In 1962, Guinness opened a brewery at Ikeja in Nigeria. The management was made up largely of British and Irish migrants, such as Alan Coxon, who went to Nigeria in 1966 to work as plant technical director.
We know this because his daughter, Fiona Gudge, is the owner of the large collection of Guinness papers we’ve sorting through and cataloguing for the past six months.
What follows, with Fiona’s input, is a brief snapshot of the emergence of a new kind of colonialism that emerged in the wake of Nigeria’s independence in 1960, and the strange dominance of Irish stout in West Africa.
Timeline 1958 | Britain agrees to grant Nigeria independence 1959 | Guinness Nigeria founded 1960 | Nigerian independence 1962 | Guinness opens brewery in Nigeria 1963 | Federal Republic of Nigeria declared 1965 | Guinness Nigeria listed on Nigerian stock exchange 1966 | Two military coups 1966 | Alan Coxon begins working at Ikeja 1967 | Beginning of the Nigerian Civil War (Biafran War) 1970 | End of Nigerian Civil War 1970 | Second National Development Plan, 1970-74 1971 | Coxon family leaves Nigeria 1972 | Nigerian Enterprises Promotion Decree (Indigenisation Decree) 1974 | NEPD into effect 1984 | Notice given of ban on import into Nigeria of barley 1998 | Stout production ceases at Ikeja