In spite of being the clear winner of BII's ‘Bar Operator of the Year’ award and even having their name on the trophy, the Brew Dog brewpub was passed over for the award as a direct result of pressure from Diageo.
An apology from Diageo is expected. This plus the NOM 186 controversy seem to be adding up to, at the very least, a really bad week for "the big galoot".On Tuesday, 2 days after the award, I (James) took a phone call from Kenny Mitchell, Chairman of the BII in Scotland and Chairman of the Award Committee explaining the situation. To directly quote Kenny:
‘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 and their representatives would not present any of the awards on the evening.’
We were as gobsmacked as you by Diageo’s behaviour. We made the wrong decision under extreme pressure. We were blackmailed and bullied by Diageo. We should have stuck to our guns and gave the award to BrewDog.
We would like to thank Kenny Mitchell and the BII for their refreshing honesty here and for initially giving the award to BrewDog before their overbearing and blackmailing sponsor undermined the independent judging process completely by bullying them at the last minute to deny BrewDog of an award they rightfully won.