If other breweries want to compete with Guinness’s market dominance they need to accept this key fact: people actually like it.
Once you recognise the truth of it, you can ask another important question: why?
And the answers to that might be because:
…it’s less gassy than other beers.
… it feels different in your mouth to almost any other beer.
…it always tastes the same.
…even the dodgiest pub can’t ruin it.
…it’s a premium product that hasn’t gone up in price too much.
…it’s not Carling or Stella or Fosters or John Smith’s.
…it’s not that keg IPA from the big regional brewer you perhaps thought you liked in 2016.
…it’s the best option when the other choices are Harp or a ‘weird red ale’.
…it’s what you think grown-ups drink when you’re 19.
…it still, somehow, feels vaguely countercultural; a discerning choice.
…it’s what your parents or grandparents drank.
…it’s the most Irish thing you can get in most English pubs.
…‘stout’ has a proud round sound in your mouth.
…it’s cold out.
…the pub is covered in Guinness advertising and your mouth started watering.
…there’s a blackboard that says ‘Best Guinness in Bristol’ and how can you turn that down?
…they like the ceremony, the wait, the shamrock on top.
…it’s the only decent beer at the gig venue, wedding reception, rugby game, racetrack bar, and so on.
…it feels hefty but only has 4.2% ABV.
…they don’t care about beer industry politics.
…stouts from other breweries aren’t like Guinness.
…it’s a habit.
…being A Guinness Drinker is part of their identity.
…alcohol-free stout is better than alcohol-free anything else.
…it slips down easily.
…it makes a change.
…it was good in the 1970s.
…it feels substantial and filling.
…it’s good for you, isn’t it?
* * *
Five or six of the above are statements we happen to agree with ourselves.
For more on the same subject see also:
- Katie Mather’s newsletter – “Saying you’ve never seen anyone buy a Guinness at the pub is like saying you’ve never seen a Labrador. Have you never been to a wake?”
- Ana Kinsella for Vittles – “The marketing works on me: when my friends and I are drinking Guinness, we will pause to watch its movements before we begin. ‘Beautiful,’ we might whisper.”
- This piece we wrote for All About Beer in 2016