BrewDog issues apology after former staff write open letter labelling it a "toxic" employer
“Put bluntly, the single biggest shared experience of former staff is a residual feeling of fear."
BrewDog has issued an apology after former staff wrote an open letter detailing their experiences working for the company.
The letter, which was directed at the company but also at the founder and chief executive James Watt, was posted on Twitter on Wednesday night by an account named Punks with Purpose.
It accused BrewDog of being a “toxic” employer which led former staff to be fearful and suffer mental health issues as a consequence of working at the company.
The former staff alleged there were safety concerns at the business and that staff experienced a “residual feeling of fear” while working there. They also alleged the company forced them to do things they were uneasy with, such as bypassing customs when sending alcohol to the USA.
“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’," the letter read.
“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 left.”
An open letter, to BrewDog. pic.twitter.com/xEd3B83qot
— Punks With Purpose (@PunksWPurpose) June 9, 2021
James Watt responded personally on Twitter on Thursday, saying he was "sorry" and was going to "take action".
He promised that the company would be focussed on listening, learning and acting on the letter and said the company was "committed to doing better".
In response to the letter, BrewDog’s Watt said: “At BrewDog, we are focussed on building the best business we can, 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.
“As a fast growing business, 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.
"It's hard to hear those comments, but it must be 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, brew dog has always been defined by taking responsibility and continually improving. This is no exception."
I wanted to share a quick update on the open letter from former BrewDog team members. pic.twitter.com/yKPtKpfUmM
— James Watt (@BrewDogJames) June 10, 2021