BrewDog has been slammed for launching a “disingenuous” ‘anti-sponsorship’ campaign for the Qatar World Cup, donating profits to charities but continuing to show the tournament.
The brand said it would show the World Cup at its outlets but “all the profits from our Lost Lager sold during the tournament going to fight human rights abuse.”
BrewDog said in a series of statements this morning that Football had been “dragged through the mud” following Qatar’s successful bid for the tournament, which they claimed it “won it through bribery on an industrial scale”.
The company cited a figure published by the Guardian recently, claiming 6,500 workers have died in the building of stadiums int he Gulf state.
Qatar has also been criticised for its entry requirements which ban same-sex relationships, public displays of affection and being drunk.
Trade Union Unite however lashed out at the firm, citing the pub chains own problems with its employees after hundreds signed a letter about the “culture of fear” at the company.
It said it was “proud” to be launching a campaign as an “anti-sponsored of the World F*Cup”, saying “we love football, we just don’t love corruption, abuse and death”.”
BrewDog said a series of fan-zones across the UK to watch the tournament as well as the human rights groups profits from its lager would got to.
On social media, users questioned why BrewDog was showing the tournament at all if it was taking the moral stand. In reply to one user, the company said it is showing the tournament “because don’t want to stop people watching the football. Corruption shouldn’t stop this. Besides, the more football we show, the more Lost is sold, the more money goes to charity.”
The company, which has been highly critical of the government’s response to the cost of living crisis and support for the hospitality industry, was forced to shut six of its outlets recently.
Its boss James Watt also admitted to making mistakes during a row over workplace culture, saying he did “push people too far”.
Earlier in the year, BrewDog was hit with a string of allegations, ranging from personal impropriety to financial misconduct to marketing scams.
Trade union Unite criticised the campaign launched today, with its industrial organiser for the hospitality sector Bryan Simpson, branding it one of the worst employers in the industry.
He said “the treatment of workers in Qatar is an international scandal but BrewDog have a cheek saying anything about workers rights when hundreds of their own workers (past and present) signed an open letter detailing a “culture of fear” with workers demanding an apology for “harassing, assaulting, belittling, insulting or gaslighting them”.
“This horrendous treatment was further reinforced by the much cited BBC Disclosure – The Truth About Brewdog in which corroborated a “toxic and misogynistic work culture” across the organisation.”
“This is yet another disingenuous advertising campaign designed to distract customers from the fact that BrewDog is one of the worst employers in the brewing industry when it comes to doing the right thing thing by workers”
BrewDog CEO & Co-Founder James Watt posted a picture on Twitter of a campaign poster, suggesting North Korea might be next after Qatar and Russia in 2018.
In response to Unite’s criticism, a Brew Dog spokesperson told City A.M. “no other brewer has invested as much in mental health, well-being, or training as BrewDog. We are a living wage employer, offer sabbaticals, healthcare, and a host of other benefits to all our people. We are the only brewer that shares 50% of its retail profits with all bar staff.
“Where we’ve fallen short in the past we’ve apologized, and we’re a different business today – totally focused on becoming the best employer in our sector.”
In a statement to City A.M., a BrewDog spokesperson added: “There’s been an incredible response to our Anti-Sponsor of the World F*Cup campaign this morning.
“We thought long and hard about whether we wanted to show matches in our bars but decided to do so for two reasons.
“One, if you love craft beer and you also love football you shouldn’t be denied the chance to enjoy them together just because FIFA is corrupt.
“Two, all profits from Lost Lager sold during the tournament will be donated to human rights charities. We will raise a lot more money if we show the matches in our bars”
It added that the company is “evaluating a number of charity partners and that “net profits will be calculated at the end of December and all donations will be made in January 2023.”