BrewDog has apologised after concerns were raised by former staff over the atmosphere fostered at the craft beer company.
In an open letter published online, Punks with Purpose, a group comprised of former employees, highlighted a series of issues.
They said that BrewDog had been “built on a cult of personality”, and alleged that the company had sought to “exploit publicity” in order to further their business goals.
In their letter, the group wrote: “Growth, at all costs, has always been perceived as the number one focus for the company, and the fuel you have used to achieve it is controversy.
“In a post-truth world, you have allowed the ends to justify the means, time and time again.
“Lies, hypocrisy and deceit can be useful tools; PR campaigns repeated over and over on LinkedIn – until you actually believe them yourselves – is good for driving awareness, and if anyone questions the validity of your claims, you can simply move on to the next campaign.”
It continued: “By placing personalities at the centre of your messaging, you have inflated egos and fostered a culture within craft beer that deifies founders, and gives weight to sexist and misogynistic brewers who claim to be standing up for free speech.
“You have become a lightning rod for some of the worst attitudes present on both the internet, and in real life.
“You spent years claiming you wanted to be the best employer in the world, presumably to help you to recruit top talent, but ask former staff what they think of those claims, and you’ll most likely be laughed at.
“Being treated like a human being was sadly not always a given for those working at BrewDog.”
The letter added: “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 have left.”
In a statement, BrewDog co-founder James Watt said that the company is “committed to doing better” and pledged to reach out to its entire team past and present.
He said: “At BrewDog our people are our main priority, 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.
“At BrewDog we are focussed on building the best business we can. 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.”
He continued: “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.
“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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