Guinness's Dropping Sales in Ireland

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Guinness's Dropping Sales in Ireland

Unread postby gillmang » Tue Aug 29, 2006 10:24 am

Good story posted by Bob on this.

I think Guinness/Diageo should in Ireland and ultimately certain other markets reintroduce the Guinness, or Guinnesses, that made the company famous and was what those 1930's ads referred to.

This was, first, naturally conditioned stout (in effect real ale sold from barrels by thumb-taps or maybe handpumps in some places). Second, it was circa 5% abv bottle-conditioned stout. This originally was bottled by the publicans in the pub basement and achieved a secondary fermentation in the bottle.

Guinness's Extra Stout was bottle-conditioned in England until a few years ago and now is pasteurised (not sure about Ireland, I think it is pasteurised there too as the "draft" in cans and bottles certainly is). Extra Stout isn't bad as a filtered beer but is hard to find since the so-called draft bottled and canned Guinness has taken over.

The draft itself, now pasteurised in the U.K. and I believe Ireland, and filtered since the 1960's and served by nitrogen dispense, is lighter than it used to be and while not bad is just not what Guinness was originally about.

Guinness FES is a 19th century-style bottled Guinness (7.5% abv and richly malted) that is really good and sells well in certain overseas markets which retained a taste for the 19th century Guinness. I don't know why Guinness doesn't promote that in the U.K. (it has been available there only in recent years and is hard to find). The 8% Guinness Special Export available in continental Europe is good too but I prefer FES for its quenching lactic edge.

What has happened in Ireland in draft sales was predicatble - it happened earlier in Britain with real ale. Tastes change and the younger drinkers want something different and are turning to relatively tasteless lager. But to meet the challenge, the answer is not to make Guinness Draught Stout ever colder or lighter or sweeter: it is to return it to its roots. This would be a big decision for Diageo but in my view they should trade on the true history and heritage of the brand and:

- bring back bottled-conditioned Extra Stout,

- promote Guinness Foreign Extra Stout as a strong specialty version,

- consider re-introducing naturally conditioned stout at least in showcase pubs in Ireland.

Trying to make the black stuff more like lager won't work in my view.

Gary
Last edited by gillmang on Thu Aug 31, 2006 3:10 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postby bourbonv » Tue Aug 29, 2006 11:30 am

Gary,
I agree with you as to what should be done, but I also realise how that will never be done - especially with Diageo in charge. The modern corperate world is run by stock holders with professional marketers in charge of selling the product. These people don't think that there is any difference between selling beer (or whiskey) and toilet paper. They don't care about the history of the product or the taste - they simply want to make it appealing to the most people. This means finding the lowest common denominator and run with that. That is why vodka's are so easy to sell and most other drinks are going for that same flavor (or lack of flavor) profile for their products.

What you propose would involve investment (spending money that could be listed as profits), and time (no instant gratification) so the decision is a "no brainer" in the board room and dead before it even gets there. The cheaper, already produced beer is what they sell. It is selling and tourist are going to buy it when they go to Ireland for the name, not the taste. If the locals miss the good beer, they will just have to get over it be happy with what they got. This attitude will eventually force the brand to be sold as it looses sales and becomes less profitable. With luck, some company with some respect for the product will acquire the brand and invest some money and bring it back.
Mike Veach
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Unread postby gillmang » Tue Aug 29, 2006 1:20 pm

You may be right, Mike.

But look at our own backyard, the bourbon whiskey world I mean.

Is it not the case that premium products are taking over the range in many companies? WR seems positioned to do that viz. OF. And it took investment and time, lots of it, to get WR to where it is. B-F is a public company I believe.

Other bourbon distillers seem also to be abandoning their low-price younger products in favor of one or two premium brands which may sell less but will fetch more margin per bottle.

I wonder if RR at 90 proof and no age statement is intended to replace ultimately WT.

I get the sense that Beam Brands intends big things for Knob Creek, and so on..

Why not for beer?

Why not relaunch Budweiser as a 100% barley malt beer with more hops?

