Drinks giant Diageo has apologised "unreservedly" to BrewDog after it was accused of 'blackmailing' the Scottish brewery out of a drinks industry award.
Aberdeen-based BrewDog had earlier today posted an explosive blog - Diageo Screws BrewDog - which implied that Diageo had abused its power as a sponsor of the British Institute of Inkeeping ceremony to cheat Brewdog out of an award.
Despite BrewDog's name being engraved on the winner's trophy in the 'Bar Operator of the Year' category, the company was not announced as the winner of the award.
A bewildered BrewDog wrote on its blog: "This disappointment was further compounded when one of the judges (seated at our table) told us in disbelief ‘this simply cannot be, the independent judging panel voted for BrewDog as clear winners of the award’."
The remarkable blog post then quotes Kenny Mitchell, chairman of the award committee, as saying: "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."
BrewDog exposed the injustice on Twitter using the hashtag #AndTheWinnerIsNot, which has since gone on to trend worldwide.
Having been swamped by criticism on its official Twitter account, Diageo has now released a statement apologising for the blunder.
A spokesperson said: “There was a serious misjudgement by Diageo staff at the awards dinner on Sunday evening in relation to the Bar Operator of the Year Award, which does not reflect in anyway Diageo’s corporate values and behaviour.
“We would like to apologise unreservedly to BrewDog and to the British Institute of Innkeeping for this error of judgement and we will be contacting both organisations imminently to express our regret for this unfortunate incident.”