In an attempt to fight the “rotten” working culture at the self-acclaimed punk brewer BrewDog, where “being treated like a human being was sadly not always a given”, the company has taken taken several measures.
Most remarkably is the announcement of Co-Founder and CEO James Watt to donate a fifth of his personal stake in BrewDog to staff members, marking the 15th anniversary of the company. The share award is worth just under GBP 100 million (USD 125m), or GBP 120,000 (USD 150,000) to each salaried crew member over four years.
Under the proposed scheme and based on the company’s most recent fundraising valuation of GBP 1.8bn (USD 2.25bn), each of the 750 salaried crew members will be given around GBP 30,000 (USD 37.500) a year over four years beginning in June this year. The share award will be worth even more if the company meets ambitious growth targets. Alongside, BrewDog announced to give 50% of its venue profits to bar and hotel workers.
Not surprisingly, the prospect of an elevated renumertaion has attracted many people and BrewDog received more than 1,000 job applications in the 10 days following its announcement.
Following its new recruitment program, BrewDog will fill more than 200 roles for its new flagship bar in Waterloo which is to open in late summer as well as several vacancies across its bars, headquarter and production.
“We are thrilled so many people are chosing to apply to progress their careers with us. It’s no secret the market is very competitive for the best talents. In launching the Blueprint, which included a major equity share scheme and a revolutionary profit share for our bar teams, we believe we are now setting the standard in the hospitality sector,” says James Brown, Hospitality Managing Director at BrewDog.
"These new initiatives build on our other benefits, not least pawternity, our sabbatical scheme, mental health support, our safe ride home scheme, sustainable pensions and we are committed to being a real living wage employer. We are confident we can provide varied, fulfilling and long-term careers for our people and very much look forward to welcoming new talent to the company."
Last year, 60 named and 45 anonymous former employees published an open letter on Twitter with massive complaints about grievances within the Scottish cult brewer. Soon later, co-founder co-founder and CEO James Watt apologized and took full responsibility for the events. (inside.beer, 17.6.2021) Together with several other measures, he also announced a review of the career development and training strategy to improve benefits for internationally working employees and a new Ethics Hotline for reporting misconduct. (inside.beer, 13.7.2021)
However, in January 2022, the BBC aired the documentary “Disclosure: The Truth About BrewDog”, which reiterated many of the old claims and uncovered some new ones. Watt, who unsuccessfully wanted to prevent the broadcast, was heavily criticized for trying to intimidate whistleblowers. (inside.beer, 21.1.2022)
As the company informed now, Watt has formally complained to media regulator Ofcom over a string of unfounded personal attacks on his character in the documentary, and has also filed a formal complaint direct to the BBC.
According to the statement, the BBC broadcast the documentary again on February 23rd “with eight corrections, highlighting the litany of errors contained within the programme, but still containing the most serious claims against Mr Watt.”
“The false claims broadcast by the BBC included supposed warnings that were made to new female employees about Mr Watt, and the allegation that some female members of staff were deliberately scheduled off-shift or accompanied by others to avoid attention from him.
“BrewDog holds evidence (including shift rota data held by a third party and statements from fellow managers) proving that these claims are false.
“The BBC documentary included numerous other inaccuracies over BrewDog’s Lost Forest project, its Buy One Get One Tree promotion and Equity for Punks share scheme and the false allegation that the company failed to act on the results of a 2019 staff survey.
As BrewDog states “Ofcom will decide whether to launch a formal investigation following the outcome of the BBC complaints process. BrewDog has not published the Ofcom complaint.”