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Guinness Going Light in the Loafers. What's The World Coming To?

Posted by: David Kiley on November 23, 2005


I know I’ll get mail for this. But I’m sick of what I call the wussification or sissification of beer, liquor and sports.

The latest offense is news that Guinness, my beloved brewer of stout, is introducing ten, according to Impact, “easier drinking versions of its brew.” The first of these Guinness lites is Brew 39, which uses less roasted unmalted barley, and hops are added at end of the brewing process. The effect is that it’s less bitter and thus is supposed to appeal to more of the people opting for Chardonnay and fruitified brandy these days. It seems pub sales are down since Ireland began enforcing a smoking ban. Some lightened version of the old bitter will be rolled out every six months for a while to see what sticks.

I know I shoudn’t mind. It’s not like my Guinness is going away, or that I’ll go to order one at a bar and all they will have is the wuss’s version. But somehow it makes Guinness feel a bit less like “my brand.” It’s like finding out your best mate took down the “Dogs Playing Poker” picture above his basement bar, and that his new live-in girlfriend made him replace the bar with an exercise studio and put up Andrew Wyeth pictures.

This is all right up there with adding vanilla and coconut flavorings to Scotch and Cognac, and banning cigar smoking at open-air baseball and football stadiums. It’s all a bit uncivilized.

Or, maybe I’m just not sensitive enough.

Reader Comments

Rich Sharp

November 23, 2005 1:59 PM

David, you're plenty sensitive. For more years than ours combined, they've been making multiple versions of Guinness. It's part of their heritage, and that's ok. But this smacks of marketing decks and CPMs and increasing shareholder value. I've been in many Irish pubs (in Ireland), and I can't imagine any of them pulling a pint of Guinness Light unless, somehow, the distribution chain starts twisting arms.

Hell, I can't take the fact that they put Draught in a bottle. Wha?!


November 29, 2005 9:26 AM

My recommendation to you is to try a Victory Storm King Stout and Forget about the Guinness. I haven't had a decent Guinness in years and most recently, they been served in plastic cups! Of course, if Guinness doesn't know how to treat their current market, they have to find a new one - which is what they're doing.
I'm sure you are receiving PLENTY of emails on this, but check out the highest rated stouts and give them a shot. You'll realize that Guinness is a tradition, not a preference.

Stephen Hunton

November 30, 2005 8:47 AM

I totally agree...there's almost something comforting about a Guiness. For such a stout beer company to do this, is almost like them waving a white flag and exclaming "Ok...we give in, Miller Lite is kicking our butts and we need a piece of the action." Are you kidding me?!

The next thing you know, somebody will take this "no carb craze" and create a wine with little or no carbs....OH wait...someone already did, and now you can find me lying under my desk, in the fetal position waiting for the sky to fall.


June 3, 2007 8:26 PM

everyone and there brother is on a health kick theses days, because of the media and what not telling everyone they are fat, that is why lite beers are so popular, i dont mind miller lite for some reason but any other light beer i find disgusting i would rather enjoy and nice guiness, yuengling, sam adams or any other non pussy beer heavy robust flavor that a beer should have, Why are you blamming guinness for jumping on this ban wagon? Every company is out to make money and has to change with the times. So i say hey good job guiness and maybe I and you others will actually like these beers that they are making. has anyone tryed the new sam adams summer ale?

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News, opinions, inflammatory meanderings and occasional ravings about the world of advertising, marketing and media. By marketing editor Burt Helm, Innovation Editor Helen Walters, and senior correspondent Michael Arndt.

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