The craft beer industry is facing a reckoning in 2021 for practices that challenge its once glossy image. And now ex- BrewDog employees are accusing the company of creating a “culture of fear.”
These allegations, if true, are but the latest, in what has been a sobering year for the craft beer biz.
In an open letter, a “significant number” of former staff claimed to have “suffered mental illness as a result of working at BrewDog,” a company that they described was built around a “cult of personality” surrounding founders James Watt and Martin Dickie.
On June 9 a posting on Twitter by “Punks With Purpose” ignited a social media firestorm against the Scotland-headquartered and the now global brewer, making several allegations, including fostering a toxic workplace culture where company promises were not kept and staffers were afraid to speak out about concerns.
The letter, which was signed by more than 70 ex-employees, clearly view Watt and Dickie, who founded the company in 2007, as being ultimately responsible for a multitude of problems, saying that they exploited publicity, “both good and bad” to further their own business goals, chasing “growth, at all costs.”
This from the letter…
“By placing personalities at the center of your messaging, you have inflated egos and fostered a culture within craft beer that deifies founders, and gives weight to sexist and misogynistic brewers who claim to be standing up for free speech.”
“You spent years claiming you wanted to be the best employer in the world, presumably to help you to recruit top talent, but ask former staff what they think of those claims, and you’ll most likely be laughed at.”
“Being treated like a human being was sadly not always a given for those working at BrewDog.”
“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 have left.”
On June 10 James Watt took to twitter and posted the following response to the open letter saying that it was “so upsetting, but so important.”
These allegations against BrewDog are but the latest black eye for an industry that Dogfish Head Craft Brewery co-Founder Sam Calagione once called “99% asshole free.”
And then there’s this…
(All image credits: BrewDog)