Brewdog to give workers 50% of bar profits and shares worth £120,000 | Business News


Brewdog has announced that it will share half of its bar profits with all bar workers and give 750 members of staff shares worth £120,000.

The craft beer firm said its 1,500 bar staff, who are paid by the hour, can expect to receive an extra £3,000 to £5,000 a year in cash, based on last year’s figures.

Pay-outs will be made twice a year.

Founder and chief executive James Watt also said he will give almost a fifth of his stake in the company to salaried employees – which include wholesale and manufacturing staff, as well as bar and kitchen managers.

They will own 3.7 million shares, which amounts to 5% of the company.

Mr Watt stressed that the reward scheme was not about repairing relations with staff, which came under strain after former workers accused the company of having a “culture of fear” last summer, with “toxic attitudes” towards junior staff.

The value of the shares will be worth about £30,000 a year over four years for those who are eligible, based on the company’s recent valuation of £1.8 billion.

‘A new hospitality model’

The awards totalling nearly £100 million will start in June and pay out each year for four years, but staff will only be able to cash in the shares if there is a sale or change in ownership – or when the group makes its shares public, which Mr Watt said is unlikely to happen in the next year.

The chief executive said an initial public offering is “very much” part of his plan in the medium-term and could happen in 2023.

He said he hoped the reward schemes would act as a “blueprint for a new type of hospitality model” and said he was focused on “building the best company we possibly can”.

Brewdog was publicly criticised last year by a group of 60 employees who published an open letter alleging the business was built upon a “cult of personality” around its founders, Mr Watt and Martin Dickie, with a focus on “growth at all costs”.

They claimed a “significant number” of ex-employees suffered “mental illness” due to working conditions and were left “burnt out, afraid and miserable”.

Mr Watt said the firm had already made changes after the letter was published.

He said the new schemes “will help with every element of our company – recruitment, retention and team engagement”.

“We want our team members to act as business owners and incentivise them as if they are business owners,” he said.

Brewdog has breweries on three continents and operates more than 100 bars in the UK.


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