Just did a market research thingey for Smithwick's, seems they are launching the "Smithwick's Craft Beer" range. First up is Smithwick's Pale Ale.
Not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand it will mean that an established company like Diageo may be able get more styles of beer into a typical pub and tempt people out of their comfort zones with some clever marketing. It really shows that they have sat up and taken note of the buzz created by Dungarvan and the like. On the other hand, I don't like how they seem to be applying the phrase "craft" to Smithwick's and are trying to cash in and maybe stamp out the craft beer revolution in Ireland just as it is taking off.
In any case, craft beer has been noticed, the war is about to begin. Bring it on.
"brian_c":3ivbdczb wrote: Smithwick's Pale Ale.[/quote:3ivbdczb]Remember the last time that a Diageo brand extension actually succeeded? No, me neither.
"brian_c":3ivbdczb wrote: It really shows that they have sat up and taken note of the buzz created by Dungarvan and the like.[/quote:3ivbdczb]Without wanting to do down Dungarvan or any other Irish craft brewery, I don't think this is the case. I'd say it's more part of a global trend in countries where the beer market is declining and becoming niche. MolsonCoors are leading it, and A-B InBev are getting into gear with Goose Island and the other inevitable US acquisitions. It's a little surprising that Diageo care that much about their beer, but then I'm a bit surprised that they invest anything in Smithwick's at all, given the size of its market share.
Myself and a friend were talking about this the other day. It was only a matter of time before Diageo jumped on the bandwagon, a bandwagon I would arguable give credit to the Galway Hooker lads for creating (Irish Pale Ale). I'd also arguably say that at least one other brewer jumped out of their comfort zone on that bandwagon and has been successful. And why not I suppose.
Probably the best thing Diageo could do is do a branding trick like was done with Bluemoon, by pretending it's a craft beer and try fool people into drinking it.
Just before we launched Smithwicks had a rebrand / relaunch and there was a full page ad in a Sunday paper mag that used the word 'craft' at least 6 times - without actually calling themselves a craft brewery they are certainly going the 'craft' route with Smithwicks for some time now. See their website[/url:3upb1rmf] for how they have 'crafted' their beer for over 300 years.