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Case Study: How an International Beer Co. Keeps Its Brand Distinctive and Fresh

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Company: Guinness (a Diageo company)
Contact: Jonathan Waldron, Guinness Draught Marketing Manager
Location: London, England
Industry: Retail (B2C)
Annual revenue: Confidential
Number of employees: Confidential

Quick Read:

Irish-brewed Guinness, which claims to be the top-selling stout in the world, is facing competition to keep that title as the global beer industry consolidates. It also needs to diversify its customer base, as about 95% of its sales volume comes from its top four markets: the UK, Ireland, Nigeria and the US.

To keep a distinctive reputation, Guinness has put considerable resources into its Dublin brewery and visitor center, located at the company's birthplace. The brewery is now Ireland's largest and has become the country's top international tourist attraction. It is a strategy that Guinness hopes to eventually replicate in the US, its fastest-growing market.

The Challenge:

Traditional beer markets have reached their maturity. The Western Europe beer market—closest to home for Guinness and the region that accounts for 19% of world sales—is expected to account for just 16% of global sales by 2011, predicts Canadean Ltd., a London-based beverage research firm. The North American market is seen falling from 16% of total beer sales to 13% by 2011, according to the group.

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