Manchester-based brewery Cloudwater is terminating its contract with BrewDog, which had enabled it to get its craft beers into Tesco supermarkets.
The local brewery issued a formal statement addressing the ‘winding down’ of its partnership with BrewDog, which has been embroiled in a row about workplace culture.
In a Disclosure documentary that aired on the BBC earlier this week, BrewDog co-founder James Watt was accused of inappropriate behaviour by colleagues in the brand’s bars in the US – allegations that he says are ‘totally false’.
Cloudwater has now said that it has ‘reviewed the situation’ with its Beer With Big Ideas contract with the Scottish brewery, and will begin to cut its ties.
They have said on Twitter that they were ‘simply not aware of the extent of the problem’ but stressed that they ‘stand in solidarity’ with those in the beer industry who are fighting for the best possible working conditions.
Cloudwater’s termination of their contract with BrewDog will also mean they discontinue production of their Cloudwater Vs Brewdog New England IPA.
A statement shared on Monday states: “We’ve got an update for you all regarding our beers in Tesco.
“At the very start of last year, we entered into a contract with BrewDog to supply Tesco stores.
“When the contract was produced, the opportunities, outlook and the context for this agreement looked very different.
“Following a review of the situation, including consideration of alternative opportunities through grocery to support the breweries involved in the Beer With Big Ideas initiative, we have begun the process of winding down the contract with BrewDog early, and have notified Tesco of our decision.
“It will take time for both completion of remaining contractual negotiations and for long supply pipelines to clear.
“This is all we are able to say at the current moment. Thanks for your understanding.”
They later added on Twitter: “We simply were not aware of the extent of the problem and, as a human-centred employer that prioritises the wellbeing of its team above typical commercial goals, we stand in solidarity with people in the industry collectively striving for the best possible working conditions.
“In this regard, we can only aim to earn people’s trust through our actions. We’ll be trying our best to do just that.”
Another post from Cloudwater states: “We know a lot of folks will be disappointed to see the beers removed from Tesco shelves but we believe it’s the right decision for everyone.”
After The Truth About BrewDog aired on Monday evening, James Watt posted on Twitter: “The BBC published claims which are totally false & they published them despite the extensive evidence we provided to demonstrate that they were false.
“Reluctantly, I am now forced to take legal action against the BBC to protect my reputation.”
Allan Leighton, chairman of BrewDog, said: “Since the publication of the open letter in 2021, we have overseen a major independent review into our culture, which included reaching out to all signatories and all leavers over the past 12 months, and we have implemented a wide-ranging action plan to address the issues raised.
“To those former crew members for whom BrewDog failed to meet their expectations, we are sorry. To those who felt strongly enough about their experience to participate in the programme, we urge them to get in touch with our HR Team or use our independent ethics hotline so we can listen and act. Their feedback is hugely valuable.
“Any allegations of impropriety are taken extremely seriously. James has provided full assurance that the BBC’s claims are not accurate and are based on rumour and misinformation. Where a complaint was raised in the US, these were fully investigated by an external third party and found to be without substance.
“James has committed to making improvements to his management style and he will continue that development under my mentorship. He has expressed considerable regret if his manner has in any way made crew feel uncomfortable – that is clearly not his intention and goes specifically against the collaborative culture we want to build.
“Under James’s leadership, BrewDog has grown from a 2 part-time employee start-up to a global brewer with over 100 bars, 5 hotels, 2,400 employees, with plans for considerable growth in 2022, with the creation of over 1,000 new jobs this year.
“In addition, BrewDog has taken a true leadership position in terms of sustainability. We have an incredible future, but our overriding priority is making sure we are the best employer we can be and that our people feel safe, valued and fulfilled. We will continue to provide updates on our journey.”
The Manc has contacted BrewDog for comment.
Featured image: Cloudwater / BrewDog
Army ‘on standby’ as UK prepares for more postal, rail, lecturer and nurses strikes in December
The armed forces are said to be “on standby” to help fill various roles ahead of a new raft of strikes across health, education and postal sectors this month.
Royal Mail workers, university lecturers and sixth-form college staff are committed to walking out over pay disputes on Wednesday, 30 November as various organised strikes persist across the country.
Countless employees from various industries who feel they are underappreciated and underpaid are set to join the ongoing rail strikes, as well as the thousands of nurses expected to follow suit on the picket line throughout December.
Now, as per the interim chief executive of NHS Providers Saffron Cordery, given the strikes’ proximity to Christmas, roping in the British military now seems likely. Dr Emma Runswick of the British Medical Association said there is there a simple way to put an end to mass industrial action: pay people fairly.
Speaking to Sky News on Thursday morning, Cordery confirmed that while the army is waiting in the wings to help fill relevant NHS roles, “the reality is if the army or other armed forces step in it will very much be at the margins rather than going out and driving ambulances”.
