Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Diageo, BrewDog & the BII

No doubt you've heard about the ill-fated decision that the British Institute of Innkeeping took to listen to a representative from Diageo and stop a (supposedly) independent award that BrewDog had won being given to them.

It's only speculation on my part but I wonder if someone from Diageo felt some sort of misplaced sense of responsibility towards the Portman group, who set themselves up as industry regulators? In the past, BrewDog have hardly seen eye to eye with them after all.  Was all this, as Phil Mellows suggested on Twitter, because of someone 'trying to be socially responsible'? Which I guess can happen if you are both poacher and gamekeeper.

Thinking about the decision to respond to Diageo's threat. Why did someone from Diageo know that BrewDog were going to be given the award? Is it normal practice to inform the corporate sponsors of the winner before the award is given? How did the BII expect to get away with changing their minds at the last minute if the trophy was already engraved? And just how independent can industry awards be if their sponsorship is derived from within the same industry?

Not even Diageo beers!
Anyway, here's Diageo's official apology. It might well be that that represents an end to proceedings as far as they're concerned. A low profile will probably kept while all the inevitable hubub from BrewDog fans dies down. I still think that the BII Scotland, however quick they were to apologise (rightly) to BrewDog, still have some questions to answer.

It was certainly an interesting afternoon watching the whole saga unfold. If you want to read more here are stories from The Morning Advertiser, Caterer and Hotelkeeper, and some interesting analysis of the (rather brilliantly devised bit of PR) that was the  #AndTheWinnerIsNot Twitter hashtag from Andy at Graphed Beer.


  1. Of all the people you could do something like that to they go and choose to do it to the social media kings of the beer world. It all reads like something out of a crappy trashy novel - much madness

    1. Oddly enough it might actually work out in the BII's favour that it happened to someone as noisy/PR & social media savvy as BrewDog, someone whose natural reaction is to go for Diageo's (rather than the BII's) throat. Another brewer might well not have accepted the BII's apology and the headline could quite easily have read 'BII screws...'

  2. Pete Brown's raised some valid points about corporate influence over on his blog too, good food for thought (as ever from the master!):