High numbers for under-35s, Diageo exec says
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Rope-a-dope! Jab! Upper cut! ... seven, eight, nine ...
If the world of beer was a boxing ring, you might think Guinness was the popular, old heavyweight from the rhetoric of Ruairi Twomey, director of beer for Diageo, Guinness' parent company.
He's in a sparring mood, dropping big numbers and giving opponents a tongue-lashing like Muhammad Ali before the Rumble In The Jungle.
For example, the perception that this is your father's drink may be falling to the mat. Twomey came out swinging with two stats for Canada that may surprise you: Close to 70 per cent of Guinness is consumed by under-35s, and one in five Guinness drinkers is a woman (the latter compares with one in eight in Ireland, Twomey says).
"Women are as good as appreciators as men," he says with one mitt on a pint, the other hovering over fish and chips at the Duke Of Kent in midtown Toronto. "It's not what you expect," he says of the stats, "but Canada has a terrific feeling of discovery to it. Canada has a fantastic tradition of beer and craft brewers."
So ... does Murphy's stout, made in Twomey's hometown of Cork, Ireland, stand a chance to go 12 rounds against Guinness this coming St. Patrick's Day?
"Murphy's is a fine stout in Ireland. It's simply not in Guinness' league. Guinness has a much better sensory experience. It does stuff in your mouth in terms of the roasted barley in combination with the smoothest of the heads, and it has no equal."
According to Guinness sales statistics, two million pints of Guinness were served in Canada last year on that day, which amounts to about 10 per cent of the brewer's annual sales here in a single day.
So how does Mr. Twomey feel about current import champ Stella Artois taking Guinness' Canadian title two years ago, and Corona as a recent import sales champion of the LCBO?
The fightin' Irishman comes out swinging.
"There's no beer that's more loved and respected than Guinness. I'm not sure who No. 1 is but they won't be No. 1 for long.
"Whether you're the champ or whether you're the No. 1 contender, our product speaks for itself. Guinness will be around for a long time after I'm gone. Our drinkers will make sure of that."
What a knockout.
- Next week: Guinness myths and St. Patrick's Day rituals.
Guinness Draught Risotto With Pancetta and Peas (Serves 4)