An employee pours a glass of pale ale in the Brewdog Plc bar in Shoreditch, London, UK
Chris Ratcliffe | Bloomberg | Getty Images
LONDON – BrewDog, the independent craft beer brewer based in Scotland, was accused in an open letter by former employees of breeding a “culture of fear”.
The letter published on Wednesday said BrewDog was “built on a personality cult”. It goes on: “By putting personalities at the center of your messages, you have inflated egos and promoted a craft beer culture that idolizes founders and gives weight to sexist and misogynist brewers who claim to stand up for freedom of expression. ”
BrewDog has claimed to be a top place to work for years, but “ask former employees what they think of these claims and you will most likely be laughed at.”
BrewDog was founded in 2007 in Aberdeenshire, Scotland and is thriving thanks to the boom in craft beer popularity and expanded to the US in 2015.
The letter contained a section addressed directly to BrewDog co-founder James Watt, stating that “he is responsible for this rotten culture”. Watt tweeted a reply to the letter Thursday, saying it was “so annoying but so important”.
“Our focus now is not on contradicting or contesting the details of this letter, but on listening, learning and acting,” he said.
Watt said BrewDog was “sorry” and would contact both past and present employees to learn more.
Over 70 ex-BrewDog employees signed the open letter to the independent brewer, along with another 45 former employees “who didn’t feel safe not to give their names or initials”.
The letter said that it didn’t matter what part of the company the former employees worked in, they “all felt that our daily work life had at best hurdles and, at worst, genuine safety concerns.”
“To be clear, the greatest shared experience among former employees is a residual feeling of fear,” the letter said.
In addition to allegations about BrewDog’s culture, the letter accused the company of pursuing marketing “vanity projects”. And it claimed the brand brewed an eco-friendly season, a type of pale ale, with glacier water “(half of which was dumped down the drain) so the proceeds could go to charity (but only after the donation was cut, because it was too much). “