It's also very easy to be snobbish though about such a mass market mega-brand. Not only is it a familiar choice world-wide for people who are wary of the unknown, but it's been somewhat simplified over the years – oh, and Guinness was the major culprit in the consolidation that wiped out almost the entire 19th century and early 20th century Irish brewing industry.
|Feargal Murray outside brewhouse #3
Brewhouse #4 also replaces several other breweries – Diageo has closed its Dundalk, Kilkenny and Waterford sites, with hundreds of job losses, and moved all its Irish beer production to Dublin. As well as stouts and Harp lager, St James's Gate now brews both Bud and Carlsberg under licence, plus the Smithwicks ale brands.
There's also a 10-barrel pilot brewery, an extract plant producing “essence of Guinness” for the company's other 40+ production sites around the world, a huge malt roastery, and all sorts of other things going on, including bacterial souring of beer under controlled conditions – a small amount of soured beer is blended into the Foreign Extra Stout.
The stand-outs really were the minor brands – the 8% Guinness Special Export that's brewed for Belgian distributor John Martin for instance, and Night Porter, the wonderful chocolate porter than won Diageo Ireland's annual brewing competition for its staff. Sadly the latter is only on sale within the company – a missed opportunity, I suspect.
* US-style short billion of course