Brewdog’s boss has been accused of behaving inappropriately with female staff and customers by former employees.
In BBC’s Disclosure documentary, several members of the Brewdog’s US staff said they saw CEO and co-founder James Watt giving private, late-night tours of the US brewery to customers.
Dylan Gray, a former manager at Brewdog Franklinton in Ohio, said he would schedule more men on nights when Watt would be there, and sit with female staff behind the bar “so they wouldn’t feel uncomfortable”.
Watt’s lawyer has refuted all claims, saying: “At no time has Mr Watt given unwelcome attention to any female bartender. That account is not true – this was fully investigated by Centric HC who concluded that there was no substance to these claims.”
Former duty manager of Brewdog’s flagship bar Canal Winchester, Jackie English, said: “There were three separate nights… [he’d]… come into the building with a girl, a young female, you know, cute little blondes and he would take them into the brewery… to give them a tour or whatever.”
His lawyer added: “Mr Watt regularly takes both women and men, friends and customers on evening tours of the brewery.
“It is not true to say that those who accompany him are intoxicated. The claim that he did, was made by an employee in June 2021.
“It was fully investigated – the claims were not substantiated – no further action was warranted by Brewdog USA HR.”
While fellow duty manager Nathan Quick, who worked in Brewdog’s Franklinton bar until last year, said he and one other member of staff saw Watt kissing a lady on the roof terrace of the Franklinton bar.
Watt’s lawyer said: “At no time did Mr Watt have a sexual encounter on the roof terrace of the Franklinton bar.
“We hold a statement from the only party that Mr Watt could have been present with at the Franklinton Bar. She has confirmed in her statement that Mr Watt and her did visit the roof briefly, but absolutely no sexual encounter took place.
“She has also confirmed that far from being intoxicated; she drove herself home that evening.”
Watt also hit out at the accusations ahead of the documentary being broadcast.
It is not the first time the Scottish brewery has been in hot water for its treatment of staff.
An open letter from more than 60 former employees, and another 45 who “did not feel safe” to include their names, released in June 2021 accused Brewdog of being a “toxic” employer.
Brewdog chairman Allan Leighton said: “James has committed to making improvements to his management style. “Since publication of the open letter in 2021, the board has overseen a major independent review into our culture and we have implemented a wide-ranging action plan to address the issues raised.”
City A.M. has reached out to Brewdog for comment.