Diageo Screw BrewDog Part II
The full story can be found here http://www.brewdog.com/blog-article/diageo-v-brewdog
Yesterday, in a public apology, Diageo admitted blackmailing a charity to cheat BrewDog out of an award which we rightfully won.
Kenny Mitchell, Chairman of the BII stated:
'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'
We were as gobsmacked as you by Diageo’s behaviour. We made the wrong decision under extreme pressure. We should have stuck to our guns and gave the award to BrewDog.‘
Consequently there were some very sad BrewDog bar staff (see image below) and a huge media and online storm.
The outcry against the disgusting, arrogant and stupid actions of Diageo even led the incident to be a global trend on twitter. With our hashtag, #andthewinnerisnot the 4th most trending topic globally and it was posted about over half a million times.
We justifiably commented that this shocking incident, whereby Diageo blackmailed a charity to deny us an award we rightfully won, shows them to be a band of dishonest hammerheads and dumb ass corporate freaks. No soul and no morals, with the integrity of a rabid dog.
Diageo then issued the following statement:
“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.'
In a damage limitation attempt Diageo tried to pin the entire blame on what Pete Brown describes as a 'rogue element' before somewhat naively adding 'and we must take them at their word.' Many people commented that it was a smart PR move from them to perhaps try and attach it to a single, junior person at the award and try to distance themselves from the controversy.
Significantly Diageo were also at pains to stress the fact that this blackmailing and cheating incident 'does not reflect in anyway Diageo's corporate values and behaviour'.
However, when you dig a bit deeper facts emerge which cast a worring shadow over Diageo's glam veneer of corporate social responsibility which now looks to be nothing more than a cynical smoke and mirrors act.
Their statement begins to fall to pieces when you realise they had several senior representatives at the awards and it was perhaps the most senior of all who personally blackmailed the BII on the evening. This fact was issued to us by the BII directly.
The person in question was not a 'rogue element', far from it. Indeed as someone with almost 2 decades service with Diageo, with experience in several senior corporate responsibility roles they would appear to be a key cog in the Diageo senior management team.
We are not interested in leading a lamb to slaughter, we are not going to disclose names here. That is for Diageo or the BII to do. However we do think that the seniority of the individual at Diageo warranted highlighting and casts a very sinister light on the events of Sunday and on their corporate culture overall.
We think they are only sorry that they got caught this time.
It all paints a picture of a very corrupt and dishonest organisation. It is ironic that as the twitter storm over this incident yesterday was kicking off, Diageo’s Global CEO Paul Walsh was giving a lecture in Corporate Social Responsibility. The values they boldly present are not consistent with those being lived through their management and through their team. At the end of day, a company’s character and corporate DNA is a result of what it actually does, not what it says it is going to do. Of how it actually acts, not how it purports to act.
Although we can but speculate as to the reasons for the behaviour we can only assume that even a company as large as Diageo are scared at just how much the beer market is changing. People are now rejecting industrial, generic beers in favour of hand crafted artisanal beers all over the world. The craft beer revolution of America looks set to hit the UK, and it seems the incumbent players are going to use any means possible, including immoral and dishonest methods to stifle competition and desperately cling to market share.
We are now going to move on and forget about all this. We have far more important things to do, like finish building our new brewery and eat sandwiches. Someday we might actually get the award we fairly won. Maybe the Diageo CEO will hand deliver it to us as an apology. In the meantime we are going to kick back with a beer. It is hard to be a judas goat when you are drinking a Punk IPA.
Walk tall, kick ass and learn to speak craft beer.