Gary
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Unread postby bourbonv » Tue Aug 29, 2006 2:30 pm

Gary,
The beer industry has changed somewhat because of the microbrewery industry. It has created a taste for older style beers and the beer companies have helped fill that with some better beers. The problem is that with older existing brands. They are not going to change because people buy them already no matter what they taste like. The people who buy the beers rich in flavor are not the majority of beer consumers. Think of the millions of barrels produced by the beer companies today. I would be suprised if 1% of their volume was premium beers. Most of it is the lower quality tasteless product that they pass off as beer. As Monty Python said drinking American beer is like making love in a canoe...
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Re: Guinness's droppingsales in Ireland

Unread postby Brewer » Wed Aug 30, 2006 5:26 am

gillmang wrote:I think Guinness/Diageo should in Ireland and ultimately certain other markets reintroduce the Guinness, or Guinnesses, that made the company famous and was what those 1930's ads referred to.

This was, first, naturally conditioned stout (in effect real ale sold from barrels by thumb-taps or maybe handpumps in some places). Second, it was circa 5% abv bottle-conditioned stout. This originally was bottled by the publicans in the pub basement and achieved a secondary fermentation in the bottle.

The draft itself, now pasteurised in the U.K. and I believe Ireland, and filtered since the 1960's and served by nitrogen dispense, is lighter than it used to be and while not bad is just not what Guinness was originally about.


What has happened in Ireland in draft sales was predicatble - it happened earlier in Britain with real ale. Tastes change and the younger drinkers want something different and are turning to relatively tasteless lager. But to meet the challenge, the answer is not to make Guinness Draught Stout ever colder or lighter or sweeter: it is to return it to its roots. This would be a big decision for Diageo but in my view they should trade on the true history and heritage of the brand and:

- bring back bottled-conditioned Extra Stout,

- promote Guinness Foreign Extra Stout as a strong specialty version,

- consider re-introducing naturally conditioned stout at least in showcase pubs in Ireland.

Trying to make the black stuff more like lager won't work in my view.

Gary


I couldn't agree with you more Gary. I understand Mike's business points made momentarily, but as you say Gary, look at the Borubon industry...look at Single Malt Scotch. Look at the Micro-brewerey industry. I believe that there are more & more examples of "craft" industries of all types that are satisfying the desire of people for products of quality that are not simply "mass produced". Maybe that's a bit delusional on my part, but I think there is such a trend a-brewing. I for one will try to do my share.
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Unread postby Brewer » Wed Aug 30, 2006 5:31 am

gillmang wrote:Why not relaunch Budweiser as a 100% barley malt beer with more hops?Gary


:shock: :roll: Now that would be a day in history that we'd have to take note of. You would probably get a chance to see me drink a Bud if that ever came to pass. BTW, my current preference (for those of you that don't know, but might actually care :lol: ) is given a choice between a Bud (or Miller, Coors, etc.) is a nice cold glass of water. Lots more refreshing and enjoyable IMHO.

LIFE'S TOO SHORT TO DRINK CRAPPY BEER, BOURBON OR SCOTCH!
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Unread postby gillmang » Wed Aug 30, 2006 7:06 am

I am sure Budweiser or Michelob were very good upon original release. Michelob was 100% barley malt until the 1950's, for example.

Mike makes good business points but I think the big companies need to think out of the box on this one.

Gary
Last edited by gillmang on Wed Aug 30, 2006 10:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postby bourbonv » Wed Aug 30, 2006 9:17 am

Gary,
Don't get me wrong, I would love to see what you have written happen, I just don't think it will without a major shift in the culture of big business. 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. That would be a step in the right direction. The other major change is to convince the stockholders that long time growth is more profitable than short term profits. Until these changes hsppen, don't count on anything else happening.
Mike Veach
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Unread postby Mike » Wed Aug 30, 2006 9:28 am

Some interesting points all around, gentlemen. I believe that marketers and accountants take it as axiomatic that a primary goal of any business is to increase consumption of their products. Get more customers by creating demand for a something that, rather than being high quality, is not objectionable to masses of people, and satisfies some largely manufactured 'need'..........for status or whatever.

I never exclude myself from those who are influenced by these marketers and advertisers.......if you live in a culture you are bound to partake in its craziness, and I say every culture has some craziness. Ours is (I won't speak to yours, Gary) schizophrenic in its presentation of 'choice'...........way too many on way too many things.........sometimes it is exhausting just making a decision!

