BrewDog CEO James Watt on ‘Not Knowing His Own Weaknesses’

, BrewDog CEO James Watt on ‘Not Knowing His Own Weaknesses’

(BrewDog Founders James Watt and Martin Dickie)

BrewDog’s James Watt, who founded the now global craft brewery along with Martin Dickie, is an outspoken man…A man willing to own his past mistakes.

Here’s the deal…

Although BrewDog began as a Scottish garage brewery in 2007, it has grown into an international drinks maker that in addition to brewing, owns a cidery, a distilling operation, now employs over 2,000 team members and has over 100 bars all over the planet.

In spite of a difficult year marked by a controversial BrewDog documentary and accusations of having fostered a toxic workspace , Watt’s quick to celebrate the company’s many successes. But on January 19, he took to Linkedin and owned up to not knowing his own weaknesses well enough.

And because we like him (many don’t) and were struck by his business acumen and self-appraisal, we are reposting this aspect of his article in full…


I am a not always the best people manager. I accept I can be demanding, the standards I set are not always achievable and I can be too direct with my feedback.

I am working hard on this aspect of my own development and am grateful for the additional support of our Chairman who is also my mentor.

I think my strengths lie far more with setting the strategic vision for our business and taking the lead on high impact growth projects. That is why I changed the reporting structure of BrewDog two and a half years ago.

The change left me with less direct reports (I had 16 direct reports at one stage – which any CEO will tell you is too many) giving me the freedom to focus on our overall strategy and growth initiatives that really move the needle for our business.

It is a structural change I wish I had made far sooner.

As an entrepreneur, I just wanted to keep an eye on everything, but in a high growth environment, that is just not possible.

I just saw it too late. 


Say what you will about James Watt he’s not afraid to acknowledge his mistakes both professional and personal.

And not everybody does that….

(All image credits: BrewDog)

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