Monday, 15 March 2010

Guinness under threat from rivals 400 times smaller

This story by Stephen Hayward in the Mirror is so stupid that it's hardly worth blogging about. But it's notable as an example of the dire standard of reporting about beer in the mainstream media. And of a poor grasp of elementary arithmetic.
Guinness gets a rival as sales of black lager go through the roof

A pint of the black stuff has meant only one thing for generations of beer drinkers... Guinness.

Yet that's about to change as black lager becomes the fastest-growing tipple in Britain, with sales soaring 42pc in a year.

Supermarkets and pubs are struggling to keep up with demand for the brew - a cross between lager and bitter.

Tesco's current range includes Bernard Dark and Budweiser Budvar Dark from the Czech Republic, Xingu from Brazil and Zeitgeist from Scotland. Tesco's Peter Bexton said: "Black lager answers a beer drinker's prayer with a lager's crispness and an ale's flavour." A bottle of Bernard Dark is £2.05 against £1.55 for a Guinness. UK Guinness sales are still £1bn to black lager's £2.5m.

Did you get that last sentence that completely vitiates the rest of the article? It's a speciality of the tabloids, that. £2.5m total sales (for all brands in the black lager sector, do you mind) is supposed to be a rival to a market worth £1bn. That's 0.25%, in words A QUARTER OF ONE PER CENT. It's possible for black lager to grow 42% in a year precisely because it is coming from almost nothing!

By this logic the editor of the Mirror should be very worried about the competition from Unicorn, a folk music magazine covering Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire. It's got a circulation of 3000, which is 0.25% of the Mirror's circulation 0f 1.2m. He should be even more concerned about the Richmond and Twickenham Times. That sells a massive 15000 copies, over 1% of what the Mirror does and hence FIVE TIMES nearer to being a rival than black lager is to Guinness.


  1. "a cross between lager and bitter" - what a load of old bollocks.

  2. I know which of these brands I'd rather be drinking, and it isn't Guinness!

  3. I don't know if you've quoted the whole article, but what you did quote sounds a lot like hidden advertising from Tesco, who, for some reason, might have a quarrel with Guinness...

  4. Pivní, who knows? Maybe the story is based on a Tesco press release. The Guinness mention could still come from some bright spark at the Mirror.

  5. The Mirror? Printing bullshit? This is unprecedented!