(How) should I write about Brewdog?

As part of the development of my forthcoming book CITIZENS: How to unleash the power of everyone and fix our f***ed up world, I’m experimenting with hosting a series of conversations to help me make what I hope is a decent first draft into a great book. The first will be about Brewdog, discussing a company I’m keen to feature as a case study but whose flaws I am equally determined to acknowledge. To join the conversation, you can sign up for my mailing list here and I’ll then send you the registration details. You can find out more about the way I’m trying to write the book here.

Brewdog has been an important case study for me and for the New Citizenship Project team since we researched the company’s story for Jeremy Heimans and Henry Timms in 2016, as input for their book New Power. Since the very beginning, Brewdog has opened up to participation from its customer base in some very interesting and inspiring ways —ways we think other businesses and organisations could learn a lot from — as we recently wrote about here in celebration of the brewer attaining B Corporation status.

But in recent times, the bad news has been building, with recent revelations of a “culture of fear” just the latest.

What lessons should be learned from what’s happened there? What should the founders do to put the situation right? Can they? And selfishly… should I still use them as a case study? How should I talk about them if so? What should I replace them with if not??

I’d love your thoughts, from whatever perspective you bring. The idea of the Think In format (which I’m “borrowing” from the news brand Tortoise) is that it’s about hearing contributions, thoughts, ideas from everyone, so it’s not a panel or anything like that — but I have invited a couple of people who’ve already piped up to me on the subject to kick off the conversation: Julie Dodd, a leading thinker and practitioner on the role of digital media in society, who first put me onto Brewdog back in 2016; and Ed Mayo, former Secretary General of Cooperatives UK and Director of the New Economics Foundation, who tweeted me in relation to the bullying revelations saying that “without workplace participation, strong leadership cultures can become toxic leadership cults”.

To join the conversation, you can sign up for my mailing list here and I’ll then send you the registration details and the draft of the section of the book where I talk about Brewdog. I’m looking forward to seeing you there — and please do share this post with anyone you think might be interested!

activist / strategist / citizen / co-founder @NewCitProj / fellow @the_young_fdn @theRSAorg / member @CompassOffice @soclibforum