Brewdog co-founder James Watt has revealed that, at the start of the coronavirus crisis, he “simply did not think we were going to make it through.”

In an email to staff shared on his social media, Watt explained that in March the group lost almost 70% of its revenue “overnight”, and at an 18 March business meeting he broke down in tears.

“With a heavy heart and tears in my eyes I could not finish my address to the team. I am not a very emotional person, but the severity of the challenge we were facing led me to completely fall to pieces, in front of all of you,” he said.

“I bought an airbed on Amazon and put it in my office. If the ship was going down, I was going down with it.”

Admitting that the business has not survived completely unscathed – with 4% of its team entering voluntary redundancy – Watt explained that those being let go will be paid the equivalent of six months net salary, retain full medical care for 12 months, and will be sent a package of beer every month for a year .

In order to enhance the package, both Watt and co-founder Martin Dickie will forego all salary for 2020, and COO David McDowall will take a 50% pay cut.

“Regarding our survival, we needed a miracle and against all the odds our brilliant teams delivered one,” he said. “We owe each other, and especially those leaving, a debt of gratitude. Their selfless act has allowed us to better safeguard the livelihoods of over 1,800 team members.”

“Furthermore, they all played a pivotal role in the development of a business that we, and millions of people all over the planet, know and love. Your contributions made a huge difference and you will forever be part of our story.”

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