Guinness parent company commits harebrained PR blunder

Basically, it screwed a microbrewer in Scotland and, ultimately, apologized for it. This one is a head-slapper.

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Here’s the play-by-play (via the BrewDog blog):

Diageo, one of the world’s largest beverage companies and maker of Guinness stout, Captain Morgan rum, and several other popular and well-known liquor brands, sponsored an awards event for retailers in Scotland on May 6.

BrewDog, a small microbrewery in Scotland, learned in advance of the awards ceremony that it had won the flagship award, “Bar Operator of the Year,” for its innovative beer marketing and use of social media.

Now to the event: The winner of the “Bar Operator of the Year” award goes to … Diageo?

Yes, Diageo—the sponsor of the event—was announced as the winner. Representatives from the company refused to accept the honor because BrewDog’s name was already etched on the trophy.

So, what happened?

When Diageo learned BrewDog had won the award, it told the event coordinators that if they gave the small brewer the honor, it would pull its sponsorship from the event.

The coordinators caved to the demands.

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