Guinness's Dropping Sales in Ireland

One bourbon, one scotch, one beer! Talk about brews you've liked or disliked here.

Moderators: Brewer, brendaj

Unread postby bourbonv » Wed Aug 30, 2006 10:54 am

Gary,
The bourbon industry is an interesting example but I think you are comparing apples to oranges here. The brewing industry does not have to wait years for their product to come out and as a result they are deeper into the instant gratification of the stockholders trap. They also produce more beer in one day than the whiskey industry does in a month or more. A consumer will go through a six pack of beer in one football game whereas a bottle of bourbon may take weeks to drink. The cultures of the industry is very different from the distilling industry where it takes years to make a product for sale.

Stockholders still put pressure on the distilleries for profits but there is not the same type of pressure. It is also interesting that the distilleries that are most invatitve are the ones with the less public control. Brown-Forman is controled by the Brown family even though there is public stock. Buffalo Trace is not controlled by the stockholders as is Heaven Hill. Jim Beam and Barton have made entries into the super premimium market, but that was mostly because they did not want to be left behind. How long has it been since Beam did something innovative? Barton's 1792 immediately got into trouble because they mostly tried to ride the coattails of success of Woodford Reserve and all of the other "Reserve" Brands that popped up immediately after L&G opened and made waves. (Since Woodford Reserve appeared on the market we have had Jefferson Reserve, Russell Reserve, Ridge(wood)mont Reserve, Thedford Reserve and probably a few others I am not thinking of now.)

What the world needs now is more small family owned distilleries and breweries. Then we would have regional products that have unique tastes.
Mike Veach
"Our people live almost exclusively on whiskey" - E H Taylor, Jr. 25 April 1873
User avatar
bourbonv
Registered User
 
Posts: 4064
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2004 7:17 pm
Location: Louisville, Ky.

Unread postby Mike » Wed Aug 30, 2006 2:16 pm

I don't know what the actual numbers are, but I bet the well known brands of bourbon outsell the 'premium' and SB's (Single Barrel and Small Batch) by a considerable amount. I am completely astounded by the amount of JD Black and Beam White that is stocked in most liquor stores!

But the big guys are a mite fearful of missing out on a sea change as occurred in the Scotch world and has been occurring in the bourbon world too.

For prestige alone, (which in the beer world drove A-B to market 'craft' beers) they must have these more costly bourbons in their stable. It seems some of the distillers do have a genuine interest in producing top notch stuff. I think Buffalo Trace certainly does, and to all outside appearances, so do Four Roses, Brown-Foreman, and others. From where I sit, Beam and WT are slipping a bit, but you guys know better than I about this. Still, as I think Gary is suggesting, all is not lost to the bean counters and hype masters in the bourbon world.

As to beer, I know and have known many, many, beer drinkers who simply don't like or won't try 'dark' or 'heavy' beer, period! They want the light crap!! Seems the incentive for A-H to produce high quality beer is not there..........yet.

Who knows, like Forest Gump's momma famously said, 'Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get!' Maybe A-H, Millers, Coors and the others will make a really good beer one day!
Last edited by Mike on Wed Aug 30, 2006 2:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. - Dylan Thomas
Mike
Registered User
 
Posts: 2106
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 5:36 pm
Location: Conyers, GA

Unread postby bourbonv » Wed Aug 30, 2006 2:24 pm

Mike,
I will be most impressed when Jim Beam white or Jack Daniel's is being made to an improved quality with lower barrel proofs and higher flavors. I know that it will never happen, but that is what would impress me the most. In the 1950's these brands did taste better for these same reasons plus some extra time in the warehouses.
Mike Veach
"Our people live almost exclusively on whiskey" - E H Taylor, Jr. 25 April 1873
User avatar
bourbonv
Registered User
 
Posts: 4064
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2004 7:17 pm
Location: Louisville, Ky.

Unread postby Mike » Wed Aug 30, 2006 2:32 pm

bourbonv wrote:Mike,
I will be most impressed when Jim Beam white or Jack Daniel's is being made to an improved quality with lower barrel proofs and higher flavors. I know that it will never happen, but that is what would impress me the most. In the 1950's these brands did taste better for these same reasons plus some extra time in the warehouses.


