Once a darling of the brewing biz, BrewDog has had a tough couple of years. And now the Guardian is reporting that the Scotland-headquartered, now international craft brewer has lost its coveted status as a B Corp in the UK.
Certified B Corporations, or B Corps as they’re called in the United Kingdom are companies verified by B Lab to meet high standards of social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability.
BrewDog has been an outstanding advocate for the environment. In 2020, BrewDog set the bar high, with an announcement that it was the first carbon negative international beer brand in the world.
All of BrewDog’s UK electricity now comes from wind power. And they are looking to implement that directive globally.
All of BrewDog’s spent grain, the biggest brewing byproduct for any brewery, is now converted into green gas.
And now the company is working with LOOP and Plastic Free on more sustainable packaging solutions.
It’s the brewery’s social performance grade that may have led to the company’s vaunted B Corp status being revoked.
In June of 2021 66 former staff members posted an open letter claiming to have “suffered mental illness as a result of working at BrewDog,” a company that they described was built around a “cult of personality” of founders James Watt and Martin Dickie.
The 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 a culture where company promises were not kept and staffers were afraid to speak out about concerns.
Co-founder James Watt later apologized on behalf of the company on Twitter, saying that the brewery was focused “not on contradicting or contesting the details of [the] letter, but to listen, learn, and act.”
On January 24, 2022, BBC Disclosure (think 60 Minutes but with a British accent) debuted a documentary entitled The Truth About BrewDog that painted a less than flattering picture of the company and its founders.
The documentary alleged that 15 female bartenders who no longer work for BrewDog were made to feel “uncomfortable” and “powerless” by Mr Watt’s behavior.
After being granted B Corps status in February 2021, Watt said that he was proud to be joining a “global community of businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance to help build a better world,” but two years later BrewDog’s B Corps certification has been unceremoniously pulled.
On December 5, a spokesperson for B Lab let it be known that after following a rigorous set of protocols, “BrewDog is no longer a Certified B Corp.”
BrewDog issued a statement saying that the company had decided to walk away from the B Corp certification to focus on the BrewDog Blueprint guide to the business’s future.
“With our focus on delivering on the objectives contained in the BrewDog Blueprint, which is unique to us and built hand in hand with our team, we have decided to step aside from our B Corp certification for the time being.”
(All image credits: BrewDog)