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The problem was that sales of the more bitter bottled stuff kept dropping.  Consumer tastes change and Guinness had to adapt somewhat to survive as a mainstream brand. But you are right that when Guinness became Diageo it became a marketing rather than a production company.  The corporate motto was "a drink for every occasion", and to that end a number of champagne, wine and spirits brands (and companies) were purchased to fill out the portfolio.  But they never purchased a major lager brand to replace Harp which indicated that they didn't really see beer as part of their core business.  

I once asked the Global Corporate MD whether they were going to buy a lager brand.  His response was that they might buy a lager brand if they didn't have to buy the Breweries as well. The Marketing suits in London didn't understand and didn't want the complications of actually running a brewery.  Guinness was strictly a legacy brand to be automated as much as possible.  Production was a non-core activity to be outsourced wherever possible. Diageo is a brand management business.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jul 26th, 2016 at 01:20:53 PM EST
[ Parent ]
tbh, brand management is what most corporates are about. Very few international brand beers bear much resemblance to their origins.

I never bought the idea that bottled Guinness had to be eliminated from the portfolio. Many corporate brands incorporate niche products which boost the credibility of the brand without interfering with the overall marketing process.

Diageo tried to pretend that it was a small conern wich diverted resources, except it couldn't have done. It may have represented a fraction of the output (3 - 4% as I remember) but, iven the volume of Guinness, that would small percentage would have kept a small brewery and bottling line running very happily.

But, as you say, it came at a time when they were trying to get out of the grubby business of making beer entirely, so it probably felt like a first step on a road to that goal.

And given that they're now trying to re-invent themselves as a craft provider, they could try re-making the actual good stuff

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jul 26th, 2016 at 01:44:26 PM EST
[ Parent ]
There's still quite a range of bottled Guinness beers available in various markets so it was never eliminated completely.  I quite like the foreign export stuff which has much higher ABV. Lots of variants were tried over the years but few reached sufficient volume to be economic. By definition, a craft beer needs to be brewed in a micro brewery, and that simply wasn't the Diageo business model although  I'm not in touch with current thinking on the subject.

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by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Tue Jul 26th, 2016 at 02:08:06 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Oh yes, lots of different variants, but the actual bottled guinness with the sediment, a real ale in a bottle, which was their best beer is the one I mean.

All of the other commercial knock-offs were of no particular value to a beer drinker cos they were all much the same thing. Even the Nigerian Guinness isn't as -cough- distinctive as it used to be.

There's no definition of a craft beer (a major weakness in the whole idea), so it doesn't need to be in a micro-brewery. A small corner of St James would have done fine. And 3% of Guinness output is only small potatoes if you compare it with the rest of Guinness, to any other brewery that's a career.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Tue Jul 26th, 2016 at 02:22:32 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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