BrewDog founders

Source: BrewDog

Watt claims to have paid almost £500,000 in compensation to competition winners 

BrewDog CEO James Watt has paid almost £500,000 in compensation to winners of its ‘solid gold’ beer can promotion, he has claimed.

In a LinkedIn post, Watt said he made “some costly mistakes” in the marketing of the brewer’s “Willy Wonka-style” promotion, which offered the chance to find one of 50 gold cans hidden in cases of BrewDog beer in 2021.

“I falsely thought the cans were made from solid gold when they were, indeed, only gold-plated,” Watt wrote. “In my enthusiasm, I had misunderstood the process of how they were made and the initial tweets I sent out told customers of the prospect of finding ‘solid gold cans’.

“It was a silly mistake and it only appeared in around three of a total of 50 posts about the promotion but as it turns out, those three tweets were enough to do a lot of damage,” he added.

BrewDog had claimed the cans were worth £15,000 each, and offered winners £15,000-worth of shares as part of the prize. However, some winners questioned how much the cans were worth once they discovered they were gold-plated.

The Advertising Standards Authority upheld a series of complaints made about Watt’s “misleading” tweets in October 2021.

“The gold can saga was headline news,” Watt explained. “We were made to look dishonest and disingenuous and we took a real hammering online and in the press. Deservedly so. My initial tweets had been misleading and we deserved the flak.”

The BrewDog boss had contacted all 50 winners and offered them “the full cash amount” as an alternative to the prize, he claimed. He also promised to personally fund the reparations so the brewer’s finances wouldn’t suffer.

“All in all, it ended up costing me around £470,000 – well over two-and-a-half years’ salary. Those were three very expensive mistaken tweets that I sent out in my enthusiasm for our new campaign.”.

It comes as BrewDog’s soda brand has been delisted from Tesco after less than a year on the market.