An update to the story, from Diageo Corporate Offices: “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.”
Our friends over at BrewDog of Scotland are in the news again, this time, sharing a not so pleasant experience from this past weekend. The gist of the story is Diageo , one of the largest spirit and beer (Guinness/Bass,etc) players in the United Kingdom strong armed the BII into not letting BrewDog win any retail awards. Anyway, this isn’t the first time dirty tricks have gone down in this industry, and it won’t be the last. Here’s an excerpt from BrewDog’s blog.
The 2012 BII Scotland Annual Awards: Celebrating success in the license trade in Scotland. BII are an organisation (www.bii.org) whose mission is to raise standards in licensed retail. The awards on Sunday 6th May were a huge glitzy affair held at the Grand Central Hotel in Glasgow.
Kerry, Mark, Neil S and Neil T attended the award ceremony. We had heard that BrewDog were expected to do quite well in the ‘Bar Operator of the Year’ category and the members of the bar team were suitable excited to see if our hard work would be recognised by this most prestigious and illustrious award.
However we were not announced as winners of the award. This disappointment was further compounded when one of the judges (seated at our table) told us in disbelief ‘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 who got given the award refused to accept it as it clearly had ‘BrewDog’ engraved on the trophy as winners.
On Tuesday, 2 days after the award, I (James) took a phone call from Kenny Mitchell, Chairman of the BII in Scotland and Chairman of the Award Committee explaining the situation. To directly quote Kenny:
‘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.‘