A small Scottish beer company BrewDog has used Twitter to shame Diageo into a public apology after exposing the global drinks giant for using “dirty tricks” to manipulate the results of an awards ceremony.
The controversy occurred at a dinner in Glasgow last Sunday organised by the British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) Scotland, a trade body representing pubs, restaurants and other licensed venues.
BrewDog, which owns seven pubs including a venue in Camden, north London, had been ordained “Bar Operator of the Year” by a panel of independent judges. But minutes before the award was due to be handed over, the winner was suddenly swapped to another company on the shortlist.
Apparently the trophy had already been engraved with BrewDog’s name and judges were shocked when another bar, Behind the Wall in Falkirk, was announced the winner of the category.
A representative from Diageo was allegedly overheard threatening to withdraw the drinks giants’ sponsorship from future BII awards if BrewDog was declared the winner.
Diageo subsequently said in a statement: “There was a serious misjudgment 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 any way 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 judgment and we will be contacting both organisations imminently to express our regret for this unfortunate incident.”
James Watt, who founded BrewDog in 2007 with his friend Martin Dickie when they were both just 24 years old, said Diageo’s actions were “shockingly dishonest and unethical”.
Mr Watt, now 29, said: “This is another clear indication that some organisations feel they are big enough to be kingmakers, controllers of everyone else’s fate.”
BrewDog’s aggressive fighback against a much larger competitor proves that the internet- and Twitter is particular are a very effective way of winning one’s battle against adversity.