Beer giant Brewdog faces backlash after ditching real living wage for staff

The firm is one of the UK’s biggest craft beer brands.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Craft beer giant Brewdog is facing a backlash after announcing it will no longer pay its employees the real living wage.

Workers will receive the UK government's national minimum wage of £11.44 an hour from April - below the £12 cost of living-based rate.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

In a letter shared on social media by Unite the Union current workers have been told that all new employees will now be paid the minimum wage, also known as the National Living Wage. It means new staff will be hired on the legal minimum pay as the brewer tries to reduce costs amid continuing losses. The firm said the move was "necessary" to cut costs after making a £24m operating loss last year.

The craft beer giant has dropped the real living wage schemeThe craft beer giant has dropped the real living wage scheme
The craft beer giant has dropped the real living wage scheme

The company who recently shared plans to open a new bar at Edinburgh’s Waverley station, posted a 12 per cent revenue rise to £321.2m in 2022. It said losses were down to increased production costs for its popular product, Punk IPA, and soaring energy bills.

A campaign group for ex-workers, Punks with Purpose, said: “BrewDog management’s decision to revoke a long-standing commitment to the real LivingWageUK proves that there is no principle too dearly held for them to abandon. The real Living Wage has been a cornerstone of BrewDog’s public identity for years.”

Bryan Simpson, hospitality organiser of Unite, said: "To withdraw the real living wage now, during the most acute cost of living crisis in a generation is outrageous. We are already working with our Brewdog members across the country to collectively challenge this awful decision and force the senior management of the company to do the right thing by the workers who have made them millions."

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

A BrewDog spokesperson said: “As a result of the changes we’re making – and despite unprecedented challenges in the hospitality sector – our staff outside London will be getting a 4.95 per cent increase in base pay, and crew currently working in London will be paid 4.5 per cent above the National Living Wage.

“We have always been fully committed to doing the best we can for our people, and our benefits package is far more generous than the industry average. Last year we gave over £350,000 to our bars team via our unique profit share programme. Our team also benefits from a unique bonus scheme which sees all crew members receive an additional £1 an hour for the month for surpassing customer service standards. In addition, we offer signature benefits like “pawternity” leave and paid sabbaticals after five years of service. We are proud to be one of the Sunday Times Best Places to Work, and we were named a Top UK Employer by the UK Top Employers Institute.”

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.