BrewDog boss slams Brexit uncertainty as firm snaps up Berlin outpost
The boss of craft beer-maker BrewDog has slammed the lack of clarity surrounding Brexit.
Speaking to the Press Association, co-founder James Watt said the uncertainty has had a negative effect on British businesses.
He said the process will cause “severe long-term damage” to the UK’s economy and entrepreneurs.
“Businesses need to know where they stand, need to know whether to invest, if they can build infrastructure, if they can employ people,” he said.
“The uncertainty is having such a negative effect on UK businesses.”
He added BrewDog’s decision to buy the site of Stone Brewing in Berlin, which was announced earlier this month, was influenced by concerns over Brexit.
“It’s about having the ability to be able to supply our European customers given the political uncertainty,” he said.
BrewDog revealed plans on Thursday to add a co-working space, beer-making experiences and a craft beer museum at the site, making it the company’s flagship location in mainland Europe.
The company, which was set up in 2007 by Mr Watt and his school friend Martin Dickie, announced at its AGM this month that it is open for its sixth equity crowdfunding raise, targeting £7 million.
Some of the money will be used to fund the refurbishment of the Berlin brewery.
It comes after BrewDog’s latest accounts showed it swung to a loss before tax of almost £1.5 million in 2018 due to high levels of investment in opening new breweries and bars.
The company also filed its gender pay gap data this month, showing women’s median hourly wages at its core business are 3.3% higher than men’s.
Across BrewDog bars, women make 90p for each £1 earned by a man.
On average, UK firms have a 17.9% gap in favour of men.
Mr Watt said the current system is not fit for purpose.
“How they calculate the gender pay gap is completely flawed,” he said.
“It doesn’t give you an accurate picture of how a company treats this issue in any way whatsoever.
“In my opinion, what I think is important is that people who do the same job at the same level are paid the same, regardless of their gender.”
The company was criticised last year after a publicity stunt aimed at highlighting sexist advertising in the beer industry backfired.
BrewDog released a Pink IPA – a play on its flagship Punk IPA – with the tagline “beer for girls”.
Twitter users slammed the campaign, complaining it was poorly executed and perpetuated the stereotypes it purported to satirise.
“I think the intention behind it was right, the execution was really bad,” Mr Watt said.
“We made some changes to our thinking off the back of that.”
Another campaign featuring a parody of a porn website called Beer.porn was also taken down after backlash.
Mr Watt confirmed the brewer has since changed its PR firm as a result of the publicity mishaps.