I gather from this article that BrewDog are fairly miffed to have had their booking for a bar at the Great British Beer Festival cancelled by Camra despite contracts being signed and BrewDog paying the final deposit.
It seems, according to BrewDog, that the size of the kegs used by the company were no longer acceptable despite being previously agreed. BrewDog's, James Watt also states that Camra "reneged from our original agreement and insisted we take cask beer".
I'm only going on what James Watt and the BrewDog spin machine are saying but if it is correct, then it seems a very poor show by Camra.
Why enter into a contractual agreement in which both parties are clearly content with what's been decided if you are going to move the goalposts once the ink has dried and the cash has been paid?
I would like to hear what Camra Chair Colin Valentine has to say by way of justification. He was very quick to criticise the 'bloggerati' at the Camra AGM. Will he be as quick to explain, to Camra members like myself, why the organisation has decided to pull the plug on BrewDog?
In my view, this decision, if true, smacks of petty narrow minded beer fundamentalism with Camra more content to score some cheap points against BrewDog rather than honour the terms and conditions of the original contract. BrewDog and Camra have previous and each like nothing better than to rile and rub each other up the wrong way. So, it's not exactly a surprise that this has happened.
However, the manner in which BrewDog describe it as happening, post contract and exchange of deposit, draws me to the conclusion that this is could be an own goal by Camra that will end up hurting the Real Ale organisation more that it will hurt BrewDog.
Perhaps, Camra Chair, Colin Valentine and GBBF organiser, Marc Holmes would like to explain the decision. I'd like to hear Camra's version of events.
Footnote - Since writing this blog, Marc Holmes, The GBBF organiser for Camra has responded to James Watt's Blogpost on the BrewDog website.
Here's his response -
The reason Brewdog are not coming is that you didn’t pay the outstanding balance, as per the terms of the contract.
- The contract stated payment for the bar was due by May 27th. Giving you until July was very generous, nearly 7 weeks.
- The ultimatum was Thursday 12pm, you kept arguing and didn't agree until Friday 11am. Too late, we had programme deadlines to meet.
But to answer some of your other points:
- Right from the very start we said your beer must be supplied in large containers. We were happy with 50L kegs (as long as the beer contained live yeast) but you persisted in wanting to use 30L keykegs. Thornbridge did use 9G casks last year but it didn't work - they will be using 18G casks this year. We were looking at ordering in excess of 60 kils (equivalent) of beer, which is just not practical in 30L keykegs.
- You were the one that offered to supply cask beer in 18G casks.
Happy to start talking about GBBF 2012, and feel free to pop in this year to see how it works. I’ll even send you some tickets.
So BrewDog say they paid their final deposit, whereas Camra say that BrewDog didn't pay the outstanding amount and pulled the plug because of this.
Who is telling the truth? You can make up your own mind.