BrewDog CEO James Watt has admitted it was a mistake to hire an “all-star cast” senior management team with “hearty paychecks”, after all departed within 12 months.

Watt said the experience a few years ago was an expensive lesson, because the team failed to integrate into the business, despite their impressive skills and leadership.

He said: “Despite being fantastic people and leaders, they just did not integrate into our BrewDog culture. Furthermore, installing a whole new senior management team in one foul swoop was always destined to fail. It was an expensive lesson.

Watt made the admission as part of an article on LinkedIn listing his ten biggest mistakes as CEO.

Watt added: “Now we have the BrewDog Salary Cap that means no-one can join our business and be paid more than 7 times the salary of the entry level position in our company. Because of this we have no option but develop the next generation of BrewDog leaders from within our own ranks and we are much stronger as a team and company because of that.”

Watt also said the company had overestimated the demand for sour beer when building a specialist facility, which had it too much capacity.

He said: “Consequently, we were under pressure from the outset and ended up making far too many different sour beers than we could hardly even keep up with what was going on.”

International franchising was not always successful, as BrewDog did not always do enough due diligence on partners, Watt said.

He said: “We did not check to see if the partner could run a bar, if they had the necessary funds and we did not even have a proper contract. This led to some pretty mediocre BrewDog bars internationally.

“We have since taken these prodigal sons back inhouse and now the international franchise bars that we do, we do with far more structure and diligence too which leads to far better customer experiences. Furthermore, we are working with some amazing new partners to bring you guys even more BrewDog bars internationally.”

The acquisition of Hawkes cider was also marred after Watt “ripped the soul out of the brand”.

He added: “Hawkes main two selling points were that is was made in London and the fresh apples were pressed on site.

“After almost 18 months of making the cider in Ellon, we are in the process of expanding the London Cidery so that within four weeks all Hawkes ciders will once again be made in London from freshly pressed apples.”

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