In wake of toxic culture claims Brewdog will launch a review

Brewdog, the craft beer firm has announced that it will carry out an independent review into the workplace culture. This comes after a former member of staff accused the company of encouraging a toxic environment.

James Watt, co-founder of Brewdog said that the company would carry out an anonymous survey of its staff to ‘paint a comprehensive picture of company culture at every level.’

Mr Watt, writing on LinkedIn, apologised for any pain which had been caused to staff members. He said that he felt ultimately responsible for the culture of the company.

The apology came after he received a letter from previous colleagues. Mr Watt stated that he felt the situation was 100% his fault.

Ex-workers posted the letter on Twitter saying that a culture of fear existed in the company. The letter also stated that safety was a concern, and many employees were scared to speak out.

The letter said that the responsibility for the unacceptable culture lay firmly with co-founder of Brewdog James Watt. It went on to say that in the wake of Mr Watt’s success staff are left feeling burned out, miserable and afraid.

The open letter, which was published on Twitter and other social media platforms, came from 61 former employees, plus another 45 or more who did not feel safe enough to add their names or initials to the letter.

In the letter the company is accused of seeking publicity to further their own business goals. One of the accusations was the ‘pawternity leave’ for staff with pets who had died, although staff were never allowed to take it.

The letter told of company claims about wanting to ‘save the planet’ yet chartering flights across the Atlantic, and slashing proceeds from a charity project.

‘You have inflated egos and fostered a culture that defies founders. Furthermore, it gives weight to sexist and misogynistic people who claim to be standing up for free speech.’

The letter went on to say that staff who worked there had become mentally ill. Several felt unhappy when asked to cut corners regarding health and safety.

The writers of the letter stated that no matter which part of the business they worked in, they all felt that on a good day there were always hurdles, while on a bad day there were genuine safety concerns.

The single biggest experience of former staff was the fear of speaking out and the repercussions it would bring, even after they had left.

Mr Watt responded to the accusations by saying that at Brewdog employees are the main priority, which is why the letter was so upsetting, even though it was important.

The focus of Brewdog now, said Mr Watt, is to build the best business we can. Brewdog has always tried to do their best by their team, but the tweets in response to the letter showed that on many occasions they had not got this right.

‘Brewdog is committed to doing better, not simply as a response to the letter, but all the time. Brewdog intends to reach out to the entire team, both past and present to learn more.

Most of all, said Mr Watt, ‘right now, we are really sorry.’


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