Skip to main content



While it’s used to making waves in the brewing industry, Brewdog is facing potentially its biggest reputational challenge yet, since a number of its former employees came forward with claims of a toxic workplace. But the PR nightmare hasn’t ended there for the craft beer firm.

It was recently under scrutiny by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which banned its advert for hard seltzers, due to false advertising. Alongside this, the brewery is currently being investigated by the advertising watchdog for misleading its customers during a competition to win a ‘solid gold can’ worth £15K.

In a digital world where news spreads like wildfire, incidents such as this could have a devastating effect on a brand’s image.

So, in the event your business finds itself facing a PR crisis, what should you do?

Acknowledge the issue 

First and foremost, acknowledge what has happened and take responsibility. Lashing out or trying to cover up the incident, will not only land you in hot water but could make matters worse. Brewdog discovered this when a spokesperson for the brand said that whilst they might have been wrong to use the phrasing ‘solid gold’, they still believed the can to be worth £15K. Unsurprisingly, this did not restore any trust in those that felt they’d been misled.

Although time is of the essence when it comes to issuing an apology, it is still important to take into accounts questions and concerns beforehand.

Be sincere and proactive   

When crafting your response, it’s important to carefully consider your use of words. While Brewdog was quick to issue a response to the toxic workplace allegations, it was criticised for being disingenuous and insincere due to leaked emails that showed existing staff were given until the middle of the day to sign the letter in agreement.

Make sure you use language that sounds authentic and avoid business jargon.

Your apology should also include a clear call to action that explains what steps you are going to take to avoid the same thing happening again.

Don’t neglect your social media 

Once your apology has been issued, ensure your social team is on high alert and monitoring for any further comments. Stepping back from social media could add fuel to the fire, so try to maintain usual activity levels.

In this situation, it would be wise not to let your social team go rogue with the content, or in Brewdog’s case, the CEO. Following the ASA’s ban on its seltzer advert, the brand’s CEO, James Watt, was quick to repost the ad on social media, voicing his disagreement. In doing so, he violated the ASA’s terms.

Avoid blurring the lines and instead, create some pre-approved posts that are sensitive to the issue and include key brand messaging and goals.

Seek to make active change   

Follow up on your promises and look to implement change. Use the opportunity to communicate your actions to your followers and demonstrate that you have taken their concerns seriously.

Nobody wants to be at the centre of a scandal, so the most important thing to do is plan and prepare. Work with your team to formalise a plan of attack, so you are fully prepared in the event a crisis does occur. Handled well, a PR crisis can be a great opportunity to demonstrate how well you interact with your followers.


Leave a Reply