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Introduction

In June 2021 a group of former BrewDog employees shared an open letter which raised a number of serious concerns about our culture. As we have made clear, this open letter and other stories that have been shared from across the beer world relate to practices and behaviours that have no place in our industry or indeed in our lives. Sexism and bullying are abhorrent behaviours and completely unacceptable. We thank those individuals who have come forward to share their story for their courage and honesty.  By doing so, they have played a key part in amplifying the voices that need to be heard. These stories have been uncomfortable reading for everyone at BrewDog, but our discomfort in hearing these stories pales in comparison to the upset felt by the people who have been subject to these behaviours. In response to these allegations, we are listening, we are learning, we are being as open as we can be and above all, we are taking action.

In June, our CEO issued an immediate and frank apology, taking full personal responsibility for the culture of the business, and laid out actions we would be taking to ensure BrewDog is a safe, inclusive and welcoming workplace for everyone. That apology can be found here. He made a further update on those actions which can be found here.   BrewDog is committed to being a great employer, but it's clear that we need to do more. Below are steps we've taken and status updates where we have them.  This is by no means the end of the work to be done.  As the Independent Review and survey results inform us of other ways we can improve, we'll introduce additional actions; and we’ll keep everyone updated as we progress.

Actions

Independent Review

What we said:

“We’re going to start by listening to everyone. We’ll conduct an anonymous staff survey to paint a comprehensive picture of the BrewDog culture at every level. We are also very close to appointing an independent agency to conduct a review of our culture and people practices to ensure we can make positive and inclusive change at all levels of our business. We’ll share the high level findings of the review internally and externally before the end of the year and as part of the process and we will also reach out to the people who signed that letter to give them a voice. We will move quickly, but we also want to take the time to get this right.”

The Independent Review process also includes exit interviews:

“Exit interviews will be sent to all leavers from the last 12 months, this will happen in the next 14 days. Exit interviews will be introduced for every single leaver moving forward also. We intend to listen better to every voice and welcome all feedback as an opportunity to improve.”

Update as at August 2021:

We have appointed Wiser to conduct a full, unbiased review of culture within BrewDog. Wiser is one of the leading culture advisers globally. They have a wealth of experience working on employee research projects for Nike, ASOS, the BBC, Pret, and many more, where their experienced team immerse themselves in a company to listen and learn about the things that matter. The review will cover ALL divisions in the business, not just head office.

Ultimately, the objectives of the Review will be to clearly identify where there are issues in terms of culture, then recommend ways of tackling them. This will be done by a combination of internal surveys, as well as selected interviews and focus groups. This will be thorough, all encompassing, and above all, independent. We intend to share the high-level findings internally and externally before the end of the year. The process has now started – all leavers over the last 12 months have been contacted and the survey will very shortly go to our people, in line with our stated commitment.

Structure Review

What we said:

It is clear that there are some areas of our business where we are too lean. We are conducting a full review with each department head of team structures over the coming weeks, to identify the key pinch points, and to put a plan in place to properly resource these areas.”

Update as at August 2021:

We completed the Structural Review quickly and it was clear that we have been under-resourced in certain areas. Volumes have grown significantly, and due to the economic impact of Covid-19 on our business over the last 18 months we have not been able to add to our internal resources in-line with that volume growth, which of course has resulted in additional pressure on our people. We recognize the need to change this, and so we are currently working to add the needed resources across the business to make sure we are fully staffed in all areas. The recruitment process is already well underway and a number of new roles have now been filled, and we are confident this will make a material difference very quickly to those colleagues who have been under pressure.

International Team Benefits

What we said:

“There are some elements of our package and benefits that due to complexity and regulatory issues, we have struggled to ensure are in place in all in international parts of our business. We are actively resolving these issues as we speak and we will update our international teams directly on progress.”

Update as at August 2021:

We appointed Mercer Marsh Benefits, an expert in this field, to help us navigate the complexity and legal issues involved and the review is well underway, with further updates expected very soon. We want every BrewDog crew member to enjoy the brilliant benefits we offer, no matter which country they work in.

Salary Review

What we said:

“Our annual salary review from January as was postponed as a result of the ongoing impact of Covid lockdown at the start of the year. We are now scheduling for this to happen, with our aim to be to have changes in place for the 1st July.”

Update as at August 2021:

A full salary review has now been undertaken, and every colleague who joined us before January 1st, 2021 received a minimum 3% increase in pay, with all of these being applied no later than July 1st, 2021. Some roles received a higher increase.

Employee Representative Group

What we said:

“We are pulling together plans to form an employee representative group. Designed to ensure that moving forward our employees have a clear voice, and a connection directly to those in the business making strategic decisions about the future direction of BrewDog.”

Update as at August 2021:

The Employee Representative Group (ERG) process has been communicated internally and we are currently in the nomination phase – crew members have been invited to apply and where we have a large number of candidates, we will run an “election” process. We aim to have our first ERG ready by the end of September. Though the ERG will not have executive control over decision making, its input will be vital, in particular as we enter our next phase of growth and we look to build a culture of which we can all be proud. The role of the ERG will be to scrutinize and challenge the decisions made by the business, provide suggestions, and direct feedback from all levels inside the business to the Executive Team. The ERG will all have appropriate governance, transparency and meetings will be minuted. Members of the ERG will not be renumerated, but all additional costs and any additional time outside of contracted hours will of course be compensated for. We will provide more updates on the ERG process as it moves forward.

Career Development & Training

What we said:

“To ensure that we have the correct resource and guidance in this area, to make it very clear how our teams can progress and develop their careers in BrewDog, and to set a clear learning and development strategy for the months and years ahead, we have started recruitment for someone to lead this area within the HQ Beer part of our business. We have also recently appointed a Head of Training for our bars business, who will soon join us also.”

Update as at August 2021:

Our strategy for career development and training has been revised, and we’re currently in the process of appointing some key roles to deliver this so that all crew members can access first-class career development within BrewDog. To that end, we are pleased to confirm the appointment of a new Beer Trainer, and a new Training Manager for Retail is also in place. We hope to be able to confirm the appointment of a new Group Learning & Development Manager very soon as well.

With regards the requirement to achieve the Cicerone Certificate, Cicerone certification (more information found here) “designates hospitality professionals with proven experience in selecting, acquiring and serving today's wide range of beers”. We firmly believe this is a qualification very much worth having. The course is mandatory for our bar team members which of course we fund. At BrewDog, crew members who become Cicerone certified will rightly have this expertise reflected in terms of remuneration. Cicreone certification is not mandatory for teams members who do not work in our bars.

Ethics Hotline

Update as at August 2021:

The establishment of a new ethics hotline was not part of our initial set of actions, however as we worked through our response, it became clear that having a truly independent, verifiable, and proven service was the right way forward, as it gives all our people the confidence that any issue can be raised in the knowledge it is being logged and dealt with according to a demonstrable process.

Therefore, we have appointed NAVEX Global to manage a new Ethics Hotline and this has now been launched internally. This line will enable any employee in any country to report in absolute confidence any allegation of misconduct. It will help ensure that any issues are dealt with in a systematic, transparent way. We will take any allegation seriously and fully investigate and take the appropriate action.

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