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Diageo uses ‘dirty tricks’ to veto BrewDog award win.
Global drinks giant has deliberately abused its position as the principle sponsor for the BII Scotland annual awards to strip selected winners, BrewDog of the title, ‘Bar Operator of the Year 2012’.
- Expecting to receive first prize, BrewDog employees attended the awards on Sunday May 6th and were seated with the judges
- When the announcement was made and they realised they had not won, one of the judges was mortified, saying; ‘this simply cannot be, the independent judging panel voted for BrewDog as clear winners of the award’
- Events took a further twist when the people were given the award refused to accept it, as it clearly had ‘BrewDog’ engraved on the trophy as winners.
- BrewDog plans to use its significant online influence to urge craft beer fans to make their views clear to Diageo, asking its thousands of followers to tweet Diageo’s profiles their messages of complaint using the hashtag #andthewinnerisnot.
A Diageo spokesman: “There was a serious misjudgement by Diageo staff at the awards dinner on Sunday evening in relation to the Bar Operator of the Year Award, which does not reflect in anyway Diageo’s corporate values and behaviour.
“We would like to apologise unreservedly to BrewDog and to the British Institute of Innkeeping for this error of judgement and we will be contacting both organisations imminently to express our regret for this unfortunate incident.”
James Watt, cofounder at BrewDog commented:
“Diageo’s actions are shameless, misguided and embarrassing. This is clear evidence of the dirty tricks used by global corporations to derail young competitors they fear. We are often criticised for suggesting big businesses do not play fair in this industry, yet this is another clear indication that some organisations feel they are big enough to be kingmakers, controllers of everyone else’s fate. As a sponsor, Diageo had no right to interfere with the independent judging process, but they abused their position to make a small and stupid statement like this one.”
“Two days after the award, I took a phone call from Kenny Mitchell, Chairman of the BII and Award Committee. He told me directly; “We are all ashamed and embarrassed about what happened. The awards have to be an independent process and BrewDog were the clear winner. Diageo, the main sponsor, approached us at the start of the meal and said under no circumstances could the award be given to BrewDog. They said if this happened they would pull their sponsorship from all future BII events and their representatives would not present any of the awards on the evening. We were as gobsmacked as you by Diageo’s behaviour. We made the wrong decision under extreme pressure. We were blackmailed and bullied by Diageo. We should have stuck to our guns and gave the award to BrewDog.’
James Watt continued:
“I guess Diageo were hoping that the BII would not disclose their actions. We have never been afraid of these bullying tactics and we will continue to bring them to light whenever we encounter them. It will take more than changing the name on an award to stop the craft beer revolution.”
James Watt continued:
“Diageo will have to deal with their own stupidity and hopefully the media will take them to task. Once you cut through the glam veneer of pseudo corporate responsibility this incident shows them to be a band of dishonest hammerheads and dumb ass corporate freaks.
Perhaps more tellingly it is an unwitting microcosm for just how the beer industry is changing and just how scared and jealous the gimp-like establishment are of the craft beer revolutionaries.
They are a big company running scared of an industry that is changing. They are a laughable embarrassment.”
Download the full press release and high resolution images below.