It takes some work for the British bar awards to become interesting to anyone other than British barmen. So credit distillery giants Diageo for doing something ham-handedly horrible enough to get the world’s attention.
Diageo, owners of Guinness, Johnnie Walker and other big label liquor names, used their influence to quash a top prize for a tiny rival at the British Institute of Innkeeping’s annual award ceremony last Sunday. After learning that an independent Scottish brewer was set to win Bar Operator of the Year, Diageo officials became incensed. They threatened to pull all sponsorship from the evening if one of their own bars didn’t take home the award, according to various reports.
Unfortunately, the name of the original winner—craft brewers BrewDog—had already been carved onto the trophy and when the replacement winner was announced, the victors refused to accept the prize. BrewDog, meanwhile, launched a social media campaign aimed at humiliating Daigeo for its actions. On Wednesday, the larger company backed down, issuing an “unreserved” apology to BrewDog and the BII.