Guinness bosses are nervous that their impending brewery move will affect sales of their stout. Sales are already down in England and Ireland, which bosses blame partly on the drink at home brigade and the smoking ban which Ireland has had in place for some time. It is also believed that any change of brewery location sees a downturn in sales, although I wouldn't personally think that a move to another part of Dublin would have that much effect.
Sales are buoyant in some foreign countries where Stouts have always been well received like Nigeria (although they much prefer the home produced stronger version). Suprisingly though sales are still good in the US, where a myriad of better stouts are available. The trouble is though that in the land where Budweiser is king, there are too many people who don't appreciate microbrewed stout. I am always astonished at the number of perfect ratings Guinness receives on RateBeer with comments such as "The Greatest beer in the World", "The perfect beer" and "Does it really get any better than this? Nectar of the gods. Everything a stout should be."
Yet in truth it's rather a poor beer. There is barely any aroma, barely any roasty flavours and it really tastes quite watery, with no real depth of flavour at all. And don't get me started on that Nitrokeg head.
So bosses should look over their shoulders at what their smaller competitors are producing. Some of our microbreweries are producing excellent cask stouts. Titanic Stout is a great stout in the bottle and cask; Darwin make a great Stout called Java Jolt with coffee in it, and I have had three great stouts from the Northamptonshire breweries: Hoggleys, Potbelly and Rockingham. So if sales do suffer, don't blame it on the brewery move, blame it on what has become a substandard product against some strong competition.
Guinness will always sell well because of its history and heritage, and drinkers lack of adventure when it comes to trying new things, but hopefully more and more people will try small breweries' superior products and Guinness' nervousness will need acting upon.