Guinness, one of Ireland’s proudest products, has joined a handful of billion dollar earners, a survey released today has shown.
The national favourite was one of only 43 consumer brands worldwide which have yearly sales of more than $1bn.
The brewing giant, now based in London, was also just one of eight European brands among the top earners, the study by consumer analysts ACNielsen found.
Coming in at number 31, Guinness followed other multi-national brands including first place Coca-Cola, tobacco giant Marlboro and drinks firm Total Pepsi.
Its positioning proved its status as one of the world’s ‘‘mega-brands’’, said ACNielsen’s Managing Director of Global Services, Jane Perrin.
‘‘Despite a proliferation of brands in the marketplace and a focus by major manufacturers on being more global there are relatively few global mega brands out there today,’’ she said.
‘‘We looked at well over 200 brands in this study and although more than half had a global presence they just didn’t have over a billion dollars in sales,’’ she added.
Established in 1759 by Arthur Guinness, the Guinness Brewery made its first overseas exports in 1769 when 50 barrels of the black stout were shipped to England.
By 1803 the company was exporting to the West Indies and three years later Arthur Guinness’s brewery, at St James’s Gate, Dublin, was officially the largest in Ireland.
The firm continued its global march forward, issuing the first franchise to sell the stout in Australia in 1869.
More than three million barrels a year were being sold by 1920.
Sixteen years later the first overseas brewing operation, the Park Royal Brewery, opened in London.
And just five years ago the company consolidated its global position when China’s first Irish pub, O’Malley’s, opened in Shanghai with punters toasting the new bar with Guinness.
Today’s study - Reaching the Billion Dollar Mark: A Review of Today’s Global Brands - was based on data from 30 countries worldwide, including 20 major markets in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
It showed food, drink and tobacco firms totally dominated the highest-earning companies.
The top ten companies within a billion dollar plus sales range were:
* Coca Cola
* Total Pepsi
* Benson and Hedges