I know it is HARD to believe, but BrewDog is in the middle of a Media Kerfuffle. I know…what are the odds…right? Well to set it up properly, BrewDog has been doing some pretty wonderful things to change the beer culture in their native Scotland. They have introduced the Brew Pub in a totally unique and different way in their country and the people have responded very favorably. This is a good thing for Scotland, and a good thing for craft beer in Europe, because they have set a new standard for what a good comfortable responsible drinking establishment ought to be. Something sorely needed in their corner of the world. Nice.
Well the BII which I have no idea what that stands for, but it is a little like our Brewers Association here in the States and their mission is to raise standards in licensed retail. They had an award banquet and BrewDog was supposed to win the coveted “Bar Operator of the Year Award.” And by all accounts they deserved it. Is a matter of fact their name was already engraved on the trophy for the award, which by the way was refused by the winner they called because it had BrewDog’s name on it. Yeah…that’s a cluster.
Seems these awards were cosponsored by business partner Diageo. Diageo is a multinational conglomerate that is everything spirits related. A representative from Diageo told the BII awards people that if BrewDog won any awards that night, they would pull all their corporate sponsorship from BII forever. Evidently that was enough of a threat for the BII folks to attempt to change the award “on the fly” and give it to the runner up. Problem was…oh yeah, the trophy thing.
Diageo has since come out and apologized, and said they didn’t mean it, and that isn’t how they do business and they were just misrepresented. Blah Blah Blah.
Here is my take on the thing. Diageo is a huge corporation, and the left hand doesn’t always know what the right is doing. BrewDog was supposed to win this award, obviously. (My hypothesis starts here) The rep that was in the audience from Diageo was disgusted with BrewDog’s “marketing” tactics. They make fun of the royals, they deride their competitors, and do all this in a very mocking and public way. We all know this. Ahem…Dead Squirrel Beer. So this rep took matters into their own hands and made the threat to the BII folks, who were like “duh, what do we do now”…. They stupidly changed the award. And BrewDog was denied the award they had won based on the judges votes.
It is all explained here. http://www.brewdog.com/blog-article/diageo-v-brewdog
The BrewDog version of things goes on to say that this is corporate spirits afraid of craft beer and that they have set up this David and Goliath scenario. Methinks however that they don’t take responsibility for how their own actions came into play here. They won the award, fact. They were denied said award, fact. Threats were made by Diageo rep, fact. However why was that threat made in the first place? Maybe if they weren’t such buttheads about their marketing of their stunt beers, they wouldn’t be seen as bad ambassadors of the award in the first place.
My Grandfather used to say that they burned their ass and now they are upset because they have to sit on a blister. My thought: It is a relatively sad set of circumstances that brought us to this point, but blame rests with all parties, Diageo, BII, and BrewDog.
Let us know what you think in the comments.