This Day On The Street
Continue to site right-arrow
ADVERTISEMENT
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
TheStreet Open House

Brewers Invest in Perfect St. Patrick's Day Pints

Stocks in this article: DEO SAM

NEW YORK ( TheStreet) -- St. Patrick's Day success in the beer industry is measured in quantity, but it takes a substantial investment in quality to get that perfect holiday pint.

Brewers went into last St. Patrick's Day in no mood to celebrate after U.S. beer shipments fell 2.3% in 2009, according to Beer Marketer's Insights. Judging by Brewers Association figures for last year, brewers' luck -- Irish and otherwise -- didn't change much when the holiday arrived amid a 2.7% slump in first-half sales. That didn't stop Diageo's (DEO) Guinness from selling 3.5 million pints last March 17, an increase from 2009 and well above the 600,000 pints Guinness representatives say Americans drink every other day of the year.

Beers such as Samuel Adams and Guinness have extensive quality control systems in place. Consumers can send back Sam Adams that's past its freshness date for a full refund from brewers and distributors.

With all imported beer experiencing a 10% sales slump in 2009 and Diageo Guinness itself seeing a 10.3% decline that year, why did Guinness fare so well last St. Patrick's Day? Diageo Guinness USA Director of Quality Tim Cowlishaw says the credit belongs not to a Dublin brewery's worth of Irish heritage and association with all things St. Pat's, but with a legacy of quality control that pours a little bit of marketing into a whole pint full of nitpicking.

"The Diageo business celebrates big-time in the run-up to the holidays in December and we on the Diageo Guinness side see a huge increase in the setup of accounts to make sure they're looking as St. Patrick would like them or Arthur Guinness would like them," Cowlishaw says. "We see a substantial increase in the bar owners' request for support and help, and obviously we want to showcase our brand as well as possible."

That sweet display of Guinness' signature stout doesn't come cheap. In addition to Cowlishaw, Diageo-Guinness' U.S. operation employs four regional quality control coordinators, 100 salespeople steeped in the Guinness' multistep quality testing and more than 300 distributors throughout the U.S. who attempt to ensure that every pint of Guinness poured looks exactly like the black, foamy, ring-leaving pints the company idealizes and its sellers count on. Like a Smirnoff Ice or Twisted Tea sold in the summer, a Guinness sold on St. Patrick's day is making a first impression and trying to bring the consumer back for more

"We live or die by St. Patrick's Day with Guinness," says Mike Braccia, spokesman for Burke Distributing in Randolph, Mass., which handles Guinness distribution for 2,900 bars and other clients in Greater Boston and makes 15.5% of its annual Guinness sales on St. Patrick's Day. "That's why we strive to make it as perfect as we possibly can -- because you have one shot to make it."

1 of 3

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

Jim Cramer's protégé, David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
Try it NOW

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Dividend Stock Advisor

Jim Cramer's protégé, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Options Profits

Our options trading pros provide over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • Actionable options commentary and news
  • Real-time trading community
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
Try it NOW
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!

Markets

DOW 17,224.61 +33.24 0.19%
S&P 500 1,996.87 -5.29 -0.26%
NASDAQ 4,615.2630 -22.7310 -0.49%

Partners Compare Online Brokers

Free Reports

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs