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Diageo begs BrewDog to stop “witch hunt”

Diageo country director Andrew Cowan has taken to twitter to stop BrewDog’s perceived witch hunt of one of their members after the British Institute of Innkeeping Scotland’s awards scandal.

Cowan tweeted at James Watt, co-founder of BrewDog, revealing the two parties have been in contact over the phone, with the Diageo director adding: “Please don’t witch-hunt one of our people because they made a mistake.”

Last week the Scottish craft beer company claimed that Diageo allegedly abused its position as the principle sponsor for the BII Scotland’s annual awards to strip selected winners BrewDog of the title, “Bar Operator of the Year 2012″.

Using the Diageo_News twitter handle Cowan started the social media message with, “Hi, James. Andrew Cowan here. I run Diageo GB. As I said on the phone to you yesterday and again today, we are very sorry…”

He continued onto another tweet, “and we’re taking it v seriously. But please don’t witch-hunt one of our people because they made a mistake. AC”

It is thought the response came after BrewDog posted an updated on their blog in which they claim that the Diageo representative responsible for allegedly changing the result of an award, is a senior member of the Diageo team.

BrewDog wrote: “Their (Diageo) statement begins to fall to pieces when you realise they had several senior representatives at the awards and it was perhaps the most senior of all who personally blackmailed the BII on the evening. This fact was issued to us by the BII directly.

“The person in question was not a ‘rogue element’, far from it. Indeed as someone with almost two decades service with Diageo, with experience in several senior corporate responsibility roles they would appear to be a key cog in the Diageo senior management team.

“We are not interested in leading a lamb to slaughter, we are not going to disclose names here. That is for Diageo or the BII to do.

“However we do think that the seniority of the individual at Diageo warranted highlighting…”

Watt also tweeted on Thursday: “We have info from the BII that the person who blackmailed them into cheating us out of our award them was a VERY senior Diageo team member.”

In terms of a response from the BII, Peter Thomas the chief executive took to Radio 4 to address the issue.

“This is a regrettable and isolated mistake. I am pleased that my colleagues acted quickly to address this situation. We have never had this sort of issue before and will be ensuring that this never happens again,” Thomas said on Radio 4’s “You and Yours” programme.

“It is crucial that awards of this kind are entirely independent, transparent and above question. Therefore, we will be reviewing exactly what happened, and we will ensure that our usual rigour and high standards will operate in the future. The judging process must be clear, straightforward and understood by all concerned.”

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