Solid Gold Beer Can Promotion Costs BrewDog CEO James Watt £500k

, Solid Gold Beer Can Promotion Costs BrewDog CEO James Watt £500k

(Courtesy BrewDog)

The hits just keep coming at BrewDog and now comes the CEO’s costly admission that its “solid gold beer cans” promotion, gave winners cans that were far from solid gold.


Scotland-headquartered global craft brewer, BrewDog has been feeling the heat of late. Last year 70 former employees accused its founders, James Watt and Martin Dickie of creating a “culture of fear” and that number grew to more 250 in the following week.

Then came the Willie Wonka themed solid gold can giveaway fiasco which has now cost BrewDog co-founder and CEO a cool £500k (approximately $607,800 US).

Facsimiles of the gold cans were hidden in cases of BrewDog’s Punk IPA and if you found one of those the brewery would gift you a real gold can as well as £10,000 worth of BrewDog investor shares and a VIP tour of its Brewery in Scotland.

, Solid Gold Beer Can Promotion Costs BrewDog CEO James Watt £500k

BrewDog co-Founder James Watt

Turned out one man who won one of the gold Punk IPA cans which the brewery valued at £15,000 discovered that the can was neither solid gold and that it was primarily brass.

Mark Craig who lives from Lisburn, Northern Ireland, told The Guardian that when gold traders revealed the cold hard truth about the Punk IPA can’s true composition he was disappointed, adding that it’s true value was appraised as being closer to £10,000 rather than the £15,000 that was advertised.

A certificate provided by BrewDog revealed that the can was in fact only gold-plated, but stood by its £15,000 value based on “based on multiple factors,” including the “price we paid for its manufacture, the constituent metal and quality of the final product, the standard retail markup and the rarity and uniqueness of the cans.”

In a post to his LinkedIn profile titled “a £500,000 mistake. Made by me”, Watt said that he had been inspired by Willy Wonka to hide gold cans in cases of BrewDog beer.

Bur rather than win the keys to a chocolate factory, some competition winners made complaints about the golden cans, after discovering they were gold-plated rather than “solid gold”.

“I got so carried away in the excitement of the project that I made some costly mistakes,” Mr Watt explained.

“I falsely thought the cans were made from solid gold when they were indeed only gold plated. In my enthusiasm, I had misunderstood the process of how they were made and the initial tweets I sent out told customers of the prospect of finding ‘solid gold cans’”.

, Solid Gold Beer Can Promotion Costs BrewDog CEO James Watt £500kWatt said that he had contacted all 50 winners to offer them the “full cash amount” as an alternative to the prize if they were dissatisfied.

But when winners complained to the UK’s Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the watchdog group ruled that Watt’s claims were misleading.

Mr Watt, who has maintained that the £15,000 valuation of the cans was accurate, said he’d pay the winners of his own pocket.

“All in all, it ended up costing me around £470, 000,” Watt added.


Want more BrewDog news?

They do so much fun stuff and we’ve got them…





(All image credits: BrewDog

About is the nations' leading source for the Best Craft Beer News, Reviews, Events and Media.
Scroll To Top