BrewDog unveils £100 million staff share award and fresh expansion under 'radical blueprint'

Maverick Scots beer maker BrewDog has unveiled a bumper £100 million share award, further global expansion and a push into spirits as it sets out a “blueprint” for the next 15 years.

The Aberdeenshire brewer’s co-founder James Watt is to donate a fifth of his personal stake in the business to staff to mark the firm’s 15th anniversary.

The share award is worth just under £100m, or some £120,000 to each salaried “crew member” over four years based on the most recent fundraising valuation.

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Following the giveaway, BrewDog’s 750 or so salaried crew members and Equity Punk shareholders will own 25 per cent of the shares, owning the biggest stake in the business between them.

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And, in what bosses are describing as a “ground-breaking move for hospitality”, BrewDog is overhauling how its bars operate. Each venue is now going to share 50 per cent of its profits with team members.

The new blueprint includes major investment in the brewer’s Ellon HQ, a number of people and culture initiatives, a continued focus on sustainability, a push into spirits and further international expansion.

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Watt, who set up the beer-maker in 2007 along with co-founder Martin Dickie, said the moves would put the company’s 2,200 workers across the world at the centre of the business.

“These radical new initiatives are about ensuring we win together and fully recognise the hard work that our fantastic team puts into our business,” he said. “Our team and our Equity Punk community are now collectively the largest shareholder in BrewDog, making us truly a people powered business.

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James Watt is one of the founders of controversial BrewDog, which has grown over 15 years to become one of the UK’s biggest brewers, aided by a string of headline-grabbing publicity stunts.

“The road ahead is going to be exciting, but it won’t be easy. Redefining an industry never is. The share giveaway and profit share scheme will ensure that we are all in this together as we look to write the next chapter in the BrewDog story,” added Watt, who last year made an apology after being accused of fostering a culture of fear among staff.

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The share award, based on the most recent fundraising valuation of £1.8 billion, will be worth even more if the company meets ambitious growth targets, potentially giving the workers an even greater reward.

Chairman Allan Leighton said: “We’re delighted to be taking this step, and to be sharing the success of BrewDog with our people. There is no better way to ensure that a company thrives than to give its people a stake in its future success.

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“These are the perfect initiatives to mark the next stage in the evolution of the business and take our people with us on that journey. This is a company that has shown over 15 years of revolutionising the brewing industry that it is ready to do things differently and I am very proud to chair it.”

Watt’s total shareholding will reduce from 24.2 per cent to 19.2 per cent. He is transferring 3,727,201 shares to an employee benefit trust that will distribute 1.25 per cent of the company evenly among all 750 salaried crew members every year for the next four years.

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The shares will be given to team members in the form of share options, or, where regulations mean this is not practical, in the form of conditional cash entitlements based on the value of the shares.

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