The Beer Interwebz are alight with the reaction to the news today that BrewDog's proposed Brewery Bar at this year's GBBF has fallen through.
It would appear that a revised final payment deadline for the pitch was approaching, and meantime BrewDog and GBBF organisers, led by Marc 'Goliath' Holmes, were still negotiating over the size of containers and the dispense. The BrewDog blog has the full chronology set out by James, while the comments contain responses to some of the points by Marc Holmes.
It seems that BD were prepared to concede that they could not have their beer in 30 litre 'key kegs' (lined kegs which mean the beer does not come into contact with any 'extraneous gas'), instead 'reluctantly agreeing' to supply beer in 18 gallon casks.
What does seem to be a matter of confusion is the revised deadline for the final payment. BrewDog says they had 'til last Friday per an email from Marc, but the plug was pulled the day before. This hasn't been rebutted convincingly by Marc and Camra. Cue uproar with the Brewdoggies spitting venom over Marc and some Camra stooge called Graeme Gander, and a general monstering of Camra.
A couple of points occur: I believe the Camra Technical Advisory people are now looking at Key kegs, and that some will be set up on the staff bar at GBBF as part of a trial. Further, some of the Czech beers on GBBF are apparently being supplied in key kegs. BrewDog said they were told there would be a lab at Earl's Court . Sounds odd, but perhaps they're monitoring this trial anyway. Marc says it's the container size (BrewDog wanted to use 30 litre kegs, not 50's, before Camra allegedly moved the requirement to kilderkins).
But, Marc says BrewDog was too late. It does sound odd that there was a dialogue all the way along the process which seems to have lapsed right at the point BrewDog were paying their final fees. Indeed, if what BrewDog says is correct, Camra might have pulled the plug ahead of the deadline.
I don't suppose it will be the end of the world for a business that thrives on conflict and tension in order to generate publicity, but it does seem to put Camra on the spot. You would forgive the latter for being cagey about BrewDog given their previous in supplying Camra fests, and they may even be in the right on a technicality, but it does seem a bit fogeyish and prissy to have agreed a deadline extension to a few weeks before the event, then pulled the plug. I wouldn't know if there were people heading to GBBF this year just for the BrewDog bar, but it did signal that Camra's GBBF Committee at least, were keeping an open mind about building a relationship with a brash and outspoken brewery.
Tom Stainer, editor of Camra's What's Brewing and Beer magazine, has tweeted to caution about knee-jerk reactions to this story, but it does seem that Camra need to get their side out quickly and credibly, or take a slagging off.