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‘Our experiences are just as valid’: BrewDog’s rival letter to criticism from ex-employees

The human resources team at north-east beer company BrewDog has launched a rival open letter in response to a highly critical one created by a 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 the company’s chief executive James Watt, who responded to correct the attribution.

Heavy criticism

The dozens of former employees, who have named themselves Punks With Purpose, posted their own lengthy open letter to Twitter and their website last night.

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.”

Brewdog’s James Watt on stage at a company AGM. Picture by Darrell Benns

‘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.”

‘We are sorry’

Mr Watt, who founded the Ellon-based brewery with Martin Dickie in 2007, posted his own response to the stinging criticism on Twitter and said his company would be taking responsibility.

He wrote: “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.”

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