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St. Pat’s is Back!

Balancing unparalleled devotion to the “Perfect Pint” with an innovation pipeline creating products craved by consumers of all cultures, here’s why this St. Patrick’s Day, now more than ever, GUINNESS IS GOOD FOR YOU AND YOUR BUSINESS.

For many people, a pint of Guinness on St. Patrick’s Day is the nectar of the gods. But Diageo Beer Company – importers of the legendary stout – offers other great-tasting beverages diverse customers want the rest of the year. How do we know? Sales are up.

For the last two years, COVID-19 has effectively quarantined the freewheeling-fun that gives anyone with a pulse, who is LDA, an excuse to have a damn good time. And while for many, just drinking a pint of Guinness is a celebration, there are others who prefer different drinks.

Diageo Beer Company (DBC) has been dialed in to that fact for quite some time now. With a portfolio of innovative products rooted in consumer preference, DBC President Nuno Teles wants retailers to put their trust in his company because its beers – beginning with Ireland’s iconic Guinness – hard seltzers, RTDs and, very soon, non-alcoholic beverages, deliver more sales per SKU, not just more me-too SKUs.

And that’s not an empty sales pitch.

The company has posted six consecutive quarters of share growth as of late 2021. Heady Times compared DBC sales by category to the rest of the industry. Over the last two years the company grew 21% vs. total beer’s 7% due in part to the success of Guinness Nitro Cold Brew – the second largest import innovation of the year. In the FMB category Smirnoff Ice has grown 45% over the last 2 years while the rest of the industry is at 23%. And the fastest growing single-serve higher ABV is… Smirnoff Smash.

More on DBC’s success stories later, including Lone River Ranch Water, the hard seltzer that might be beer’s answer to the agave craze. (That’s what tequila is made from). Now it’s time to celebrate because…

St. Patrick’s Day is Back!

“St. Patrick’s Day 2022 marks two years since the world was first impacted by COVID-19, but we are ready ‘to march again,’” announced a joyful Nuno Teles. “This year, Guinness hopes to bring back that feeling of Irish joy and revelry that unites us in having an epic good time. Beginning in February, we are launching a new campaign called ‘Good Things are in Our Grasp’ and it’s supported with a hefty media spend, 20% greater than last year’s allocation.” (Please turn to page 29 for program details.) This well-financed campaign will blanket all media outlets and is sure to capitalize on everyone’s pent-up desire to celebrate with family and friends.

Of course, March is historically a big month for Guinness, so what better time to tease the launch of a new product? The much-anticipated, non-alc Guinness 0 Non Alcoholic Draught should be hitting the market in the second half of the year. With the great taste of Guinness, this delicious liquid is expected to bring even more customers and occasions to the beer category. Research shows that nearly 50% of consumers are open to trying a non-alc beer with the heritage that Guinness can deliver. And at only 71 calories per can, Guinness 0 is the kind of better-for-you beverage consumers want. Guinness 0 provides a perfect segue into a discussion of DBC’s winning strategy: one that listens and then delivers what diverse groups of consumers want to drink, time and time again.

Classic Brands, Bold Innovation and DBC’s Consumer-inspired Portfolio

Industry veteran Teles never strays from his dedication to brewing world-class beers, particularly those made at the Guinness Open Gate Brewery in Maryland like El Dorado, Guinness Chocolate Mint Stout and Guinness Salt & Lime. Teles honors the Guinness tradition while looking ahead to the future and what various groups of American consumers will want to drink.

He explains: “We believe our industry is at a critical moment, one where we must listen to consumers more than ever. They are telling us that they want an assortment of convenient, different-flavored products… some might not even contain alcohol… some will be reminiscent of a spirits-based cocktail. I have made it our mission to be the most progressive, consumer-inspired beer & convenience company in America. In the years to come, we look to drive innovation with bold, disruptive flavors that target a multicultural consumer.”

Building on the success of Smirnoff Ice Pink Lemonade, DBC will launch several new “Neon Lemonade” packs in 2022, including a Smirnoff Ice Neon Lemonade Variety Pack and a Smirnoff Seltzer Neon Lemonade Variety Pack. Nationally, Smirnoff will also launch Smirnoff Ice Spicy Tamarind, a surprisingly spicy FMB that goes together with another new product: Smirnoff Seltzer Poco Pico Variety Pack. Inspired by Latin flavors and repped by Colombian singer Karol G, the Poco Pico seltzers are the perfect balance of spicy and sweet, bringing a welcome kick to the hard seltzer category.

To reinforce what makes these brands resonate with consumers, Smirnoff Seltzers and Smirnoff Ice packaging will be redesigned and then relaunched with the brand’s biggest marketing spend ever. Expect the design to deliver on color… and fun… and STAND OUT in the cooler.

“We look to drive innovation with bold, disruptive flavors that target a multicultural consumer.”

– DBC President Nuno Teles

Another stand out for DBC is Lone River Ranch Water. In 2022, retailers are expected to devote more shelf space to RTD cocktails as more and more consumers gravitate to products with flavors reminiscent of those served over the bar. This agave hard seltzer is ranked number five nationally based on rate of sale, which is a strong indicator of future growth potential. As of November 2021, the brand growing organically had surpassed 1% share of the crowded total seltzer category.

Authenticity has been key to Lone River’s success. While remaining true to its West Texas roots, there are still opportunities for flavor innovation. Keep your eyes peeled for the brand’s take on another famous, agave-based, Texas favorite, the margarita. Lone River Ranch Rita will be a higher ABV, fuller-flavor agave beverage that’s deliciously light and premium brewed with real lime juice and organic agave nectar.

Heady Times asked Teles if he thought a product like Lone River would sell in the colder months, he responded, “Not to worry!”

“In markets like Montana, we’re seeing healthy consumer pull for Lone River [this winter]. We certainly believe Lone River has a role to play in the colder months when outdoor activities range from hockey to hunting. Why not enjoy a Lone River? But right now, I’m counting down the days to March 17th. I may prefer a perfect pint of Guinness for my St. Patrick’s Day Celebration, but new traditions are created all the time. And Diageo Beer Company wants everyone to celebrate – responsibly – with the beverages we have made with for them.”


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