Nigeria’s lager market has in recent years become a major battle-ground for ‘share of throat’ and of course cultivation and retention of ardent brand loyalists. After painfully ceding its market-share of the lager sub-sector to Nigerian Breweries in recent years, Guinness Nigeria appears set to take the fight to different level as it ‘quietly’ launched its new lager brand, Guinness Gold.

Positioned as a premium brand, Guinness Gold clearly has in its sights on lovers of Heineken Lager, the leader in this segment and newly introduced Budweiser, the self-styled ‘King of Beers’. While Heineken is the flagship premium beer brand for Nigerian Breweries which controls about 70% of the beer market in Nigeria, Budweiser, from the stables of the transnational corporation, Anheuser-Busch InBev in partnership with Ilesha International Breweries was introduced in Nigeria in 2018 after its world debut in 1876. Budweiser has grown to become one of the largest selling beers in the United States, and is available in over 80 markets worldwide. Meanwhile, Heineken was introduced a in 1875 and 25 million bottles of Heineken are served each day across 192 countries.

Guinness Gold on its part is being launched in Nigeria for the first time and in the world. Its makers assure that it is a refreshing lager, packed full of depth and character, making it ideal for Nigerians who are looking for more from their drinking experience. Guinness Nigeria believes the Guinness Gold premium lager beer will stand out from the crowd, thanks to its unique combination of high-quality ingredients sourced locally and internationally. Alongside the standard malt, the addition of two specialty malts – crystal malt and amber malt- create a lager with real depth of flavour.

During the launch, Uche Onwudiwe, Marketing Manager, Guinness said “We know that consumers are looking for new drinking experiences and that is why we have developed Guinness Gold. This new lager beer is a special launch that is a collaboration between the expertise of our brewing team here in Nigeria and the team in Dublin, the birthplace of Guinness. Together, they have developed a delicious lager full of flavour and depth that we really believe will appeal to modern discerning tastes. It is a refreshing lager beer with the bold character you would expect from Guinness, but it is clearly different in look and flavour to Guinness FES stout. We are very excited to bring it to Nigeria for the first time in the world and we are encouraging Nigerians to celebrate life’s golden moments with Guinness Gold.”

To help celebrate the launch, Dublin-based innovation brewer, Aisling Ryan, was in Nigeria to join the local team headed up by Colman Hanna to meet consumers and introduce them to this new beer.
Master brewer, Aisling Ryan said, “The brewers at Guinness are passionate about bringing more flavour to drinkers around the world through our beers, and we are very excited to be doing that here in Nigeria with our new lager beer, Guinness Gold. Working collaboratively with the pioneering brewing team in Nigeria, we wanted to develop a ‘flavourful’ beer that people can discover and share every day. Staying true to the ethos of the Guinness founder, Arthur Guinness, who was a man of vision, Guinness Gold is a lager beer that combines craft with science to produce a premium lager beer for Nigerians to enjoy in life’s golden moments.”

Since its launch, the producers of Guinness Gold seem to have decided on a phased approach towards distributing the brand to consumers. Brand activations have been executed in selected pubs and bars across Lagos and selected cities and stock replenishment are not being done in a seamless manner. The Guinness strategy is unclear as the Guinness Gold brand is also not easily available in the various major shopping malls as at time of this write-up.

BRANDPOWER’s investigation reveals that Guinness Gold is being received with mixed feelings as patrons are divided on whether they will make the new beer lager their first choice premium lager. Obviously, the ‘drip’ strategy of presenting and distributing Guinness Gold in various locations may not work to the brand’s advantage as they are not giving prospective patrons the opportunity of ‘acquiring’ the taste Guinness Gold is trying to sell.

It is well known that in the food and beverage industry, that ‘plying’ your products on your customers is a subliminal way of making them acquire a taste for the brand which can then be reinforced with creative advertising and other marketing tools. In the present scenario, ‘out of sight’ will simply mean ‘out of taste’ for Guinness Gold. This becomes even more compelling when we realise the present communication slogan for Guinness Gold is ‘Savour the Flavour’ but you can only savour a flavour through consistent drinking.

As Guinness battles to take back a decent chunk of market share from the ever-bullish Nigerian Breweries with its Guinness Gold brand launch, the next few months will determine whether Guinness Gold will lead Guinness to a new golden epoch in the beer market or simply end up as a ‘me-too’ brand.

RATING : Pending. Please share your Guinness Gold Experience with us.

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