BrewDog boss pays out almost £500k to ‘solid gold’ can winners


The founder of BrewDog has paid out almost £500,000 following its ‘misleading’ solid gold can competition.

The Scottish brewery advertised the chance to win the can, which they claimed was worth £15,000, between November 2020 and March 2021, as part of a promotional competition.

The certificate provided by BrewDog shows the can is coated with gold plating three microns thick, or three thousandths of a millimetre.

The ASA received 25 complaints in relation to three social media adverts and found the adverts to be misleading.

To settle the furore surrounding the prizes, CEO James Watt revealed that he personally took the financial hit to compensate the prize winners.

He wrote on LinkedIn: “I falsely thought the cans were made from solid gold when they were indeed only gold plated. In my enthusiasm, I had misunderstood the process of how they were made and the initial tweets I sent out told customers of the prospect of finding ‘solid gold cans’. 

“It was a silly mistake and it only appeared in around 3 of a total of 50 posts about the promotion but as it turns out, those 3 tweets were enough to do a lot of damage.”

He continued: “The Gold Can saga was headline news. We were made to look dishonest and disingenuous and we took a real hammering online and in the press. Deservedly so.
“My initial tweets had been misleading and we deserved the flak. What was looking like one of the best campaigns in our history was now, decidedly, the worst.

“This was my mistake and mine alone and it was on me to fix it. I had to find a way to make things right without the business to be punished for my error. So, I did something pretty radical.

“I got in touch with all 50 winners and let them know that if they were unhappy with their prize I would personally offer them the full cash amount as an alternative. Furthermore, I promised to fund this myself so the business did not have to suffer financially from my mistake. 

“All in all, it ended up costing me around £470,000 – well over 2 and a half years ‘salary.”

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