GLASGOW—Those who refuse to believe actual super-villains exist need no look no further than the recent British Institute of Innkeeping (BII) awards in Glasgow. Upon learning that the prestigious Bar Operator of the Year award was going to Brew Dog, an upstart bar/brewery that Diageo (the world’s largest distiller) does not care for, a Diageo exec called over the BII organizers and threatened to pull all future sponsorship of the event. The organizers cravenly capitulated.
Then the trouble began. First, the judges who had decided the award happened to be in the crowd and commenced to raise a ruckus. Then the runner-up refused to accept the award because BrewDog’s name was already etched in the brass. Then the social media, especially Twitter, got hold of the scandal and the roof blew off.
The following day, the aforementioned craven BII organizers came clean and apologized, either because they had discovered upon further examination they did indeed possess spines, or because the cat was irretrievably out of the bag and they had no choice but to confess. Then Diageo, amidst threats of a growing boycott, also issued a humiliatingapology.
BrewDog, for their part, posted a rather brilliant Hunter Thompsonesque screed on their web site. In part:
As for Diageo, once you cut through the glam veneer of pseudo corporate responsibility, this incident 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 and the style of a wart hog.
Perhaps more tellingly it is an unwitting microcosm for just how the beer industry is changing and just how scared and jealous the gimp-like establishment are of the craft beer revolutionaries.
Diageo is the holding company of Guinness, Harp, Captain Morgan, Johnny Walker, Smirnoff, Bushmills, Crown Royal and about 50 other alcohol concerns.