10 May 2012

David beats Goliath as Brewdog forces Diageo apology

Independent brewers Brewdog turns a set-back into a PR triumph after the their rival – the giant drinks group Diageo – apologises for trying to stop them winning an award.

David beats Goliath as Brewdog forces Diageo apology

Small independent Scottish brewer Brewdog was looking forward to a little PR boost this week when they expected to win ‘bar operator of the year’ at the British institute of Innkeeping awards. They had every right to be confident – their name was already engraved on the trophy.

So how come they left the ceremony empty handed? And how did NOT winning turn into PR triumph?

At the last minute the award ceremonies organisers were apparently told by the event sponsors Diageo that “under no circumstances” were Brewdog to win the award. It was offered to another bar instead but they refused to accept it.

It can’t have been long after that Diageo began to realise that they had made a serious mistake.

They might own Smirnoff, Guinness and Johnny Walker but they are no match for the Scottish boys who invaded North London in an armoured tank when they opened their first bar in England – a bar which doesn’t sell any Diageo products.

Using the hashtag #AndTheWinnerIsNot, Brewdog fans took to Twitter and made sure the story quickly exploded.

Monty Munford tweeted “Drinks giant Diageo in stunningly stupid effort to step on the (brilliant) Brewdog.

Rich said “Diageo produce bitter -and not just drink”

Once the row started trending Diageo were forced to issue an apology: A Diageo spokesman said there was “a serious misjudgement” by staff at the awards dinner. He added: “We would like to apologise unreservedly to BrewDog and to the British Institute of Innkeeping for this error of judgment.”

by the end of Thursday, Brewdog itself was tweeting “We need a drink.”

David beats Goliath as Brewdog forces Diageo apology

This brew-ha-ha became a live issue because Diageo had picked on the wrong guys. Their website declares “We are proud to be an intrepid David in an ocean of insipid Goliaths”.

Brewdog have made their name with innovative and controversial marketing ploys. These are the people who sell Tactical Nuclear Penguin beer which, at 32 per cent proof, claims to be “The worlds strongest beer, ever (yes ever)”. And they are the people who sold their End of History beer inside dead squirrels and stoats provoking a worldwide reaction.

And now they are the people who took on one the drinks industry giants and won. Priceless good publicity for the under-dog.