BrewDog has been accused of allowing “toxic attitudes” to fester at the company, weeks after the craft beer industry was rocked by a series of high-profile scandals.
According to an open letter, a “significant number” of staff developed a “mental illness” as a consequence of working at the £1.4 billion Aberdeen-based business.
It was signed by 61 ex-employees, collectively known as “Punks with Purpose” after the brewer’s famous IPA.
“The single biggest shared experience of former staff is a residual feeling of fear,” the letter reads.
“You spent years claiming you wanted to be the best employer in the world […] but ask former staff what they think of those claims, and you’ll most likely be laughed at.”
It alleged that senior staff members “exploited” BrewDog’s “fast-paced” reputation to “treat staff however they liked without repercussions”.
Founder James Watt was was given sole responsibility for the “rotten culture”.
Responding on Twitter, Watt called the letter “upsetting” but said he would not “contradict or contest” its contents, instead seeking to “listen, learn and act”.
“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,” he wrote.
“As a fast-growing business we have always tried to do the best by our team – we do have thousands of employees with positive stories to tell as a result.”
Punks with Purpose allege that BrewDog sent round a letter for employees to sign to rebut the group’s claims.
“Publicly portraying their own experiences as that of our current crew isn’t just demeaning to all of us […] it’s also a threat to all of our livelihoods,” reads a leaked copy.
The news follows what some commentators have seen as a #MeToo-style movement among American brewers.
Modern Times founder Jacob McKean resigned as chief executive last month, taking “full responsibility” for overlooking multiple harassment allegations.
Philadelphia-based Evil Genius apologised for what one former manager labelled a “misogynist boys’ club culture”.