BrewDog slammed for ‘disingenuous’ anti-World Cup campaign

By Amelie Maurice-Jones

- Last updated on GMT

Anti-campaign: BrewDog slammed for 'kicking off' at World Cup in Qatar
Anti-campaign: BrewDog slammed for 'kicking off' at World Cup in Qatar

Related tags Brewdog Social responsibility Pubco + head office Beer

BrewDog has been blasted for a "disingenuous" anti-sponsorship campaign against the World Cup, as has spoken out against human rights abuse in Qatar but will still broadcast the tournament in its bars.

The brewery will donate all profits made from Lost Lager sold during the World Cup to causes fighting for human rights abuses. “We’re proud to be launching BrewDog as an anti-sponsor of the World F*Cup,” a statement on the company’s Twitter said. “To be clear, we love football, we just don’t love corruption, abuse and death.” 

There has been public backlash to the football tournament taking place in Qatar, where homosexuality is illegal, and flogging is an acceptable form of punishment. On top of this, 6,500 workers are said to have died in the building of stadiums in the Gulf state, which was why BrewDog was “kicking off”.  

The brewery continued: “Let’s raise a glass to the players. To the fans. To free speech. And two fingers to anyone who thinks a World Cup in Qatar makes any sense.” 

Disingenuous campaign

However, BrewDog came under fire for still showing the tournament in its sites. “Isn’t that just supporting them?” one Twitter user asks, with many calling for the brewery to not show the games. 

BrewDog responded: “Our customers love craft beer, and they love football. They shouldn’t be denied the chance to enjoy them together because FIFA is corrupt.” 

What’s more, the campaign was also labelled ‘disingenuous’ considering the “culture of fear”, detailed in an open letter by BrewDog former employees​, who demanded an apology. 

Unite Hospitality said while the treatment of workers in Qatar was a scandal, BrewDog had the cheek to comment considering their own workers claimed to have been harassed, assaulted, belittled, insulted or gaslight in the workplace. 

Employee critique

It said: “This is yet another disingenuous advertising campaign designed to distract customers from the fact BrewDog is one of the worst employers in the brewing industry when it comes to doing the right thing by workers.” 

BrewDog’s reply was that no other brewer has invested as much in mental health, well-being or training.  

“We accept that we drove some of our people too hard during a period of rapid growth a few years ago. We’ve apologised for that, but we’re a different business today,” a spokesperson said.  

The Scottish brewery pointed out it was a living wage employer, offered sabbaticals, healthcare, and a host of other benefits to its people. “We are the only brewer that shares 50% of its retail profits with all bar staff,” it added. 

Furthermore, the Punk IPA brewer was criticised as still sells its beer in Qatar via a third-party distributor.  

But BrewDog said: “Apple sells iPhones in Qatar - that doesn’t mean it endorses human rights abuses. Neither do we. We are doing our bit to raise awareness of these scandals and injustices and will keep doing so.” 

One user rebutted, "if Apple tried to pose as champions of Human Rights, they'd get the exact same treatment."

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