I'LL DRINK TO THAT............and whatever else we can think of!!

Sa-Loot!!!
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. - Dylan Thomas
Mike
Registered User
 
Posts: 2106
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 5:36 pm
Location: Conyers, GA

Unread postby gillmang » Wed Aug 30, 2006 8:53 pm

You are all making good points. I don't claim the industries are identical.

But I come back to this: could the bourbon makers be closer to the source of their product than the beer makers? I think they are, even for the publicly held ones. Why? The regional nature of the industry and the fact that (what comes to the same thing) families are still influential in either distilling or owning in many of the companies.

But the beer makers need to wake up. Craft and import beer are rising steadily in popularity; bland mass market beer is going in the other direction.


Gary
User avatar
gillmang
Vatman
 
Posts: 2137
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2005 4:44 pm

Unread postby Brewer » Thu Aug 31, 2006 6:02 am

Mike wrote:But, let us thank our lucky stars that there are some rebels out there who said, in effect, like Brewer and me, I won't drink that lousy stuff. We were willing to put our money where our mouth was and buy the richer and more tasty products made by brewers such as Anchor Brewing, Sierra Nevada, and a whole host of otheres. There have been enough of us to create a respectable demand.


Mike,

I love it...We're now gonna be known (in my book anyway) as the "Rebel Beer Brothers"! 8-) :beer: :drink: :cheers: :partyman:

LIFE'S TOO SHORT TO DRINK SHITTY BEER!!!!!
Bob
User avatar
Brewer
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 1481
Joined: Sun Oct 10, 2004 11:44 am
Location: LI, NY

Unread postby bourbonv » Thu Aug 31, 2006 1:29 pm

Gary, Bob or Mike,
Have you noticed a decline in quality of the craft beer? I suspect that they might fall into the same trap of becoming more popular leads to cutting cost and time in production, leading to a decline in quality. I don't think this will happen with regional beers from local micro-breweries, but the "craft beers" that have gone national in their sales.
Mike Veach
"Our people live almost exclusively on whiskey" - E H Taylor, Jr. 25 April 1873
User avatar
bourbonv
Registered User
 
Posts: 4064
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2004 7:17 pm
Location: Louisville, Ky.

Unread postby gillmang » Thu Aug 31, 2006 1:54 pm

I don't think so Mike. Sam Adams Lager seems the same as it was. Pyramid's products too (they make a well-known Hefeweizen). Anyway there is lots of choice. Then too I am not one to support excessively hopped or alcoholised beers. Some micro beers are just too highly flavoured to interest me. As a student of brewing history, I am convinced these are not necessarily traditional.

Gary
User avatar
gillmang
Vatman
 
Posts: 2137
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2005 4:44 pm

Unread postby Mike » Thu Aug 31, 2006 6:01 pm

bourbonv wrote:Gary, Bob or Mike,
Have you noticed a decline in quality of the craft beer? I suspect that they might fall into the same trap of becoming more popular leads to cutting cost and time in production, leading to a decline in quality. I don't think this will happen with regional beers from local micro-breweries, but the "craft beers" that have gone national in their sales.


I do not drink as much beer as I once did, probably only one or two a week now. I have not noticed any decline in the quality of the beers I do prefer. I still like Sierre Nevada Pale Ale as much as ever and it is marketed very widely now.

Unlike Gary, I enjoy the highly hopped beers (did you know that the hops plant is related to the marijuana plant and induces a slight high in and of itself), high alcohol barley wines, as well as the strongly flavored stouts. In fact, there are no types of beer that I don't enjoy on occasion, except American Light Pilseners. As Brewer says, 'I'll have water, please'. Besides, more than one A-H or Miller beer and I will get a headache. Why that is so, I don't know, but it is true.

All of these excellent beers are quite filling, so I rarely have more than one. They are almost like having a meal and, 'Taste Great, More Filling!'

Having a Thomas Hardy or Old Foghorn beer is a great taste experience..........'shiver me timbers', laddie bucks, I think I just might have an Old Foghorn in the fridge............'scuze me a sec........time passes............yep, I'm back now with the OF in tow (or rather in glass). Lordee that is good!

