Brexit has brought “zero benefit” to businesses in the U.K., the boss of a major beer chain lamented Wednesday.
James Watt, CEO of Brewdog — known for its in-your-face marketing and bars with kids play equipment in them — told Bloomberg that Britain’s exit from the EU has “had a significant negative impact on our business,” and made getting beer to its customers in Europe “significantly more difficult.”
“For me, it’s just massively handicapped U.K. companies that do business in Europe, with zero benefit at all,” he added.
“I think it’s been tragic for U.K. business and a lot of the economic issues the U.K. is facing — more inflation than other places, being harder to do business, is a result of the catastrophic decision to leave the EU. It’s really crippled businesses in the U.K,” Watt said.
Brewdog is headquartered in Ellon, near Aberdeen in Scotland. It has experienced a rough ride over the past year, posting a £24 million operating loss, with the firm pinning much of the blame on soaring energy costs which it said had hit most parts of its supply chain. It’s also faced intense scrutiny of its workplace culture.
Despite those woes, the group opened a host of new bars in 2022, including a mammoth site including an ice cream van in London’s Waterloo Station.
The blast at Brexit is not the firm’s first foray into politics. Last year it launched a “Boris Lie-PA” to mark the exit of Boris Johnson from the political scene, dubbing the beer “fit for a work party,” an apparent dig at coronavirus lockdown-breaching revelry that went on in Johnson’s government.
The intervention was seized on by the Scottish National Party, whose business spokesperson Richard Thomson’s constituency of Gordon includes the Brewdog HQ.
“The Tories and pro-Brexit Labour Party have trashed the U.K. economy and inflicted long-term damage on businesses and the cost of living — showing why it’s essential Scotland escapes Brexit and Westminster control with independence,” he said.