A Twitter posting by ex-BrewDog employees has ignited a social media firestorm against the Scotland-headquartered and the now global brewer. And despite co-Founder James Watt’s response that number has now grown to more than 250.
Here’s the latest on yet another unfortunate incident challenging the craft beer industry’s once glossy image…
What started with allegations by 60 ex-employees that BrewDog was fostering a toxic workplace and” culture of fear” isn’t going away.
In fact those complaints (which now include current employees as well) have only escalated.
The original post by “Punks With Purpose” targeted James Watt and Martin 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 Watt took to twitter and posted the following response to the open letter saying that it was “so upsetting, but so important.”
Speaking to the BBC, Watt vowed to improve as an employer….
“It’s very clear, looking at the feedback, we haven’t always got things right here. We have to see this feedback as an opportunity to get better. We have to learn, we have to act. We have to take it on the chin.”
Watt would not confirm or deny specific allegations, instead saying, “For me, it’s not about disputing individual claims. But 60 people were unhappy and we have to get better. That’s the only way we can get something good out of this situation.”
The now-250 signatories thanked him for the apology, but still the allegations continue to grow.
According to the Drinks Business Watt also sent a response to current employees addressing the allegations, which noted that while BrewDog’s “fast-paced and intense environment is definitely not for everyone, many of our fantastic long-term team members have thrived in our culture.”
And the response to Watt’s in-house messaging was equally brutal…
“Many of our signatories worked for BrewDog for years, and were extremely high-performing,” thee group of ex-staff members said in response.
“To suggest that those who apparently couldn’t hack it are somehow less worthy in your eyes is grotesque; we believe this shows your true feelings of disregard for your staff, both former and current.”
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.”
But then there’s this…
And unfortunately this…
(All image credits: BrewDog)