Brexit uncertainty drives BrewDog to Berlin

BrewDog co-founders Martin Dickie (left) and James Watt

The co-founder of Aberdeenshire-based craft brewing firm BrewDog has criticized the lack of clarity surrounding Brexit, saying the confusion will cause “severe long-term damage” to the UK’s economy and entrepreneurs.

In an interview with the UK’s Press Association, BrewDog co-founder James Watt said the uncertainty on Brexit has had a negative effect on British businesses.

“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 said BrewDog’s decision to buy the site of Stone Brewing in Berlin, 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 to add a co-working space, beer-making experiences and a craft beer museum at the Berlin site, making it the company’s flagship location in mainland Europe.

The company, set up in 2007 by 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.

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.