BEAMISH is no longer sold anywhere outside Ireland because its new owners, Heineken, are “focusing on the domestic market”.
Since Heineken first announced its plans to take over Beamish from Scottish and Newcastle last year, it was at pains to stress it would not change the position of Beamish Stout in the market. However, the brewer appears to have demoted the Cork product.
Declan Farmer of Heineken said, when Beamish was owned by Scottish & Newcastle, it was its international stout offering and was operating in a number of markets.
“However, now Beamish as a brand is to be focused in the domestic market. The focus is to drive the brand in the Irish market north and south. The international strategy will come later.”
“With the wider distribution platform that Heineken has we will bring the brand as far as we can in the domestic market.”
The decision to withdraw the product from the international market has met with opposition, particularly with ex-pats living abroad.
Diarmuid Hurley is from Ireland but lives in Madrid. “I occasionally visit the Irish bars in Madrid, the majority of which are in a Heineken-owned franchise where Guinness is the Irish stout. There were, however, well over a dozen independent bars which served Beamish in great quantities.
“The very first thing that Heineken did when it took control of Beamish was to stop its sale in Spain and to offer only Guinness. The Guinness in Spain is made in Spain by Heineken, who have a deal with Guinness owners, Diageo, for its production and distribution of that world-famous beer in the Iberian market.
“As for Murphy’s Irish stout, it is not promoted in Spain either, instead Heineken offer only Murphy’s Irish Red Beer, a Dutch creation, in their so-called Irish bars.
“In one bar in the centre of Madrid, called Dubliners, before the takeover they sold a pint of Beamish for €4.10 then practically overnight, it was replaced by Guinness at a hungry price of e5.50 a pint. Likewise in other so-called Irish bars they have hiked the Guinness prices since the takeover.
“Maybe Heineken can try to justify these price hikes to themselves but one thing is for sure: How can it cost €1.40 more a pint if they are making the Guinness in Spain with cheaper labour costs and relatively no shipping compared to the Beamish, which was coming all the way from Cork?”
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