BrewDog unveils £100m staff share award, to give workers 50% of bar profits: James Watt, co-founder of Scottish brewer and retailer BrewDog, is to donate a fifth of his personal stake in the business, worth £100m, to staff to mark the firm’s 15th anniversary. Under the group’s new BrewDog BluePrint will hand out £120,000 to each salaried “crew member” over four years based on the most recent fundraising valuation, which valued BrewDog at around £1.8bn. Watt, who will see his total shareholding reduce from 24.2% to 19.2%, is transferring 3,727,201 shares to an employee benefit trust that will distribute 1.25% of the company evenly among all 750 salaried crew members every year for the next four years. The share award will be worth even more if the company meets ambitious growth targets, potentially giving the workers an even greater reward. Following the giveaway, BrewDog’s 750 or so salaried crew members and Equity Punk shareholders will own 25% of the shares, owning the biggest stake in the business between them. The company is also launching a profit-sharing scheme, allowing its 1,500 hourly-paid bar staff to share half of the earnings from each bar. The business said that based on last year’s numbers, this would pay out an extra £3,000 to £5,000 to each bar worker’s salary. The new blueprint also includes major investment in the brewer’s Ellon headquarters, a number of people and culture initiatives, a continued focus on sustainability, a push into spirits and further international expansion. Watt said: “These radical new initiatives are about ensuring we win together and fully recognise the hard work that our fantastic team puts into our business. Our team and our Equity Punk community are now collectively the largest shareholder in BrewDog, making us truly a people powered business. 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.” 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. 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.” It comes after the group was accused by former workers last summer of having a “culture of fear” within the business, with “toxic attitudes” towards junior staff. A group of 60 employees published an open letter alleging the business was built upon a “cult of personality” around its founders, Watt and Martin Dickie, with “growth at all costs” the overarching focus of the company. Watt – who is gearing the firm up for a stock market flotation possibly as soon as next year – said the group had already made changes after the open letter was published, stressing the employee reward scheme was not about mending relationships with employees, but “building the best company we possibly can”. He told PA news agency: “Everything we’re doing today is about looking forward with a fantastic team.” Watt said the group wanted to create a “new type of business”. “It will help with every element of our company – recruitment, retention and team engagement. Ultimately it’s about ownership. We want our team members to act as business owners and incentivise them as if they are business owners.”


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