And I had me some roasted oysters, I would be the most happiest man in the whole wide wacky world...........as it is, I am just the second most happiest.
Do not go gentle into that good night,
Old age should burn and rage at close of day;
Rage, rage against the dying of the light. - Dylan Thomas
Mike
Registered User
 
Posts: 2106
Joined: Tue Feb 15, 2005 5:36 pm
Location: Conyers, GA

Unread postby Bourbon Joe » Thu Aug 31, 2006 7:17 pm

bourbonv wrote:Gary,
Fire all these damned MBA's who think they know it all right out of college and make them work their way up the ranks and actually get to know the product they are going to sell.


Mike Veach for President! :director: :thumbup: :yay:
Joe
Colonel Joseph B. "Bourbon Joe" Koch

Bourbon, It's cheaper than therapy!
User avatar
Bourbon Joe
Erudite Bourbonite
Erudite Bourbonite
 
Posts: 1822
Joined: Tue Aug 16, 2005 4:02 pm
Location: Eastern Pennsylvania

Unread postby cowdery » Fri Sep 01, 2006 12:13 pm

I can't imagine why Diageo would monkey with Guinness, especially putting the Guinness brand on a lager, when Diageo also owns Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale, Smithwick's Ale and Harp Lager, and if they think an import might do the trick, they've got Red Stripe, also a lager.

Except for the fact that Diageo is still mostly the company that used to be Guinness, they are the biggest drinks company in the world and about as broadly diversified as you can be in that category. Their business won't be hurt unless people just stop drinking altogether. The Irish stop drinking? Please! If they stop drinking Guinness in favor of something else, Diageo likely owns the "something else" too, so so what?

If they don't take the decline of Guinness in its homeland in stride, it will be because of just the opposite of the kind of big corporate megolith behavior they've been accused of here. It will be because of sentimentality for the company's flagship brand.
- Chuck Cowdery

Author of Bourbon, Straight
User avatar
cowdery
Registered User
 
Posts: 1586
Joined: Tue Oct 19, 2004 1:07 pm
Location: Chicago

Unread postby Brewer » Sat Sep 02, 2006 8:05 am

bourbonv wrote:Gary, Bob or Mike,
Have you noticed a decline in quality of the craft beer? I suspect that they might fall into the same trap of becoming more popular leads to cutting cost and time in production, leading to a decline in quality. I don't think this will happen with regional beers from local micro-breweries, but the "craft beers" that have gone national in their sales.


Mike,

I for one will have to agree with you regarding this point. I think there are a number of businesses that have been "opportunistic" in wanting to jump on the micro-brew craze. Initially, they may start out with a good product, but then when the bean counters get involved, they play with their reciepes and the end product ain't much better than a lot of other swill. I've especially noticed this in brew pubs. They'll last about a year...get people interested in a new product, then just try to make the bucks. Never works though. If they continued making good beer, they'd maintain a customer base.

Regarding bottled beers, I''d agree with what's been previously stated for the most part. I think that there are also some "wannabe" micro-brewers out there, whose product might not be bad, but really isn't up to snuff when compared with a Sierra Nevada for example. That doesn't mean their product isn't good, or there isn't a niche for them. But to my discernining beer palate, I'd pass on a lot of them. There's LOTS of VERY good micro-breweries out there these days, cranking out some wonderful beer. Let's remember also, that some ain't so micro any more (Sam Adams for one). Also, don't forget about all of the wonderful imports that are available...check out some of the small products form Europe and Canada (can't forget Gary, although I don't know anything about Gillmanizing beer).

Bottom line is if I see a new product, I like to give it a try. If its worth my future money, it stays on my list. If not, it goes in the heap with AB.
Bob
User avatar
Brewer
Moderator
Moderator
 
Posts: 1481
Joined: Sun Oct 10, 2004 11:44 am
Location: LI, NY

Unread postby gillmang » Sat Sep 02, 2006 9:38 am

Last night with friends from work we sampled some strong European beers at a beer bar. They were all excellent but at the end I felt like a Moosehead lager and that is what I had (and it was great).

I think what some brewers are trying to do is find the golden mean, but maybe there isn't one.

