Diageo Screw BrewDog Part II

Diageo Screw BrewDog Part II

The full story can be found here 

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.

j x

You can buy some BrewDog craft beer http://www.brewdog.com/shop or show support to the craft beer cause by visiting one of our bars this weekend. They are *almost* award winning. www.brewdog.com/bars


Share This
Marc 'Beer' irwin 14.05.2012 @ 5:19pm
Got the craft beer bug in Nevada. So happy to have an amazing quality much more local brew. I can only say well done for bringing a bloody bully to its knees. Keep it up dogs.
Biggins 14.05.2012 @ 1:08pm
Ireland here. Sorry that ye were treated so badly. I and many here in Ireland are disgusted that ye were treated like this. However the antics and attitude of Diageo is nothing new sadly.In the meantime, I too posted about their antics and your deserving of the award on my own blog (bigginsblog.wordpress.com) for folk here in Ireland and the world.I wish ye all the best for the future.
Johnno 14.05.2012 @ 10:03am
Look here for a list of strategic brands (not drinks, I note) that you may care to avoid: http://www.diageo.com/en-row/ourbrands/Pages/StrategicBrands.aspx
phanson 13.05.2012 @ 2:19pm
Has it been mentioned yet that Diageo are also sponsoring one of the SLTN awards this year? No prizes for guessing it's the one for 'Social Responsibility'!!
Stew'smum 13.05.2012 @ 1:49pm
OK you guys, what on earth have you done to merit not one word on this mega story in your LOCAL paper, the Press and Journal? The story was in every national newspaper, TV and radio stations yet nothing in the one paper sold in the north and north east. I would hazard a guess that had it been a negative report for BrewDog it would have made headlines! Any comments?
Grill & Grogg 13.05.2012 @ 1:11pm
This is makes me really angry and sad. You guys really knows what you are doing and I really think that you are one of the best brewers that I know of, and belive me, i tried many beers. I will contiune to support you and your hard work to make such good beers. Keep up the spirit. From a swedish beerlover.
jim b. 12.05.2012 @ 3:44am
Congratulations (from Canada) on your award - that you never got. I read a mention of this heavy handed crap on boingboing.We know beer here and if you've got the goods you can take pride in your product. Don't let the bstrds get you down!jim b.
Grum 11.05.2012 @ 11:33pm
Beers I wont be buying:Guinness, Kilkenny, harp, smithwicks (and being in Ireland, I’ll get plenty of chances to NOT buy these)Beers I will be buying – anything Brewdog (sadly, not much if that in Ireland, but I’m always on the look out – or the online shop).Just having a look on their (diageo’s) website to see what other drinks I’ll avoid – Damn it, no more Dom Perignon!
Simon I 11.05.2012 @ 4:46pm
F*ckers! just for that I'm going to buy more Brewdog beer!
ianprise 11.05.2012 @ 11:34am
@Discord, you could try Alice Porter, available in larger Tesco stores as a susbtitute, but if you do try drinking it you may decide that it is far too nice to merely bake with.
Mark Hislop 11.05.2012 @ 10:13am
Dear Mr Walsh (Diegeo CEO),I write to add my sadness and disappointment to the collective voices currently decrying your despicable and thuggish rigging of the recent Scottish BII awards. If you are unaware of the situation I would urge you to take a brief sabbatical from your daily racketeering and look at the worldwide trend on twitter currently covering the matter: #andthewinnerisnot , alternatively see the latest Wikipedia entry under your impressive controversies section. I’m sure you’ll share our disbelief at the astoundingly unethical behaviour of your Scottish counterparts. Their blackmailing and bullying led to a last minute change in award from our good selves at BrewDog to the equally baffled behind the wall of Falkirk, not due to lack of confidence on their part but the name BrewDog being proudly engraved on their trophy. It is only the gargantuan stupidity of this dirty little trick that outweighs the magnitude of the immorality. To think your company was willing to risk such a PR disaster and blow to an already shaky facade of respectability at the expense of our band of young upstarts was quite frankly flattering. As you may now have seen that misplaced sense of superiority has come back to bite you right in the behind leaving a nice wee BrewDog emblazoned set of teeth marks for you to remember us by. All the best,
Discord 11.05.2012 @ 12:07am
I'm not a beer drinker, but i do like to bake Chocolate Guinnes Cake. Does Brew Dog do a stout that I could replace it with?
about time too 10.05.2012 @ 10:17pm
They are bullies,its their way or no way,maybe they will take a look at themselves,nah they won't.Ask them about there no strike pay deal for their employees.Good for you Brewdog.
Karol 10.05.2012 @ 9:44pm
keep it brewing punks!
Daniel R 10.05.2012 @ 9:31pm
Brewdog rules! F#ck all Diageo products! The craft beer revolution has already started! Having experienced the American revolution first hand and now living in Scotland its an exciting time. Brewdog drinker from Inverness (Bar please :))
Ellie 10.05.2012 @ 9:09pm
Not that I ever bought Guinness anyway, cause it's horrible, but I'm never buying anything Diageo ever again. Viva la revolution.
mikeJ 10.05.2012 @ 8:03pm
how long before Diageo jump on the craft beer bandwagon themselves?if they market changes and there's an opportunity they'll try adn take it
ajbrokaw 10.05.2012 @ 8:01pm
We are Americans who enjoyed Brew Dog pub in Edinburgh last spring. We are now in Tartu, Estonia and just found and bought Brew Dog's Punk IPA at a local store. What a wonderful surprise!
WineHarlots 10.05.2012 @ 7:09pm
But you're Top Dog to us!
Nigellea 10.05.2012 @ 6:30pm
I 'almost' bought some Guinness from waitrose this afternoon, then chose the rightful winner and bought some hardcore IPA! Stick it diageo!
Yorky Bloke 10.05.2012 @ 5:42pm
Out of all the companies that Diageo could have chosen to pick a fight with...Great work in exposing them Brewdog!
Pete Howard, Nottm 10.05.2012 @ 5:35pm
James & Martin.Thanks for bringing this to mass attention. I haven't smiled so much on a (sober) Thursday afternoon for a long time.Keep it real !
Reidy@RZGroup 10.05.2012 @ 5:07pm
Well done Brewdog - Quite right to let them have it big time - Good on you !!!
Michael Richardson 10.05.2012 @ 4:50pm
You need to make up a poster for the bars"Almost award winning bar!!"maybe with a picture of a mid digit
MurderBeers 10.05.2012 @ 4:50pm
The current brewdog approach to diagio reminds me of Malcolm Tucker: 'You can't fuck me! I am unfuckable!'
Rob D 10.05.2012 @ 4:43pm
Great article!
Ed 10.05.2012 @ 4:41pm
Fucking awesome article
Cal 10.05.2012 @ 4:41pm
Keep doing what you do - the beer punters know what the real deal is & we're all supporting Brewdog all the way.
Briony G 10.05.2012 @ 4:37pm
"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."Rich indeed! I'm sure the BrewDog episode will be used in future case studies for such lectures. Will be interesting to see what happens next...