As the beer category continues to experience growth this year1, Neil Shah, Head of Guinness GB Guinness shares insights on a couple of the brand’s latest announcements and his category advice for wholesalers.

Neil Shah, Guinness GB

Why have you given Guinness Foreign Extra Stout a new design at this time?

The design refresh on the 330ml bottle of Guinness Foreign Extra Stout gives the brand a modern look and feel whilst paying homage to its heritage dating back to 1801. The pack design aligns with the 650ml bottle and perfectly encapsulates the brand’s global recognition and thirst for adventure. We feel that this is a really exciting time for Guinness Foreign Extra Stout and the wider Guinness portfolio as we look to welcome even more new adult drinkers to enjoy the famous stout.

How will the new look be supported?

Following the announcement of the new design at the beginning of September, the launch has been supported with media investment as well as marketing support across London this Autumn, including paid-for social media, OOH advertising displayed around the city and pallet displays in retail stores.

More recently, Guinness Foreign Extra Stout partnered with Caribbean food & lifestyle platform, Original Flava to produce a selection of recipes which include the stout as an ingredient – tapping into the cooking occasion and expanding ways people can enjoy the beer. We’re always looking for new and unique ways to show how Guinness can be enjoyed, and the partnership with Original Flava showcases its versatility.

How is Guinness 0.0 doing? What share of the no/low alcohol market does it have?

We are really excited about the return of Guinness 0.0 and the non-alcoholic beverage is available now across retailers and wholesalers. As more people look to explore no and low alcohol options, Guinness 0.0 is perfectly placed to tap into the increasing demand for high-quality and great tasting no and low alcohol choices.

How much is the no/low alcohol market worth and is it in growth?

The low and no category is currently worth £150m RSV in the UK off-trade2 and we can expect the low and no trend to continue growing as people look for more choice. The key to driving sales through the category is by leveraging well-known brands. This way, wholesalers can help both retailers and retailers’ consumer customers to navigate no and low choices with confidence in both quality and taste assurances.

Do you focus on the low-calorie messaging with Guinness 0.0 or simply on the fact that it is non-alcoholic?

We are keen to continue to offer consumers a breadth of options when they are looking for a beverage of choice, and that includes low-calorie or non-alcoholic drinks. First and foremost, Guinness 0.0 delivers all the taste that Guinness is famous for, just minus the alcohol. A standard can of Guinness 0.0 also contains less than 75 calories. We know that calories are important to some consumers, so we make this information clear and easily accessible. It’s about being able to provide balanced choices for consumers to explore – and lower calorie or alcohol-free options should never mean compromising on quality and taste.

Guinness Draught in can had its first TV ad in GB in over a decade last Christmas. Will the brand be back on TV this festive season?

Launched in December 2020, the Guinness Draught in can advert was created in response to the increasing demand for the product and to celebrate the joys of Guinness at home, and we were really happy with the outcome of the campaign. Guinness is definitely a beer that can be enjoyed all-year-round so keep your eyes peeled as we continue to find ways to bring the drink to more consumers.

What advice do you have for wholesalers to help them capitalise on the alcohol category?

When it comes to alcohol, it’s important to consider consumer trends and popular occasions and how to communicate these to your retailer customers. Showcasing how you can leverage trends or a moment in time will inspire retailers on the potential of products and in turn help encourage their own sales. Beer is a great sub-category to leverage as it is performing well in the off-trade and is one of the fastest growing categories in BWS3. With this in mind, wholesalers would benefit from maintaining a range of beer formats in line with relevant consumer and consumption trends.

We also know that people naturally gravitate towards brands they know and trust4. Guinness is an iconic, high-quality and trusted beer choice, accounting for 92% of total off-trade stout brand sales in the latest 52wks to the end of February 20215. By stocking a variety of different formats and products within the range, the Guinness portfolio can offer something to suit any moment. For example, Guinness Foreign Extra Stout is available in a 330ml bottle allowing for easy trial, as well as a 650ml bottle format.

How do you work with wholesalers to help them grow sales?

Wholesalers are really important to the success of our business. Whether it is offering category advice or sharing information on the latest NPD, we’re committed to supporting our customers any way we can, especially after this challenging time.


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