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 having navigated the US beer importation process properly.
And because we like him (many don’t) and appreciate his business acumen and self-appraisal, we are reposting this aspect of his article in full…
Mistake: Taking Shortcuts
When we opened our first US taproom almost 6 years ago and our US business was a stone-cold start-up, we had a bar, 100 staff and no beer. This is because our brewing equipment was delayed. So, we had to import some beer from our Ellon brewery: If we didn’t have beer to sell, we could have gone bust in the US in our first month.
The process of importing our own beer was new to us and we took some shortcuts to get the beer to America on time and we made some mistakes with the paperwork on the first few shipments.
All applicable taxes were always paid in full, but the paperwork was not always correct in the first few months back in 2017 and we did not realise we needed to get things like the Elvis Juice recipe and ingredients approved in advance (although this was subsequently approved).
In hindsight, there were oversights in labelling and paperwork due to the fact we were trying to run a growing business on one side of the Atlantic and start a new business on the other.
We subsequently contacted the relevant authorities (the TTB) to inform them, they looked into the matter and have responded and told us no further action would be taken here.
Now, we have a fantastic compliance team in the business to help ensure everything is always shipshape.
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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