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  • Writer's pictureErika Clegg

BrewDog's 80% brilliant values

What’s fascinating about BrewDog - who, as we all know, are lovable scamps 😏 - is that four of their five values entirely justify their more outlandish behaviour. Had they left it at four they could reasonably argue that people knew exactly what to expect of them and didn’t have a leg to stand on in trying to complain.

Because values don’t have to be nice. Values are not about imposing the world’s views on you, but are about stating your world view. It’s a very different thing and I’d say that BrewDog’s values set is 80% exemplary.

  1. We bleed craft beer

  2. We are uncompromising

  3. We are geeks

  4. We blow shit up

Let’s deconstruct that. It’s quite blokey. The ‘we’ makes it clear that everyone is expected to buy into it. Whilst one of them is very specific - bleed craft beer - the others are open to a range of situations, if not interpretations. Uncompromising makes its point very clear indeed, whatever your point of connection. And if you were expecting an organisation to observe etiquette, ‘blow shit up’ would shatter the illusion.

But hold on, you say: that’s only four. You said they have five. Indeed they do: and this is it.

5. Without us, we are nothing.

Now, I don’t know about you, but that looks like it belongs to a completely different company. My instinct is that it was added as a compromise. In fact, since discovering this I have observed that many sets of corporate values have a team-related item last, which is ironic, when you think about it. It’s on account of that value that ‘Punks with Purpose’ - a renegade band of ex-employees and anonymous existing staff - could create a massive social media problem for James Watt to pick his way through, clearly in unfamiliar territory.

When I describe BrewDog’s values as pretty much exemplary I can feel the air being sucked out of the room by the sudden, sharp intakes of breath around me. I know how a vacuum-packed sausage feels. But it’s true: values are your values, not those other people would like you to have, or would choose for themselves. And in that regard, BrewDog’s are (80%) brilliant.


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