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Guinness Nigeria Mainstream Spirit Brands Clinch Medals at San Francisco World Spirits Competition

Guinness Nigeria Mainstream Spirits |

Guinness Nigeria’s mainstream spirits won significant medals at the recently concluded San Francisco World Spirits Competition (SFWSC).

Gordon’s Moringa Citrus Blend led the way with a gold medal in the Gin category. According to the SFSWC screening panel, a Gold Medal is awarded to products deemed ‘exceptional spirits near the pinnacle of achievement that set the standard for their categories’.

Smirnoff X1 Vodka also performed greatly, clinching silver medals for its Intense Chocolate and Extra smooth variants, while category leaders Orijin Bitters and McDowell’s No.1 Whisky won bronze medals in their respective categories.

Founded in 2000, the San Francisco World Spirits Competition was established as a way to recognize exceptional products in the spirits industry. The 2018 Competition was the biggest in its history, featuring more than 2,200
entries. An SFWSC medal has become a recognized affirmation of high quality and one of the most reliable and universal indications of spirits excellence.

The mainstream spirit brands from Guinness Nigeria Plc. staved off stiff competition from over 2,200
international brands at the SFWSC, which is a highly regarded competition established to recognize exceptional products in the spirits category.

‘We are excited to have been recognized as trailblazers in our craft which is a reflection of our commitment to providing quality brands for our consumers to enjoy and celebrate with, every day and everywhere,’ said Marketing Manager for Guinness Nigeria’s Spirits Portfolio, Aigbeme Okonkwo.

The giant brewer also disclosed that each of the winning spirits is proudly made in Nigeria and further underscores the consistent Global Quality Management Standards deployed by Guinness across its production plants worldwide.

Guinness Nigeria, a subsidiary of Diageo Plc of the United Kingdom was incorporated in 1962 with the construction of a brewery in Ikeja, the heart of Lagos. The brewery was the first Guinness operation outside Ireland and Great Britain. Guinness Nigeria has grown tremendously over the years and cemented its place in the hearts of Nigerian stout drinkers as the favourite bold premium stout.

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Guinness Nigeria Names New CEO

Guinness Nigeria |

Diageo-owned Guinness Nigeria Plc has announced that Baker Magunda, currently the Managing Director of Meta Abo Brewery in Ethiopia, as their new CEO.

Magunda will take over from Peter Ndegwa, who will be stepping down at the end of the 2018 Financial Year after three years in office. Ndegwa will be taking up a new role as the Managing Director, Continental Europe and Russia, a member of the Diageo Group, the company also announced.

“Ndegwa has been at Guinness Nigeria for nearly three years and has overseen the recent transformation at the company, including the successful rights issue and implementation of the productivity programme,” according to a statement released by the company.

“Recent third quarter financial performance has shown the improvement that these projects are delivering.

“Baker Magunda will join Guinness Nigeria from Diageo-owned Meta Abo Breweries in Ethiopia. Under Magunda’s tenure, Meta Abo has seen the launch of the Guinness brand in the country and a strong innovation pipeline of brands brought to the market. He has nearly 20 years’ experience in the consumer goods and alcohol industry. He has worked across in Uganda and Kenya, as well as Ethiopia and the Sudan.”

Speaking on the development, the Chairman, Guinness Nigeria Plc, Mr. Babatunde Savage, said, “I will like to thank Peter (Ndegwa) for his transformational work over the past few years; he has led the business through challenging times and taken us forward. It is great to see him move on within Diageo. I will also like to use this opportunity to welcome Baker to the role. I look forward to working with him.”

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Johnnie Walker Launches ‘Jane Walker’ Whisky To Celebrate Women’s Rights

Jane Walker |

Diageo-owned whisky brand Johnnie Walker has launched a new limited edition whisky to coincide with Women’s History Month.

The label of the new Jane Walker bottles is designed in sync with Diageo’s hopes garner more female whisky drinkers, Johnnie Walker Vice President Stephanie Jacoby told Bloomberg.

“Scotch as a category is seen as particularly intimidating by women,” Jacoby said.

“It’s a really exciting opportunity to invite women into the brand.”

Jane Walker is an extension of the brand’s campaign in 2016, “Keep Walking America” which was targeted towards groups like Latinos and veterans.  The new Jane Walker labels will appear on 250,000 bottles in the US starting in March.

In addition, Diageo has announced that for every bottle made, it will donate a dollar to organizations that promote women, including Monumental Women and She Should Run.

According to Bloomberg, the London-based company is also  “calling on advertising agencies to put forward one female director as part of any work pitch,” and is working to internally to boost its female representation.
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Smirnoff X1 Rewards Loyal Customers with Branded Headsets


The world’s number one premium vodka, Smirnoff, will be rewarding customers of its Smirnoff X1 brand with new Smirnoff-branded music headsets.

