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BrewDog’s Watt: ‘We’re fighting to survive’

Brewdog dream

Appeal for help: James Watt and Martin Dickie

Scottish beer giant BrewDog has said it has lost 70% of its income overnight and is now in a “fight to survive”.

Co-founder of the Aberdeenshire brewery and pubs group James Watt has told shareholders the coronavirus crisis will make the next few months “very, very difficult”.

His comments came ahead of the government calling on on all bars and restaurants to close from Saturday.

Drinkers flocked to the pubs on Friday night despite Mr Johnson’s plea at a press conference in Downing Street.

“Some people may of course be tempted to go out tonight and I say to you please don’t,” he said.

Pubs will close across the UK this weekend. Many are likely to seek an option to provide a takeaway service.

An email from Mr Watt outlined the “colossal impact” Covid-19 has had on the business.

BrewDog now has a billion pound-plus market value and employs 2,000 people across the world in its pubs and breweries.

Mr Watt appealed for help through its Equity For Punks scheme. He said: “As Covid-19 reaps unforeseen havoc on our world, our number one priority must be the safety of our loved ones.

We have two main priorities at the moment. Number one: survive.

– James Watt, BrewDog

“As for BrewDog, I am writing to tell you that things over the next few months are going to be very, very difficult for us.

“Covid-19 has already had a colossal impact on our business and we have lost almost 70% of our revenue overnight.

“The reality is our business, and the vast majority of businesses, now face a fight to be able to survive and make it through this crisis.

“We have two main priorities at the moment. Number one: survive. Number two: preserve as many of the 2,000 jobs we have created at BrewDog as possible.”

Mr Watt, who launched BrewDog with Martin Dickie in 2007, suggested in his email that customers could support the business by buying beer, getting their friends to do the same, and by investing in its Equity For Punks (EFP) scheme.

He added: “The biggest thing you can do to help us is buy our beers.

“The more revenue we can generate during this period the more jobs we can safeguard.”

The firm is playing its part by helping north-east residents get through the next few months by using its brewery, distillery and resources to create hand sanitiser, which will be given out free of charge.

It will also be operating a drive-thru service at its bars, where customers can buy beer and food that will be delivered by a member of staff to their vehicle, or the front door of the bar.

North-east Conservative MSP Peter Chapman said: “BrewDog has brought a huge amount of benefit to the north-east and a business of this size having to take this action is catastrophic.

“My sympathies go to the workers and I hope BrewDog can continue to support staff during this very difficult time.

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