our passion for beer, BrewDog has always been defined by taking responsibility and continually improving. This is no exception,” Watt concluded in the apology.

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