Ben's Beer Blog

A place for all things beer.


15 Comments

Guinness Blonde American Lager makes me sad

IMG_8991

Everyone knows Guinness.

With a lineage that dates back to the 1770s, Guinness is probably one of few virtually universally known beers—mention dark beer to the uninitiated and they’ll likely say “Like a Guinness?”—and its longevity is owed in no small part to the fact that it’s a profoundly drinkable beer. It has never been so strange as to scare off mainstream beer drinkers, and has always seemed to have a ubiquitous presence in the types of bars where fans of real beer might be forced to order it because it is the thing on tap that sucks the least.

Which is really a weird and roundabout way of saying Guinness is good.

Sadly, in an increasingly marketing-dominated industry, even Guinness, with the international powerhouse marketing dollars of Diageo behind it, has begun to experience declining sales numbers. Indeed, aside from a slight rise in sales in Ireland between 2009 and 2013 thanks to a huge marketing push that even included inventing a holiday, Guinness sales are sinking. According to the Economist

in 2014 Diageo lost eight times as many sales of Guinness in Britain as it gained in Ireland (see chart). Americans are also downing far fewer pints of Guinness, though the drop is at a slower pace than across the Atlantic.

And so seemingly in an attempt to stem the tide of sinking numbers on this side of the pond, Guinness has just launched Guinness Blonde American Lager here in Canada (it has already been available in the US for a couple years).

I was invited to the Toronto launch of the brand and was provided with some cans to sample and, ultimately, the whole thing has just made me a little sad. Continue reading


13 Comments

London is Getting a Microbrewery

Forked River

I resisted the urge to add an exclamation point to the title of this post; however, I can’t help but hum the tune to “Hallelujah” when I type the words.

You see, I’m from London and lived there for roughly 85% of my life and while London has always had a lot to offer, craft beer has not been one of those things.

Now, with the arrival of Forked River Brewing Company, that will change.

The recently announced craft brewery is the brainchild of David Reed, Andrew Peters, and Steve Nazarian–all London residents and University of Western Ontario graduates (Go Mustangs!). Reed is an engineer who worked a few years running an engineering department at a beverage R&D firm and has been brewing for ten years; Nazarian worked in the biotechnology sector, working in pharmaceutical manufacturing, drug safety testing, and quality control before getting the homebrewing bug in 2004; and Peters is also a microbiologist who got involved with homebrewing clubs in Ottawa and Toronto. Continue reading