BrewDog co-founder apologises over gold can promotion - and promises to fund cash alternative for original winners

Co-founder of BrewDog, James Watt, has spoken out about the gold can promotion which he says was 'messed up'.

Published 20th Oct 2021
Updated 9 th Aug 2023

The first round of the BrewDog gold can competition (which Watt is referring to) was launched in late 2020 and saw the brand promise to hide 24 carat gold cans in cases of BrewDog beer for fans to find. So far, so Willy Wonka.

Posting a picture of a gold can on his Twitter at the time, James Watt wrote: "Dear People Of The World, 10 solid gold Punk IPA cans are hidden in Punk 12-packs which will ship from our online shop over the next 4 weeks.

"Winners receive a gold can worth £15K, £10k of BrewDog shares & VIP tour of our Brewery. Good Luck To All."

When fans found the cans however, it turned out that they were gold plated and there were questions over whether these cans were worth the stated amount.

One winner, Mark Craig from Lisburn, Northern Ireland, hoped to fund his wedding with his gold can but after asking for certification from BrewDog, found out it was gold plated.

Speaking to the Guardian, Craig said:“Sales of Punk presumably went through the roof.

"You saw people claiming that that they’d ordered 20 cases to stock up, all on the basis of it being a ‘solid gold’ can.

“I can’t imagine a similar frenzy for a novelty can, which is what it ended up being.”

This week BrewDog confirmed that the Advertising Standards Authority is set to uphold a complaint against them over these 'solid gold' cans.

Now Watt has issued his own apology on his social media, saying: "We messed up our first gold can promotion. So, we have done 2 things: 1) Offered all of the winners from the first round the cash equivalent. 2) Launched a new gold can competition with clear T&C’s & a cash equivalent included from the outset."

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He also added that in order not to cost the company, team or shareholders money, he'd personally fund the cash alternative for the 28 originally winners, which works out at two and a half years of Watt's BrewDog salary.

The firm is now offering a new giveaway, titled a 'gold plated apology', in which customers can win one of ten diamond encrusted gold-plated cans or £25k in cash.

This new promotion began today, Wednesday 20 October, with winners selected at random from customers who order beer from the BrewDog website.

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Known for cake making, experimental jam recipes, Champagne, whisky and gin drinking (and the inability to cook Gnocchi), Rosalind is the Food and Drink Editor and whisky writer for The Scotsman, as well as hosting Scran, The Scotsman's food and drink podcast.
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