Brewdog ‘committed to doing better' after more than 100 ex-employees criticise ‘culture of fear'

10 June 2021 by
Brewdog ‘committed to doing better' after more than 100 ex-employees criticise ‘culture of fear'

Brewdog's chief executive has apologised and said the company is "committed to doing better" after more than 100 former employees signed an open letter criticising what they called a "culture of fear" within the business.

"For as long as any one of us can remember, we have never seen anything that has made us feel like BrewDog has lived the values it purports to uphold," the letter read.

"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'.

"Some people… quickly discovered that this could be exploited, and allow them to treat other staff however they liked without repercussions – making them feel belittled and/or pressured into working beyond their capacity, and often eventually feeling forced out of the business."

The letter claimed staff were afraid of repercussions for speaking out and a "significant number" have suffered mental illness because of working at Brewdog. It also said the company fostered a culture that "gives weight to sexist and misogynistic brewers who claim to be standing up for free speech".

A statement from Brewdog's chief executive James Watt said: "At Brewdog we are focussed on building the best business we can, which is why the open letter we saw on Twitter was so upsetting, but so important. Our focus now is not on contradicting or contesting the details of that letter, but to listen, learn and act.

"As a fast-growing business, we have always tried to do the best by our team – we do have 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 endeavour to honour 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."

Read the full letter here.

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