Are These The Actual Options For Famous Guinness Dublin Brewery?
November 28, 2007 (4 Responses)
USUALLYÂ IT’S A CASE of the public sampling Guinness, on a fairly regular basis it has to be said, but this evening I took part in a survey – completely by coincidence – where Guinness were sampling their customer base in advance of potentially huge changes for the ailing company.
Things have not been going well for Guinness in recent years. I used to work there, up until 2001, and even then market share was dropping with alarming regularity. Although overall share prices are on the up for Diageo – the parent company – the Guinness brand is in trouble. Drink driving legislation, take home trade market growth and more ‘fashionable and younger’ drinks are all taking their toll on the old diehard brand.
Guinness of course have attempted to fight back with clever marketing campaigns and adverts, with new products and options for the younger and more discerning drinker (Guinness Red anyone?… Meh!), hell they’ve even developed some “Surge” technology to enable the ‘perfect pint’, Â but none of it seems to be making that much difference to the downward slide in performance.
Even when I was working there the rumours of the Brits closing down the St. James Gate brewery were always a regular topic of conversation at the lunch table, or indeed over a pint or two. Up to now it’s been speculation, but more recently this particular rumour seems to have gathered some speed and momentum. Back in June this yearÂ Diageo confirmed they were looking at options, but remained elusiveÂ on what those options actually were.Â
The survey I completed online tonight kind of reinforces (for me anyway) the idea that the Diageo management team are serious about taking a long hard look at their optionsÂ for the home of Guinness this time around, and in particular they seemed to have refined said options down to just a few fairly key ones.
So, what variations are they looking at then? Well, you might be surpsied to know that there are four distinct options on the menu – according to the survey anyway -as follows:-
- Option 1: Upgrade the brewing facilities at St. James Gate by building a massive new Brewhouse on the Quays
- Option 2: Build a completely new Brewery elsewhere (in Dublin) and close down the St. James Gate location
- Option 3: Build a new brewhouse elsewhere in Dublin, but leave the production of Guinness at St. James Gate
- Option 4: Business as usual; no change.
The actual survey itself took the form of faked up newspaper articles and radio news items about each potential option, followed by specific questions about how people would react to each alternative and, more importantly, what impact it might have on our drinking habits and trends for the Guinness product itself.
For what it’s worth my money is on Option 3. Diageo have been trying to find a way to get better returns on the acres of prime retail/commercial development space in the Dublin city centre (e.g St. James Gate Brewery) for decades now, and the option to build a more modern brewhouse elsewhere (for all the brewing except Guinness itself) would probably enable them to free up a good few acres of space at St. James Gate for sale back into the property market. Cha-Ching!!
Sadly though, at this stage, Guinness is not really Guinness anymore.
What was onceÂ quintessentially Irish and unique is now just another English owned and run company, relagated to the position of an ageing brand within a larger drinks, food and leisure portfolio. What used to be a ‘job for life’ is now outsourced, nearshored, offshored and sub-contracted to a huge array of vendors. Hardly any of the folks I worked with are still there, as ‘Guinness’ employees; they have all been sold off to outsourcers. Like most things, what was… is no more. I think it’s time has passed, and the accountants have long since taken over. The heart and soul has been ripped out and discarded.
So folks, don’t be surprised if you hear an annoucement in the near future about some interesting developments at the heart of Dublin, in St. James Gate. And remember, when the stories start to break about the options under consideration, and the eventual decision… you heard it here first at Howl @ The Moon!