Bogrolls & Barley Wines
Guinness -- The Truth

Right then, here is -- for 10 points -- your opening question: When is a supposedly good beer an absolutely CRAP beer?

Answer: When it's called Guinness.

The nitro-kegged disaster that bears the name "Guinness" is going through some deservedly tough times with sales of the stout falling year after year in the
UK and Ireland. In the UK, sales have declined 13% in the last two years, while in Ireland, the Motherlode of Guinness, sales are down almost a whopping 30%
since 2001!

Those in power at Guinness (remember, Guinness is now owned by Diageo) are sadly and incorrectly placing the blame on
"a growing taste for lighter,
blander, more refreshing drinks and a long term shift to entertaining at home..."
 Oh yes, lads -- there is indeed a shift in taste, but as any corporate beer
company knows only too well (and hates to admit), the shift in taste is towards the ever increasing craft ales being produced by an ever increasing number of
new breweries.
Read any current report by CAMRA (The Campaign for Real Ale) or SIBA (Society for Independent Brewers) and you'll find that the demand for craft brews
has never been higher in the UK.  Could it be that a pint of refreshing, flavourful, living, breathing ale is preferable over a pint of turgid, lifeless, nitrokegged

Let's look at the "entertaining at home" comment.  Most Brits -- particularly the age group Guinness is aiming at -- if they do entertain at home, will serve up a
bottles of decent vino before they'll choose beer.  Wine is hugely popular in the UK, and cheap too!  When Lady Roberts and myself resided in London, every
social function we ever went to was an excuse to open the latest Beaujolais or dodgy Liebfraumilch or Mateus Rose - it was a way of life.  If we wanted a pint,
we went to the pub.

What you will find, and what does remain a problem for all brewing companies is large sized supermarkets undercutting beer distributors, and selling what's
become known as "cheap booze" for ridiculously low prices, which has encouraged people to drink at home more often (43% of beer drinking is now done at
home to be precise).  But, even as I write this, CAMRA is trying to put an end to the ruthless price undercutting by the supermarkets.

Looking at the shocking state of Guinness in the Emerald Island, the Irish that grew up on the "real" cask Guinness (pre-1961), is nothing like the Irish you'll
find today.  When Ireland joined the European Community just a few years back, it was one of the poorest nations in the western hemisphere. As Blackadder
would say --
"as poor as a church mouse that's just been presented with a huge tax bill, while Mrs.Mouse has run off, taking all the cheese".

Within years, thanks to some fantastic investment from global drug companies, Google and goodness knows who else who made Ireland their home, Ireland  
had risen to become the third richest nation in Europe -- above the UK and Germany.  Instead of old boys sitting around Dublin drinking Guinness, smoking  
fags, and playing fiddles and bodrans, you now had the BMW and latte set: young Irishmen and Irishwomen with considerably more sophisticated tastes in
alcohol than nitrokeg Guinness.  The product just didn't have the sense or gumption to anticipate the changes and needs of 21st century Irish drinkers. And
even though the Irish economy completely tanked in the new millennium, the new breed of independent drinkers remained.

Yet, Guinness managed to just about survive on both sides of the Irish sea with the help of sleek, stylish, and sometimes surreal advertising -- how else could
it get away with the myth of a two-stage pour...okay, stop me now, I feel a soapbox growing beneath my feet!

Anyway, even superb advertising hasn't prevented the dramatic decrease in business.  Nice ads, shite beer. I'm afraid that harping on about
"a pint of the
black stuff"
just isn't working anymore.

But, fear not --
Good Things Come To Those Who Wait -- that's what Guinness tells us; so what was this mysterious "thing", their secret weapon that we
are all apparently waiting for with baited breath?  It was.............Guinness Red.  What the 'eff????

Locked up in a remote Irish dungeon, some complete and utter twat wearing a Guinness ID badge came up with the answer to all of Guinness' problems.  
They spent 2.5 million pounds rolling out Guinness Red across the UK in what was a futile attempt to lure back lager and ale drinkers.  It never made it to the
States and was described as a stout that's slightly smoother and sweeter than mainstream Guinness; using a more lightly roasted barley and remaining at
4.1% ABV -- designed to bridge the gap between a stout and an ale. Sounded bloody revolting!  

Interesting that my very favourite (and reliably learned) rag in the UK --
The Guardian -- described the notion of Guinness Red as "slightly odd".

Bottom line:  Guinness Red was "surprisingly" unable to turn around the fortunes of its sickly parent company and unceremoniously disappeared from sight.  
Mind you, there's always cold-brewed Guinness BLACK to come to the rescue...Ha ha ha ha ha!!!

What a load of SHITE!
Oh no, the latest disaster from the Guinness stable...