Friday, October 27, 2006
Diageo Causing Guinness Fans to See Red
I remember a few years ago when the folks at St. James' Gate Brewery decide to launch Guinness Gold as a flanker to the Guinness Stout brand. I recall wondering "What are they thinking?" Guinness is a symbol of Ireland and is known by many as "The Black Stuff." Messing with Guinness reminded me quite a bit of the New Coke marketing fiasco. Now drinks giant Diageo is preparing to test a red version of Guinness in England.
The brew is said to use a lightly roasted barley, which gives the beer a red hue. British pub patrons will be the first to taste the beer, but the company says it has no plans yet to offer the brew in Ireland or in any of the other 150 countries where Guinness is sold. That's not to say that the brewers in Dublin are not busy tinkering. With Guinness sales off in the home market, the brewery is testing a variety of beers to try to lure drinkers back from wine and spirits.
Diageo launched the Guinness Brewhouse Series last year. Using different stout recipes dating back to the 1700s, the third edition in the series was released recently. Guinness North Star Brew is named for the Brewer’s Star, a six-pointed star symbolizing purity. The brewery sells this series in selected pubs around Dublin.
I'd love to try some of the resurrected stout recipes, but as for gold or red colored beers with the Guinness name I'll take a pass. Guinness is as much a dark brew as Pilsner Urquell is a golden lager. That's the way it was meant to be.