BrewDog Founder Warns of Looming Crisis

James Watt co-founder and chief executive of Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog, has said the current inflationary pressures the sector is facing have the potential to destroy more businesses than the pandemic.

Writing on LinkedIn, James Watt said it now costs BrewDog 25% more to make a case of its Punk IPA beer today than it did last year, adding that the brewer had seen “huge increases” in the price of electricity, gas, transport logistics, wages, malted barley, hops, and packaging materials like aluminium and cardboard.

: “We would never compromise on the quality of our beer and we want to do all we can to manage our prices and offer great value to our customers but unfortunately our beers are going to become a little more expensive. The only other option would be to compromise on the quality of our beers or our commitment to sustainability which we simply will not do,” he said.

BrewDog reported a £5.5m operating loss in 2021, down from a £6.8m loss in 2020, with the brewer blaming pandemic restrictions and increased internal investment.

Watt said the official inflation rate of 9.4% was “nothing like the full picture” and would soon “catch up to the brutal reality that so many businesses are facing”.

He wrote: “We are a strong business. We will manage our way through this new challenge. But make no mistake, this crisis has the potential to destroy more businesses than the pandemic, crippling the UK economy over the medium to long term.

“With the UK facing the slowest growth rate of any of the world’s developed economies it is clear the government needs to do more to help UK businesses. Instead of this squabbling between the leadership candidates and their supporters, how about they all start addressing the real issues? They are wasting time, when action is needed now.”

Founded in 2007 BrewDog operates over 100 bars worldwide.