What do you get when you're a hugely successful independent brewer headed to an awards show you're expected to win at?
Well, if the awards show was partly sponsored by Diageo, the largest distiller in the world, the answer is "not the trophy you actually won."
The people behind BrewDog are Scottish craft beermakers who are so popular that they crowdsourced £2 million ($3.23 million) from individual fans of their beer in order to finance their brewery's expansion. They were expected to win first prize at the British Institute of Innkeeping's annual awards dinner, except that Diageo staff approached the event's organizers and threatened to yank their funding of the dinner if BrewDog won.
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BrewDog wrote a hell of a response on their blog, and predictably--craft beer drinkers being a very social, well-connected lot--Twitter exploded with anger at Diageo's behavior, with people posting under the hashtag #AndTheWinnerIsNot and threatening worldwide boycotts of Diageo's extensive range of products (everything from Guinness to Ketel One Vodka, from Dom Perignon to José Cuervo).
Diageo has since apologized "unreservedly" to both BrewDog and the British Institute of Innkeeping, as the horrific spectacle of this public relations disaster has dawned slowly on their executives. Expect sales of BrewDog to skyrocket.
Hat tip to local alcohol maven Forrest Cokely for the heads-up. You can strike a blow against Diageo and buy BrewDog Punk IPA at Hi-Time Wines, located at 250 Ogle St. in Costa Mesa.