The question is, does expanding your market equate to producing for the least common denominator, i.e. to cater to the least discriminating? In the world of the major beer producers that has certainly been the trend. We have light beer. It has counterparts everywhere: white bread, fast food restaurants, prepared frozen foods, and a few well-known spirits.

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. Some of this demand, like for Single Malt Scotch (Single Barrel Bourbon??), probably won't be sustained over the long haul, but most likely enough will remain to make it worthwhile to continue some production, although at some extra expense to the purchaser. As we all know, demand affects price..........Pappy 23 just went down by $100 at 'my' liquor store within the last week or so!

You have heard me sing the praises of 'my' liquor store before. I bet if I took you guys there, we could count well over 200 beers from all over the world. I bet he has over 100 different bourbons and the same with scotch. I am not much of a wine drinker, but there must be 500 or more different wines in his store.

If there is enough demand for quality products, it will be satisfied. I have tried some of Anheuser Busch's attempts at making 'craft' beers and in my opinion, they just don't measure up, they taste just like what they are, a marketing ploy. In fact, I think Samuel Adam's beers barely make the grade in the 'craft' world!

The point being, I don't think it will ever be the case that high quality beer, bourbon, scotch, cognac, or other spirits will be mass produced........the counter-vailing tendencies are just too great. And, it is more expensive and time consuming to make 'high quality' anything.......more extensive quality control measures at all levels, greater attention to detail, willingness to have some variation in output (all Bud tastes exactly the same........a major priority of Anheuser Busch).

I do not have the palate, the taste memories, or the experience of Mike and Gary, so I can't judge about how things used to be.........but I don't lack for variety in my spirit and beer choices. I know there are places where the choices are much more limited, e.g. where my step-daughter lives in South Georgia. If I lived there I would have to make 'booze and beer runs' ever so often to get what I want.
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Unread postby bourbonv » Wed Aug 30, 2006 9:37 am

Mike,
I think what you are saying is that it is the smaller producer catering to the smaller, high quality market in the beer industry. I think this is true for the reasons I have pointed out - big companies want the large volume sales. Large volume sales means sell ing to as many people as possible. This means to find a taste profile least objectionable to the most people - light taste or no taste at all. Don't look for Guiness to go back to making a good beer in Ireland until it is sold to someone else - preferably a person or person who do not put the stock in the brewery in the market.
Mike Veach
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Unread postby Mike » Wed Aug 30, 2006 9:47 am

I believe there will always be some Fritz Maytags, some Julian Van Winkles, some Pierre Ferrands, and many others who know their stuff and won't sell out.

Story is that Pappy had a sign in the distilling facility that said, 'No Chemists allowed'........maybe that sign should now say, 'No Chemists, Accounts, or Marketers allowed'.
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Unread postby bourbonv » Wed Aug 30, 2006 9:50 am

Mike,
Chemist, Accountants and marketers have their place in the distillery and brewery worlds, but they have to be kept in their place and not let them run the show.
Mike Veach
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Unread postby Bourbon Joe » Wed Aug 30, 2006 9:53 am

Mike wrote:Story is that Pappy had a sign in the distilling facility that said, 'No Chemists allowed'........maybe that sign should now say, 'No Chemists, Accounts, or Marketers allowed'.


I think you got something there Mike. You print up the signs and I'll hang em when I go to Kentucky next month.
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Unread postby Mike » Wed Aug 30, 2006 10:07 am

bourbonv wrote:Mike,
Chemist, Accountants and marketers have their place in the distillery and brewery worlds, but they have to be kept in their place and not let them run the show.


Shucks, Mike.........you way too reasonable, way too reasonable!!!!
Do not go gentle into that good night,
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Unread postby gillmang » Wed Aug 30, 2006 10:29 am

Guys, you are forgetting: what about Stagg?! RR 90 and 101 before! What about Ridgemont Reserve! The forthcoming Rittenhouse 21 year old and the EWSBs before! Even Knob Creek! These are rather distant from the mass production blandified bourbons which each producer sells too. But the new premiums are starting to crowd out the older names. We don't see Ten High now at the Gala or the lesser brands of HH. The focus is on the highest quality product. Why can't the marketers think like that at A-B and the other big companies that make beer? They have the example from the micros of the last 30 years. What makes them different from the smart guys who are putting out, say, FRSB??

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