MORE than 100 former employees of BrewDog have backed a scathing letter accusing the company of “lies, hypocrisy and deceit”.
The open letter was posted on a new website called Punks With Purpose yesterday accusing the craft beer giants of mistreating their staff.
The lengthy post was backed by 68 names and initials of former staff – alongside 45 anonymous ex-employees who did “not feel safe” to be named.
The letter accuses the company, from Ellon, Aberdeenshire, of hypocrisy in their bid to tackle global warming, citing the use of a private jet.
It also alleges that a charitable donation was “slashed because it was too much”.
Another allegation states that safety concerns were “met with some variation on ‘that’s just the way things are’.”
And further claims stated in the letter said that senior figures at the brewery showed “toxic attitudes towards junior staff”.
The BrewDog work environment is described in the post as “unmanageable” and “damaging”.
Segments of the letter state: “In a post-truth world, you have allowed the ends to justify the means, time and time again.
“Lies, hypocrisy and deceit can be useful tools; PR campaigns repeated over and over on LinkedIn – until you actually believe them yourselves – is good for driving awareness, and if anyone questions the validity of your claims, you can simply move on to the next campaign.
“These days, you claim you want to save the planet – an admirable mission, but slightly undermined when you look back over years of vanity projects.
“Chartering flights across the Atlantic that had to be filled with staff to justify them even going ahead?
“Brewing an ‘eco-friendly’ saison with glacier water (half of which was dumped down the drain) so the proceeds could go to charity (but only after the donation was slashed because it was too much)?
“We hope the use of a private jet has come to an end, but it wouldn’t surprise us if it hasn’t.”
It continued: “We believe these toxic attitudes towards junior staff trickled down throughout the business from day one, until they were simply an intrinsic part of the company.
“So many of us started our jobs there eagerly, already bought into the BrewDog ethos, only to very quickly discover that ‘fast-paced’ meant ‘unmanageable’, and ‘challenging’ meant ‘damaging’.
“Some people (no names, but as a group we know who they are) quickly discovered that this could be exploited, and allow them to treat other staff however they liked without repercussions – making them feel belittled and/or pressured into working beyond their capacity, and often eventually feeling forced out of the business – because that was perceived as the way the company operated, and if we didn’t like it, we should leave.”
BrewDog CEO and Co-Founder James Watt responded to the allegations last night on a BrewDog forum.
The response, which was re-shared over social media, read: “Hey Everyone,
“Just to let you know. We saw the Punkspurpose tweet and we will post a full response soon.
“On our growth journey we have not always got things right and we are happy to admit when that is the case.
“However, we have always had a high performance culture, we have always moved at speed and we have always focused on growth.
“It is fair to say that this type of fast paced and intense environment is definitely not for everyone, but many of our fantastic long term members have thrived in our culture.
“Our culture is built on rewarding and developing great people and focusing on growing our business.
“We will share a full update soon. James.”
After criticism for his initial response, Watt then claimed the initial response was co-written with BrewDog President David McDowall.
He added: “OK,
“It is almost midnight and it has been a long day. I wanted to respond quickly and I worked up a response with David just to let you know we were aware here. We should have given it slightly more consideration.
“And it should have read along the lines of we hear the concerns and we will respond properly in the morning.
“Which we will. James”
Watt today released another statement responding to the allegations saying that the company “haven’t got it right”.
Watt said that BrewDog “do have thousands of employees with positive stories to tell” but states “most of all, right now, we are sorry.”
He said: “At BrewDog our people are our main priority, which is why the open letter we saw on Twitter was so upsetting, but so important.
“Our focus now is not on contradicting or contesting the details of that letter, but to listen, learn and act.
“At BrewDog we are focused on building the best business we can. We have always tried to do the best by our team — we do have many thousands of employees with positive stories to tell as a result.
“But the tweet we saw last night proves that on many occasions we haven’t got it right. We are committed to doing better, not just as a reaction to this, but always; and we are going to reach out to our entire team past and present to learn more.
“But most of all, right now, we are sorry.”
He continued: “It’s hard to hear those comments, but it must have been harder to say them.
“We appreciate that and we will endeavour to honour that effort and courage with the real change it deserves. We aren’t going to make excuses, we’re going to take action.
“From our commitment to sustainability to our passion for beer, BrewDog has always been defined by taking responsibility and continually improving. This is no exception.