Blog: Olympic goodwill spreads, but not for Heineken

James Wilmore | 30 July 2012

Olympic fever has well and truly arrived here in the UK. Even our normally cynical national newspapers displayed a clean sweep of positive coverage on day one

But one company probably hoping this goodwill extends to the coporate sponsors is Heineken. The Dutch brewer has had a rough ride in the build-up. First it was the target of negative coverage for the price of a pint that Olympic spectators will face at events. 

And more recently, it's come in for stick from Lib Dem MP, Greg Mulholland, for being a "mass produced non-British beer", when beer is the UK's national drink.

The choice of Heineken as the official Olympic beer is "a wholly inappropriate decision based purely on the size of Heineken's cheque book", Mulholland argued in a parliamentary motion tabled earlier this month

Only 13 MPs have bothered to sign the motion. But the point was made and the story was even picked up by US media. The brewer probably wasn't too amused by the reaction on Twitter either. 

Another strand to this story is that Heineken will be serving some good-old British ale at Lord's. It just won't be shouting about the fact. John's Smith's will be displayed as "ale", while Strongow will appear as "cider", at the home of English cricket's bars. 

All other packaged drinks will be dispensed into a generic London 2012 glass, a Heineken spokesperson has told me. 

I, for one, am a bit sad that Britain's wonderful brewers will not be getting a look in at Olympic venues. It seems particularly ironic when the Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) is holding its annual beerathon - the Great British Beer Festival - in London during the games. 

I guess that Bath Ales' Gem will taste extra special at home, as I watch the action unfold. 



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