It remains unclear whether army personnel will be needed to combat the impending labour shortage across other industries. Regardless, the Communication Workers Union are going ahead will a series of strikes in December.
Having formally called on Royal Mail employees to join the national demonstrations for strike action on the following days:
Friday, 9 December
Sunday, 11 December
Wednesday, 14 December
Thursday, 15 December
Friday, 23 December
Saturday, 24 December
As for rail workers, RMT Assistant General Secretary Eddie Dempsey shared a similar sentiment, assuring that while the train drivers and the transport sector, in general, are standing firm, negotiations with Network Rail and other operators continue this week.
In addition to RMT members across 14 rail companies striking on 13-14 and 16-17 December, as well as 3-4 and 6-7 January, the Transport Salaried Staffs’ Association (TSSA) said that staff working onboard and station roles will take action against Avanti West Coast on 13, 14, 16 and 17 December.
Meanwhile, the National Education Union (NEU) which represents 77 sixth-form colleges in England are also striking over pay, stating that in real terms, teachers have suffered a pay cut of around 20% since 2010.
Furthermore, the University and College Union (UCU) already held a 48-hour strike last week and is now set to hold another 24-hour walkout among university staff. As well as organising a large rally in London, union members across at least 150 different institutions will be joining the December strikes.
Look around brand new Coronation Street set as ITV unveils Weatherfield Precinct
The Coronation Street set has had a massive expansion, with a new Weatherfield Precinct unveiled today.
The location has often been name-checked in the popular soap, but for the first time, cast members will be able to film scenes there.
The set won’t hit our screens until 13 January – but The Manc headed down for a little sneak peek.
The two-storey Weatherfield Precinct set is built around a children’s play park, with a row of shops carefully constructed by the Coronation Street set designers.
There’s everything from a charity shop to a Chinese takeaway to a dessert bar.
Above the shops sits a row of maisonettes with a balcony running in front.
There’s incredible attention to detail throughout, from the litter on the floor (which includes a packet of a fictitious crisp brand) to the fake sausage rolls in the bakery windows to the washing lines nailed to the walls.
Everything has been deliberately weathered and aged, so it looks like it’s been there for decades rather than carefully built in 2022.
The new Weatherfield Precinct set was unveiled today by members of the cast including Jack P Shepherd, Sally Dynevor, Antony Cotton, Jimmi Harkishin, Daniel Brocklebank, Channique Sterling-Brown, Elle Mulvaney, Tanisha Gorey, James Craven and Colson Smith.
It’s been added as an extension to the existing iconic set, which spans 7.7 acres near MediaCityUK.
Producer Iain MacLeod said: “Hats off to our design and construction teams who have conjured a totally convincing new precinct for our drama! They took their inspiration from Salford’s many real-world, late 20th century shopping areas and what they have created is a brilliant, characterful space to tell a diverse range of stories.
“Expect to see teens hanging out at the dessert shop, families enjoying the play area and, after dark, a rogues’ gallery, up to shady business in the ginnels. I am really excited by the arrival on screen of this much discussed but never seen corner of the Weatherfield universe.”
Head of design Rosie Mullins explained the process: “Back in 2013 Coronation Street moved into its new home at Media City. With this move came exciting potential to continue to develop and expand our Weatherfield Community onsite.
“The first expansion came in the form of Victoria Street and Weatherfield Police Station builds back in 2018.
“In February 2021 I set about the first pencil drawings for a very exciting new exterior build – Weatherfield Precinct. We have often heard about this precinct and although we have filmed over the years at a range of shopping locations, we had never established our own Weatherfield Precinct.
“It had always intrigued me – what would it look like and who would we find there? The opportunity to bring to life a colourful and grittier area of Weatherfield was so exciting!
“Weatherfield Precinct was inspired by the 1960s shopping precincts that we see across many areas of the UK. In designing this the team gathered hundreds of images with a particular focus given to those in our local Manchester and Salford area. I wanted there to be aspects of the Precinct that people from all walks of life identify with and recognise. I wanted it to reflect how communities develop but aspects of them can also feel like stepping back in time.
“In this Precinct we find an array of businesses, a playground, residential flats, a small ginnel, Weatherfield community hub and a very colourful community recycling centre.
“Working with Iain on what the writing team needs from the Precinct has meant that we have managed to pack so much into this new set! I cannot wait to see the arrival onscreen of Sweety Nuff dessert & milkshake shop, Gregory Pope Foundation Charity Shop, Rutlands bakery, Pound Outlet and Bargainanza Pawnbrokers.
“The most incredible part of this has been watching this build rise from a small car park with a mass of ugly steel, concrete and timber to the beautifully constructed, characterful 1960s 2 storey precinct that we see today.
“This build has been one of the most enjoyable builds that we have undertaken and showcases the many behind the scenes talents that the programme has to offer. I am incredibly proud of the detail, the quality of the build and for what it offers for future storytelling for the show. I am also so very proud of how it was brought to life by our in-house talented Design Team.”