THE co-founder of BrewDog has warned the ongoing Brexit uncertainty will cause “severe long-term damage” to the UK’s economy and entrepreneurs.

James Watt, who co-founded the Ellon-based firm with Martin Dickie in 2007, said the continuing lack of clarity around the UK’s troubled departure from the European Union (EU) was making it difficult for businesses to make decisions.

Mr Watt, who has built a reputation for his outspoken opinions, said: “Businesses need to know where they stand, need to know whether to invest, if they can build infrastructure, if they can employ people,” he said. “The uncertainty is having such a negative effect on UK businesses.”

Mr Watt, whose firm has repeatedly tapped into crowdfunding to fund its expansion plans, said BrewDog’s decision to buy the site of Stone Brewing in Berlin, which was announced earlier this month, was influenced by concerns over Brexit. He noted: “It’s about having the ability to be able to supply our European customers given the political uncertainty.”

BrewDog has breweries in Ellon and Columbus, Ohio, and has plans to develop a beer-making operation in Australia.

Last week BrewDog revealed plans to add a co-working space, beer-making experiences and a craft beer museum at the Berlin site, making it the company’s flagship location in mainland Europe.

The company announced at its annual meeting this month that it is open for its sixth equity crowdfunding raise, targeting £7 million. Some of the money will be used to fund the refurbishment of the Berlin brewery.

The developments come after BrewDog’s latest accounts showed it swung to a loss before tax of almost £1.5 million in 2018 due to high levels of investment in opening new breweries and bars.

The company also filed its gender pay gap data this month, showing women’s median hourly wages at its core business are 3.3 per cent higher than men’s.