I think in the end all depends on the brewer's skills. It really isn't easy to make a good beer of any style. Subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) elements of the palate can make for an ordinary or even unpleasant beer. I think the changes some people notice over time mean the beers are actually getting better technically. I have been watching the micro phenomenon for 30 years. I can't tell you how how many bad or infected beers I had on the way. Most of the beers I had made from malt extract (I am speaking in particular of some early brewpubs and micros) were undrinkable. Just because something tastes assertive doesn't mean it is good. Consumers can't always articulate why they don't like something that is either off or not well-made but they will reject it in the long run.

But there can be good and fine beer made in each style. E.g. Rogue is a fine brewer on the assertive end of the spectrum. Ditto Dogfish Head, and Blue Point (I think it is called) on Long Island do great work. I don't class the big brewery beers as inferior necessarily. I agree that much of the "lite" or North American lager styles of beer are rather tasteless but there are some that are good, e.g., Amstel Light is an excellent beer I find. Very fresh Michelob is very nice. I wish it was 100% barley malt but it isn't bad as it is. It has a good balance that has taken years to perfect. (It tastes like a milder Czeckvar actually, as one would expect...).

So all I am trying to say is each beer style is valid for its purpose but not all beers brewed in each style are good by my definition, i.e., have a pleasing taste free of brewing defects. It is hard for brewers to hit the right formula.

I have never understood the appeal of Heineken whereas Budweiser was always better I thought. Heineken early on captured the import market (it was first in from Europe after Prohibition ended) and also did innovative advertising so maybe that explains it. I think Michelob too, or say Ballantine XXX, are far better. Check out Balantine XXX Bob, it is an excellent commercial beer full of malt (if not 100%) and Cascade hop flavor. It is widely available in the NYC area and beyond. In my view, Ballantine XXX is better than 90% of the micro beers I try on a day to day basis. I don't know who brews it today, it was a Pabst brand but I think it is made for Pabst under license by another large brewery, maybe SAB Miller.

Gary
User avatar
gillmang
Vatman
 
Posts: 2137
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2005 4:44 pm

Unread postby bourbonv » Tue Sep 05, 2006 10:57 am

The article posted today has Guiness the subject of rumors about being sold. This is all because of the drop in sales in Ireland. I suspect that it will be sold. If Diageo can turn a quick profit, they will do so. My experience with is that they only want to sell things that are in a growing market - everything else will be subject to being sold. Let us hope that Guiness will be sold and someone competent will get a hold of the Guiness marketing account. That might actually lead to some of things that Gary was suggesting.
Mike Veach
"Our people live almost exclusively on whiskey" - E H Taylor, Jr. 25 April 1873
User avatar
bourbonv
Registered User
 
Posts: 4064
Joined: Thu Oct 14, 2004 7:17 pm
Location: Louisville, Ky.

Unread postby gillmang » Tue Sep 05, 2006 11:17 am

Thanks Mike. There is so much heritage and genuine quality in the background to Guinness Stout. It is a famous drink and still a very good one at its best. Ironically, the current draught version is fairly light-tasting and has the same alcohol content as a light beer (around 4% abv). It really isn't "Dad's beer" in the sense that it has become lighter and milder-tasting over the years. This has been noted by famed beer author Michael Jackson and others (one of the press stories earlier in the thread quoted an Irish drinker saying it isn't as "sticky" as it used to be).

It won't work in my view to be betwixt and between though. While the draught is okay now I wouldn't lighten it any further. I'd go the other way, in fact (as A-B has been considering for Budweiser as reported on the board also recently). And I'd bring out line extensions that mean something, not just an extra-cold version of the stout or a fruited one. Guinness has the recipes in its portfolio from way back, it just needs to focus more on them.

Probably to the powers that be this seems unrealistic. If people think the drink as it is is too assertive and dark-colored, how will making it more so reverse the sales drop in Ireland?

But stranger things have happened. If the drink frankly stakes out its territory, I think people will return to it (many of them anyway) who have left and it will attract new consumers.

True, many other brewers (basically the micros) make assertive styles of stout but the taste of Guinness is unique and in a form such as Guinness Foreign Extra Stout, or the bottle-conditioned Extra Stout, is really special. The FES version is widely available in the Caribbean but I've never seen it in North America.

Gary
User avatar
gillmang
Vatman
 
Posts: 2137
Joined: Mon Jan 24, 2005 4:44 pm

Previous

Return to What Ales You

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests