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.
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.