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Todd Stevenson, manager of Guinness and Harp brands for Guinness Import Co., is in a giving mood.

Guinness' promotion, the "Win Your Own Pub in Ireland" contest, drew a stunning 31,000 entries last year. This year, Guinness has received more than 45,000 passionate replies-the winner takes ownership of Kilgoban Pub in Bantry, West Cork, Ireland.

In the last two years, the beer industry has grown by 17%. So Mr. Stevenson, 33, decided to educate the consumer about what the Guinness brand is with this contest. Every entry card contained a history of the brand, the brewing process and the brand's Irish roots.

To enter, beer drinkers submit 50 words describing their most memorable pint of Guinness.

"This gets consumers to think about what the brand means to them," Mr. Stevenson says.

Guinness plans to use the entries in print ads, and will print the top 10 entries in a newsletter distributed to retailers. All entrants will receive further brand information by mail.

The contest is a big reason behind a 20% distribution growth for Guinness. In addition to the contest, the marketer relies on ads from Weiss, Whitten, Stagliano, New York, to convince consumers that drinking Guinness is a multifaceted experience.

Mr. Stevensen notes that consumers are more health conscious and drinking less, so they're more concerned with the quality of their beer.

"Guinness is perfectly positioned to take advantage of these changing trends," he says, adding that a pint of Guinness on draught has the same amount of calories as a pint of skim milk.

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