At the awards ceremony on 6 May, BrewDog claims that Diageo forced the BII to change the decision made by judges at the last minute.
The award was given to another company which refused to accept it as it had ‘BrewDog’ engraved on the trophy as the winner.
James Watt, co-founder at BrewDog, said: “Diageo’s actions are shameless, misguided and embarrassing. This is clear evidence of the dirty tricks used by global corporations to derail young competitors they fear.
“We are often criticised for suggesting big businesses do not play fair in this industry, yet this is another clear indication that some organisations feel they are big enough to be kingmakers, controllers of everyone else’s fate. As a sponsor, Diageo had no right to interfere with the independent judging process, but they abused their position to make a small and stupid statement like this one.”
He added: “Diageo will have to deal with their own stupidity and hopefully the media will take them to task. Once you cut through the glam veneer of pseudo corporate responsibility this incident shows them to be a band of dishonest hammerheads and dumb ass corporate freaks.”
BrewDog plans to use its significant online influence to urge craft beer fans to make their views clear to Diageo, asking its thousands of followers to tweet Diageo’s profiles their messages of complaint using the hashtag #andthewinnerisnot.
A Diageo 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 any way 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.”