Ten years ago, Nigeria overtook Ireland as the second biggest Guinness market in the world, coming behind the United Kingdom.
No much surprise there considering Lagos as the first place outside the UK that a Guinness brewery was established in 1962 – two years after Nigeria’s independence.
So how did the dark, rich, tangy porter beer become such a big deal in Africa’s most populous nation?
How Guinness stout journeyed
First brewed by Arthur Guinness in Dublin in 1759, the stout has moved from a local favourite in Ireland to global popularity.
Why Nigerians love Guinness Stout
Neighbours Cameroon comes a place after Nigeria as the fourth-biggest market for Guinness but here arefive reasons why Nigerians have found love with the beer:
Guiness boasts of a unique mix of roasted, malted barley, hops, yeast and water that makes up for its rich taste. Many believe that Nigerians love sugary things, and beer is not the sweetest of sugary beverages. However, the smacking taste of a cold bottle of Guinness Stout is something that Nigerians won’t exchange for anything else.
Significantly, the Guinness Foreign Extra Srout in Nigeria is different in taste to others. Since the ban on the import of foreign barley in 1990, the local brewery has turned to local farmers for sorghum and maize in the production of the beer.
What it represents
Guinness represents a show of strength, which is something African (Nigerian) men love. The advertising campaign which featured fictional character Michael Power played a great role in getting Nigerian men to love the beer.
The zenith of that campaign was the 2004 film, Critical Assignment, which featured ‘Michael Power’ along with top Nollywood actors is another motivating factor why the beer is loved in the country.
The campaign ads
When it comes to campaign ads targeted at expanding their market in Nigeria, and Africa as a whole, Guinness has always had the upper hand.
The Michael Power exploits campaign went long miles, and then came the Guinness Greatness campaign. Recall that favourite intro line “My friend Udeme is a great man?” The name is ‘Udeme’ is a Nigerian name from the Ibibio name which means ‘my share’ or ‘my portion.’ That alone gingered Nigerians to go for larger shares of Guinness stout.
Then came the ‘Made of Black’ campaign which does not just emphasize the dark richness of Guinness, but also the uniqueness of the melanin-filled people of the continent. How does this work? It is easy to love something that looks like you. Not so?
Just because Nigerians love beer
Beer makes up just 16% of alcohol consumption in Nigeria, which means drinkers in the country consume approximately 12.28 litres a year. That statistics puts Nigeria at the top of the list of highest consuming beer countries in Africa. Quite significantly, Guinness Foreign Extra Stout is in the top three of the most consumed beers in Nigeria.
Is it medicinal?
Something about the slightly bitter taste of Guinness has convinced most Nigerians that it has medicinal benefits. It is not out of place to see a Nigerian, especially ladies, having a bottle of Guinness just to combat stomach aches. When a people believe that something is beneficial to their health, it is easy for them to love it.