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Drinking at London 2012 will feel less 'British'

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Adrian Warner | 11:55 UK time, Thursday, 3 February 2011

Glasses of beer. Getty Images

Fuller's, who make the beer "London Pride" have told me they are "disappointed" that 2012 chiefs have decided not to use a British brewery as an official sponsor.

The Dutch beer Heineken has been appointed as the official supplier for the Games today and it will have exclusive "pouring" rights to bars at Olympic venues.

"Regardless of the decision LOCOG make, London Pride IS the beer of London and everyone at our brewery in Chiswick, West London, is looking forward to welcoming the world to our home city in 2012," Fuller's managing director John Roberts said ahead of the official announcement.

You could argue that the Games could have given a smaller, British brewery the chance to improve their branding worldwide. But 2012 also have to make their money from sponsorship so you can understand why they would go for a bigger international company.

But I have to admit that I would love to have had the opportunity to be drinking English ales at the Games - maybe ordering a pint of "2012" or a couple of "Old Olympians" at the end of a long day. That would have been so British.

And it would have given the Games a really British feel. Now the Olympic bars are going to feel like any other sports event in the world.

But I will definitely have a drink in the Olympic Park in 2012, largely because one of the bars at the media centre will be named after my former boss and dear colleague Steve Parry.

Steve, the ex-sports editor of Reuters who worked on London's bid for the Games, knew more about the Olympic movement than any other journalist I've met. He died suddenly during the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the Olympic journalistic world misses his wisdom.

BBC London 2012


  • Comment number 1.

    Why not have an official lager of the games and an official ale? Problem solved. :-)

  • Comment number 2.

    Yes, it's a great pity that Fullers couldn't be a part of the London Games 2012...perhaps even along side Heineken. But it's always the same at big game events. I was lucky enough to go to the Barcelona Olympics and was amazed to see all the food you could eat was MacDonalds...somehow I hoped something Catalan/Castillian would make a presence.
    It's all about money and we're lucky enough that these sponsers are helping so much with financing the games, but couldn't they just have one tent or so with traditional fayre from the host country?

  • Comment number 3.

    Heineken *beer* did not become a sponsor of London2012, Heineken UK as a company did. Which means that not only Heineken beer, but also a whole score of other brands (a lot from former Scottish & Newcastle), most of which are produced in UK, will be represented.

    Also, it is not reasonable to expect a medium-sized brewer to be able to pull off the kind of sponsorship participation large companies can... It's just financially impossible. And a sponsor of something so large as London2012 has to cover very large demand, but also entertain on a respectable level...

  • Comment number 4.

    Life is a lot more complicated in this world, I'm afraid. Heineken UK, which took over Scottish and Newcastle, has other British brands such as John Smith, Bulmers, Strongbow, and Newcastle Brown Ale which will be available but it won't be possible for Fuller's or other British brewers to sell their beers on Olympic soil.
    Other breweries will not be allowed to associate themselves with the Games but there is nothing to stop the pub over the road from an Olympic venue selling what they like.

  • Comment number 5.

    Funnily enough, Heineken UK co-owns the Courage brand, which is just as associated with London as Fullers will ever be. Geertcha!

  • Comment number 6.

    Perhaps people will wake up and realise that actually the Olympics is all about big business, global sponsorship and brands and is has lost sight of the concept of "sportmanship". Listen to what Martin Sorrell of WPP says about Olympic events and how it stimulates the global advertising economy. Look at the monopoly stranglehold that VISA have exerted on ticket sales and purchases on the Olympic site. How about asking some questions about JetSet Sports and how they always get the corporate hospitality contract. This beer contract is just another example of how big business runs the olympics.

  • Comment number 7.

    What I cannot understand is how olympics can have alcohol brand as sponsor. No one can be ignorant of it's damage to society and health. Why not have a Official Cigarette as well?

  • Comment number 8.

    I know it's business and there are benefits but it just seems that the world is being devoured by huge organisations. It's about time there was more variety and less aggressive competition.
    Sick to death of money being all that matters in this world. It's a rubbish world when all we see are huge moneyed companies taking everything over....Capitalism....rein it in....
    Lets celebrate variety.


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