Following the success of its Smirnoff X1 tour across 8 cities in Nigeria, Smirnoff X1 is launching a new campaign to reward its customers as well as boost sales for the value product.

Diageo Nigeria is teaming up with several of its major distributors including to give out Smirnoff branded-headsets to its customers. To win a headset, order two bottles of Smirnoff X1 vodka from Offer is valid while stocks last.

Smirnoff launched the newest addition to its Vodka range: The Smirnoff X1 on Saturday, 5th of November at the Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos. The unveiling coincided with its brand ambassador, DJ Spinall’s ‘TEN’ album launch.

Triple distilled, Extra smooth, the Smirnoff X1 was created with the Nigerian consumer in mind – a perfect drink for any good time. It comes in two flavours, the Smifnoff x1 original and the Smirnoff X1 Chocolate Flavoured Vodka.

Speaking at the X1 launch last year, Smirnoff Brand Manager, Toluwalashe Ogunyemi, said 

The X1 is a wonderful addition to the Smirnoff family. We are proud to say our consumers will enjoy the same great taste that they have come to associate with the Smirnoff range’


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Diageo To Increase Consumer Insight in Africa

The world’s largest premium drinks company, Diageo has paired up with UK research firm Join the Dots to increase consumer insight in Africa.

Join the Dots will ensure that Diageo’s trade presence in Africa grows beyond the +2% overall net sales in Africa as reported in the company’s most recent interim results. The key target markets are Nigeria, Kenya, Ethiopia, Ghana, and Cameroun.

“Africa represents a huge market opportunity for Diageo,” Gavin Holt, senior client director at Join the Dots said.

“It has 54 countries and a population of more than one billion people, a lot of which are between the age of 18-24.

“The research strategy has been to go straight to the mobile community to gain data insights and uncover drinking habits, bar trends and prime target ages.

“One of the issues which Diageo faces in Africa is that local brands can advertise and even launch a product in around three months, which makes it difficult for Diageo to stay on top of trends and insights.”

Join the Dots’ mobile research will look into people’s drinking habits, product testing, concept testing and bar visits. The results of the research are designed to help Diageo better understand young adult African lives in order to make better business decisions steeped in the local culture.

“The main focus for Diageo is on beer, whilst also exploring the RDT and whisky markets,” Holt added

“All research projects are designed with the intent of collecting natural behaviors and feedback, ensuring it’s also engaging for this hard to reach audience.”

A symbiosis of innovative technology and imaginative approaches have been put to use by Join the Dots in helping Diageo get closer to their African consumers more than ever before.

Diageo has within its purview premia brands like Johnnie Walker whiskey, Ciroc vodka, and Baileys Irish Cream, which are among the leading products in the African market. In Nigeria, they are the parent company of Guinness Nigeria Plc.

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Top 8 Celebrities Who Own Alcohol Brands

Diddy_Ciroc |

The drinks industry holds an allure for some celebrities considering it supports their lifestyle in many aspects – whether film stars, music artists or models.

Champagnes and alcoholic cocktails are a regular feature during award nights, while some spirit drinks are part of the creative rituals of most celebrities. While some celebrities are brand ambassadors, others have moved up the ladder to actually become owners of alcohol brands.

For some reasons, certain celebrities are investing in the booze industry and the list has been growing.

Here is a list of 8 celebrities that own alcohol brands:

Sean “Diddy” Combs

Diddy_Ciroc | www.drinks.n

Diddy’s deal with Ciroc back in 2007 resulted in the popularity of the now famous premium vodka brand Ciroc. Diddy secured a 50-50 share in profits, with a veto on which stores were to sell the grape-distilled vodka. From the $100m franchise that Ciroc had become, Diddy went on to create DeLeon Tequila in 2014, still in partnership with Diageo.


Jay-Z plunge into the drinks industry did not come by accident. The rapper, who doubles as an entrepreneur purchased the premium champagne brand, Armand de Brignac (“Ace of Spades”) from Sovereign Brands back in 2014 for the sole reason of it being his favourite champagne.


Drake has mesmerised the hip-hop culture over the years. However, the allure of the spirit industry still attracted the Canadian rapper. In 2016, the Drake teamed up with spirit mogul Brent Hocking to launch a fancy, luxury whiskey called Virginia Black Decadent American Whiskey. The whiskey was targeted to exploit the bourbon market with an easy to drink 80-proof booze.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie

In 2012, the celebrity couple (now divorced) purchased the French estate of Chateau Miraval. The land came with a vineyard which inspired the couple to launch Miraval Wines, selling its first 6,000 bottles in five hours. That success led to more productions, and while their rosé is the market leader, they also make two whites and a red.

George Clooney

Tequilas were known for their severe hangovers till George Clooney and ex-bar and nightclub owner Rande Gerber teamed up to Casamigos Tequila. The brand went on to become one of the highest selling tequila brands in the world. Spirits giant Diageo were attracted by that success and bought Clooney and Gerber’s tequila for a whopping $1 billion in 2017.

Justin Timberlake

Justin is certainly a lover of singing, dancing, and TEQUILA. In 2014, the native of Memphis, Tennessee partnered with tequila brand Sauza to launch the Sauza 901 – 901 standing for the area code of his hometown. Prior to Sauza 901, Timberlake had launched his own tequila brand in 2009. The tequila which was in partnership with Mexico-based Tequilera Newton distillery was awarded first place at a spirits competition in San Francisco by 2012.

Channing Tatum

Channing was inspired to create his Born and Bred Vodka brand in 2016 while on a vodka taste test with a friend. In partnership with Idaho-based Grand Teton Distillery, Tatum created a $25-a-bottle vodka made from glacial water and Idaho potatoes.

Adam Levine and Sammy Hagar

Maroon 5’s Adam Levine and former Van Halen vocalist Sammy Hagar had played around with the idea of mixing tequila and mescal back in 2015. The result of that hybrid was tasty enough to inspire “the world’s first mezquila,” as Levine and Hagar describe their $45-a-bottle Santos Mezquila.

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Guinness Nigeria Posts Increased Earnings in Q2 Report

Guinness Nigeria |

Guinness Nigeria yesterday posted the company’s Q2-17/18 results showing a net profit of NGN2.09 billion (vs. NGN2.44 billion loss last year).

According to the report, the net profit was possible due to continued revenue growth, better margin, and lower opex and finance charges. The net profit was equally higher compared to Q1-17/18’s NGN41.4 million but below our NGN2.70 billion estimate and the consensus expectation of NGN2.8 billion.

The giant brewer’s revenue grew by 11% y/y and 36% q/q, with sales sustained by festive demand, strong marketing effort, and relatively higher prices.

Diageo, the parent company of Guinness Nigeria Plc, in its report said that over the last quarter, the group enjoyed positive price in Nigeria. The report also states that the company’s mainstream spirits and value beer (Dubic precisely) also recorded faster growth during the period. Sales volume was reported to have grown by about 17% y/y over H1-17/18. Value beer (23% y/y), Guinness (14% y/y), Malta Guinness (6% y/y), and mainstream spirits (22% y/y) recorded net sales growth in the first half.

While gross margin remained higher relative to the last financial year (+601 bps y/y), there was a 118 bps decline compared to the first quarter. Gross margin was lower by c.650 bps and has weakened consistently since reaching record 55% in Q3-16/17, reflecting,  growing contribution of value beer and inflation of key raw materials (Sorghum to be precise).

Also worth highlighting is the opex which was lower by 12% y/y with admin and distribution expenses falling to 25% y/y and 24% y/y respectively. Marketing expenses, following strategic campaigns on Guinness, grew to 20% y/y. EBITDA margin of 15.4% was reported, significantly higher y/y, but lower by 96 bps q/q.

There was 65% y/y decrease in finance charges, comprising NGN583 million loss (NGN857 million in Q2-16/17) on foreign exchange transactions and N374 million (vs. NGN1.9 billion in Q2-16/17) related to interest expense on loans and borrowings and overdraft facilities. Compared to Q1, FX loss and interest expenses were lower by 74% and 77% respectively.

The company’s gross debt now stands at NGN12.5 billion post-Rights Issue, and the consequently reduced interest burden will remain supportive of earnings for the rest of 2018.

This post first appeared on Spirit Magazine

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Diageo’s new DRINKiQ e-learning tool to give more knowledge about alcohol

Diageo drinks brands |

Diageo, owners of Ciroc, Johnnie Walker and Baileys spirit brands, is launching a new DRINKiQ e-learning tool which will provide useful information for alcohol consumers worldwide.

The tool will help resonate the message about drinking responsibly and tackle myths about drinking alcohol by giving conusmers the right information as well as helping them make good drinking decisions.

The mobile-friendly tool is on in the UK, US and Australia, with localized versions set to be available in 20 other countries in the coming months.

The new online tool, which is the first of its kind within the alcohol industry, uses interactive learning and tests to provide consumers with information about the content of their drinks; how alcohol is made and the different ways in can affect the body; how to regulate alcohol in-take; how to pour a standard measure of spirits, wine or beer; and displays the “truth” about “common myths” about alcohol.

The DRINKiQ e-learning tool is another way Diageo is proving its commitment to helping consumers make the right decisions about choosing to drink or not to drink.

“We’re really proud of how well our DRINKiQ training has been received over the last ten years – there is clearly a desire for this kind of information, which is why we wanted to make DRINKiQ available more widely,” Carolyn Panzer, Director of Alcohol and Society, Diageo said.

“This powerful new online tool, intended to raise collective knowledge about alcohol, allows anyone, anywhere, to quickly get a handle on how drinking affects the body, and gives the tips they need to make the right choices for them.”

The company has already been providing DRINKiQ training on a face-to-face basis to selected groups around the world for over a decade. Some of the beneficiaries include members of US Congress, the Ministry of Health in countries such as Peru, law enforcement officials in countries including Thailand, taxi drivers in markets such as Ethiopia, as well as bartenders and hospitality workers globally.

Last year, Guiness Nigeria, also owned by Diageo, collaborated with the National Youth Service Corps, NYSC, to deliver DRINKiQ training sessions to NYSC officials and corps members as part of a campaign for responsible drinking.The company also donated breathalyzers to the Federal Road Safety Commission to help curb drunk-driving.

The company has also orchestrated an Age Verification Programme, sponsored the radio programme, Drink Diaries, on Lagos Traffic radio 96.1 FM all in the aim to cut down on alcohol misuse by consumers.

With the DRINKiQ e-learning tool, alcohol education will become more handy and easily accessible in Nigeria, especially with brand consciousness beginning to grow in the country.

The e-learning tool will be freely available to employers of people who serve and sell alcohol, to help them educate consumers and raise collective knowledge about alcohol.

Diageo will also make the tool available to all consumers and other companies outside of the industry, as well as introduce alcohol content and nutritional information, per typical serve, on-pack for its brands around the world.

The company also aims at supporting over 300 responsible drinking programmes in 55 countries and recruiting a million responsible drinking ambassadors by 2020.

To access DRINKiQ e-learning, please visit


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Diageo Changes Beer Business Name

history of Diageo |

Global beverage alcohol company Diageo PLC  is dropping Guinness from the name of its  U.S. beer business. The company is going to change from Diageo-Guinness USA (DGUSA) to Diageo Beer Company USA.  Following several months of strategy work to help best position the company’s U.S. beer business for the future, it was decided that the group’s name should convey Diageo’s brewing credentials and commitment to the broad category of premium beer.

Diageo, which is the world’s largest spirits maker, plans to ramp up investments in Irish beers Smithwick and Harp, which have struggled in the U.S., resulting in falling beer sales last year.

In the U.S., the company has historically plowed its money into Guinness and “alcopop” Smirnoff ice, which make up the bulk of its American business. On Friday,the company’s rep said it has “a deep innovation pipeline for beer and flavored malt beverages” including creating a new alcoholic soda line and launching a Smirnoff spiked seltzer.

Beer makes up about 20% of Diageo’s global sales but is its biggest business in Africa, where it sees the drink as a means to promote its spirits brands.

The moves in the U.S. come as beer has been losing ground to liquor and wine and as beer companies such as AB InBev NV and MillersCoors LLC have responded by expanding into alcoholic soda. Global beer head, Mark Sandys, last year noted that growth is expected to come from Africa and Asia, while the U.S. and other mature markets will be flat.

“This change truly represents a culture and mindset shift for The company’s U.S. beer business,” said Tom Day, president of the newly named Diageo unit. He said

Diageo was responding to interest from U.S. consumers in “experimenting with new styles and brands.”


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Diageo launches new variant from Haig Club

Haig Club |

Diageo launches new variant from Haig Club.

British multinational alcoholic beverages firm Diageo has introduced a new single grain scotch whisky variant from Haig Club, which was launched in 2014.

The new variant, HAIG CLUB CLUBMAN, was introduced in partnership with football star David Beckham and UK entrepreneur Simon Fuller.

This new Scotch whisky variant will be available across the UK from this month, and is priced at £25. Diageo plans to launch the new variant in other markets in the future.

According to the company, the Clubman is matured in ex-bourbon American Oak casks and like Haig Club, the liquid comes in the signature blue glass bottle. While the first variant comes in a square shaped bottle, Clubman comes in an elongated rectangular bottle.

The maker of Smirnoff and Johnnie Walker says that Clubman has a smooth and sweet taste which comes from the interaction of the single grain Cameronbridge-made Scotch whisky with vanilla, sweet toffee flavours along with butterscotch found in ex-bourbon casks.

Diageo global whisky master Ewan Gunn said: “Whilst Haig Club Clubman is delicious straight-up or on the rocks, the perfect way to enjoy this Scotch Whisky is with cola.”

“The sweet, vanilla and coconut flavours combine perfectly with the sweet caramel of cola, creating an approachable and delicious drink which is refreshing in taste and perfect in its simplicity. If you already love Scotch then you’ll enjoy this combination of flavours and if you’re new to Scotch this is the ideal introduction.”

Haig Club global marketing director Ronan Beirne said: “Clubman aligns with our long-term ambition to offer a stable of Haig Club expressions at various price points to match different occasions and consumer tastes.”