Skip to content

Client Book: Guinness

September 17, 2013

  Why the Allure of Guinness Wins the Respect of All

Product Exploration:

Guinness is a dry stout that originated in Arthur Guinness’s St. James’s Gate Brewery in Dublin, Ireland. The beer is based upon the porter style that originated in London in the early 1700s. It is one of the most successful beer brands in the world, being exported worldwide. The distinctive feature in the flavor is the roasted barley which remains unfermented.  The thick creamy head is the result of a nitrogen mix being added during the serving process.

There is a specific way to pour a Guinness, in which the barkeep pours the Guinness into a glass 3/4s of the way and waits two minutes to let the sediment settle to the bottom of the glass.  Once this is done, the remainder of the glass is filled up with the trademark foam taking up no more than one half an inch of the glass.  Avid Guinness drinkers will become angry if the bartender rushes the pour, as they  disturb the ritual of drinking a Guinness.

Some people may be put off or discouraged to drink Guinness because they assume that the dark color carries heavy content and will be too strong.  Many Guinness drinkers do claim that this stout beer is an acquired taste.  The bitterness, almost reminiscent of coffee or a dark chocolate, hits the front of the palate first, but the flavor evens out when the liquid moves down the throat.
Perhaps the most important factor of Guinness is its distinctiveness and iconic image.  Nine out of ten people will be able to recognize a Guinness amongst other beers, and will be able to link the beer to its heritage and Irish past. The brand is still heavily linked with Ireland, despite being now owned by the multi-national alcohol conglomerate Diageo and brewed around the world in fifty different countries.

Competitive Analysis
Guinness is the Flagship and epitome of all stouts in the wonderful world of beer. Even thought stouts are renowned for being heavy-in-the-gut and thick, Guinness was the breakthrough that allowed people to truly appreciate darker, more full-bodied brews. There are many thousands of different stouts on the market now, including milk stouts like Bell’s, Young’s double chocolate stout, and Sam Smiths amazing oatmeal stout, but nothing compares and has the following as Guinness. Following are Guinness two biggest competitors:

Murphy’s Irish Stout: In comparison to its heavier and more bitter chief competitors, Guinness and Beamish, Murphy’s is a lighter and sweeter dry stout. Its flavor is evocative of caramel and malt, and is described as “a distant relative of chocolate milk“. The resemblance to milk extends beyond flavor to texture; Murphy’s is free from any hint of carbonation, is delivered “black as strong cappuccino” with an inch of foam – “the head” – on top. The head, in particular, is lauded for its remarkably thick and creamy nature and its “spoonable” density. Drinkability is high, with such a low alcohol content and light body but full of lots of subtle and well-balanced flavors.

Beamish Irish Stout: Beamish stout is Beamish and Crawford’s flagship product, now brewed by Heineken at the Murphy’s brewery. This beer smells of cream, toffee, a little coffee, and a little chocolate.The taste is a simple cream opening into one note of vague roast and a relatively empty body that transitions well to an average finish. The feeling in the mouth is a bit too smooth on the palate even for its creamy overtoneGuinness draught has a definite leg up with its multiple notes and flavors, all of which are balanced better. If you’re after an Irish stout, you’re best off reaching for Guinness.

Other brands that may compete with Guinness on tap are other imports and craft brews.  Suprisingly, Harp prevails in sales over Guinness at the local pub in Richmond,  Penny Lane Pub. Harp is a highly drinkable lager that comes from the same parent company, Diageo.   Something of an acquired taste, the stout also trails higher-selling international lagers such as Heinekin, Carlsburg, and Stella Artois.  Craft brews, mostly followed by “beer geeks,” have gathered such a strong following because of the varied ingredients and methods of brewing thrown into the beer-making process.  Examples of these include Dogfishhead, Lagunitas, Sam Smith, Magic Hat, and Taphouse.

Our Target:

Up-and-coming young professionals who are fresh out of college and are living in a second-tier city. Most likely they are single and living on their own. They usually make an upper-medium level income and rent property instead of buying, meaning that they are not financially tied down.  These up-and-comers align themselves with someone who respects beer; they may not be “beer geeks” by any means, but they do realize that types of beers convey different messages.  They are in the process of transiting from cheap party beer to a beer that has an acquired taste that one enjoys drinking instead of a beer one buys just to get smashed on.

Our target tends to be self-focused and active, as they indulge themselves with athletic activities, the latest technology, international and state-wide travel, and nightlife entertainment.  They are definitely not old-fashioned, and have some concern about keeping up with the latest fashions and trends. For fun, they enjoy playing sports, hiking and camping, shopping, spending time with friends, watching television, and attending cultural events. Finances are not a high priority for the up-and-comers. They are not very concerned about planning for their financial future or living within their means. They are more concerned about their personal health and staying fit. Up-and-comers also have a strong need to know themselves better and map out clear life goals as well as get more pleasure out of life.

Most importantly, our target is at the point in their life where they want to go out at night and meet up with friends and co-workers and enjoy a few beers rather than going to a party and getting hammered. They are looking for a beer that fits their new lifestyle. They want something that is full-bodied with distinctive taste, as well as something that runs the line between cheap and expensive. They want to relax with a beer they can take their time with and savor the flavor. New Guinness drinkers are excited to learn about the beer and the story behind it. For the most part they are looking for a beer that they can relate to and find some kind of connection with and once they learn about this historic beer they feel like they have become part of that history.

Message Objectives:

Arthur Guiness started brewing ales from 1759 at the St. Jame’s Gate Brewery, Dublin. Ten Years later on May 19th 1769 Guiness exported his ale for the first time, when six and half barrels were shipped to England. Now, 10 Million Guiness glasses of stout, beer, or draught are enjoyed everyday. What makes this beer so remarkable is it’s story. Arthur Guiness started selling the dark beer porter that not only invented the stout, but invented a beer that started a legacy. Our message shows how Guiness became an icon and that people understand the legacy, have heard the stories, and have stories of their own. Why would people stand in line in the snow for a glass of Guiness? Loyalty to a beer makes it more than just a beer.

The “Perfect Pint” of Draught Guiness is the product of a lengthy “Double Pour” which according to the company should take 119.53 seconds. Ideally a pint of Guiness should be served in a slighlty tulip shaped pint glass. On the way to the tap, the beer is passed through a chiller and is forced through a five-hole disc restrictor plate in the end of the tap, which increases the fluid pressure and friction, forcing the creation of small bubbles which form a creamy head (science!) The glass is then rested until the initial pour settles, and the remainder of the glass is then filled with a slow pour until the head forms a slight dome over the top of the glass. The dispensing of the stout so as to achieve the desirable head has gone through a number of evolutionary stages.

Our target started their drinking career with indiscriminatory taste: anything you put in front of them, they drank.  Drinking was almost a race for them, seeing who could drink as much as possible.  But Guinness is not like most drinks available. The wait is worthwhile and that is our main objective for the message. This beer doesn’t belong in a bottle, it should be poured. There has been so much effort in perfecting this beer that people that drink it should put the effort in drinking it right.

The Strategy:
When a customer walks into a bar or restaurant and is approached by a bartender, the first question that is asked is “What’ll you have?”  The customer has hundreds of choices between beer, wine, and liquor, so the task of choosing the drink, depending on their situation, can be quite nerve-wracking. 

In the beer category, bars have seemingly unlimited choices of what they want to carry as a staple on tap.  Beer drinkers must make the choice of sticking with their old favorites, or exploring something new.   Bartenders are always willing to give samples and talk the customer through the beer, especially if the beer is daunting in its dark color and distinguished pour.  Our strategy for Guinness is to encourage the younger generation of beer drinkers to try Guinness in the hopes that this iconic beer will become their new drink of choice.

As mentioned previously in our objectives, the most important idea that the viewer needs to understand is that there is so much effort that goes into pouring the perfect pint.  The uniqueness of the two minute pour is well worth the wait for someone who wants to become part of the Guinness culture.

Guinness is not for the faint of heart; this is a beer for someone who knows or is learning how to handle beer.  The pour of a pint of Guinness is much like foreplay, as the drinker knows that something excellent is coming to them after the bartender plays works the tap like an expert craftsman.  In this sense, the Guinness brand can be seen as edgy, with a little bit of humor, manliness, and sexiness mixed in.

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: