The joint founder of BrewDog has apologised to former employees after an open letter was released heavily criticising the company and the culture within it.
Dozens of former employees, who have named themselves Punks With Purpose, posted a damning open letter to Twitter and their website on Wednesday night, claiming “the true culture of BrewDog is, and seemingly always has been, fear.”
Chief executive James Watt responded on Twitter, saying BrewDog are “sorry” and “committed to doing better”.
He said: “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.
“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.”
He added: “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.”
Mr Watt founded the Ellon-based brewery with Martin Dickie in 2007.
Punks With Purpose posted a lengthy open letter to Twitter and their website.
A passage addressed directly to Mr Watt reads: “It is with you that the responsibility for this rotten culture lies.
“Your attitude and actions are at the heart of the way BrewDog is perceived, from both inside and out.
“By valuing growth, speed and action above all else, your company has achieved incredible things, but at the expense of those who delivered your dreams.
“In the wake of your success are people left burnt out, afraid and miserable. The true culture of BrewDog is, and seemingly always has been, fear.”
The human resources team at the popular beer company launched a rival open letter in response to the highly critical one created by the group of former workers.
In an email to current staff, posted on Twitter by the Unite Hospitality union, the brewery’s ‘people team’ asked for names to add to a letter listing a number of benefits to being a BrewDog employee.
The email says: “We simply can’t allow social media posts to go by without putting our own perspective forward.
“A group of unhappy employees cannot dictate to the world what it is like to work at BrewDog in 2021.
“Our experiences are just as valid as theirs, and we need the world to hear our voice too.”
The original tweet credited the email to Mr Watt, who responded to correct the attribution.
To add insult to injury @BrewDog CEO has now sent an email round all staff encouraging them to sign a counter letter dismissing the deeply-held fears of current and former staff. Deplorable stuff from @BrewDogJames
Please do not sign this letter. pic.twitter.com/WHTdZXH2ar
— Unite Hospitality (@FairHospitality) June 10, 2021
‘You were always on our minds’
The BrewDog email begins by addressing Punks With Purpose directly, saying: “Wow.
“We hear you, loud and clear.
“And honestly, we’re a little surprised, and sad, that working at BrewDog left such a negative impression on you.
“But we’re a little bit proud too, because reading your letter reminded us how ballsy, articulate and determined each of you are – that’s what we liked about you when you worked at BrewDog.”
The HR team close by quoting an Elvis Presley song: “Maybe we didn’t love you quite as often as we could have.
“But you were always on our minds.”
‘Lost Forest’ plans
BrewDog recently revealed plans for a “green” hotel, distillery and campsite as part of the company’s drive towards environmental sustainability.
The plans, understood to be for a 9,300-acre plot of land at the Kinrara Estate near Aviemore, would also develop the “UK’s biggest” woodland establishment and peatland restoration project, according to Mr Watt.
The plans were revealed in a blog post published by Mr Watt earlier this year.
The blog post said that work would begin in August after the site, which sits in the Cairngorm National Park, was marketed at £7.5million.
Mr Watt wrote: We purchased a huge chunk of land in the Scottish Highlands, where we will embark on the single biggest native woodland establishment and peatland restoration project ever carried out in the UK.
“The scale is staggering – the BrewDog Lost Forest is bigger than 17 actual countries.”
He added: “We will be planting millions of trees to create bio-diverse broadleaf woodland and ecosystem.”