Guinness Gets Experimental With the 'Brewer's Project'

Campaign From Quaker City Mercantile Leverages Craftsmanship of Brand's Brewers

Published On
Jul 27, 2015

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Guinness began brewing beer in 1759, giving the Irish brand a more than 200-year head start on the average craft brew. But for its newest round of ads, Guinness is borrowing from the much-younger craft beer playbook with spots that tout the brand's liquid credentials and put Guinness brewers in the spotlight.

Guinness -- known for its creamy, dark-as-night Irish stout -- is also boosting the number of beers it sells, experimenting with new varieties and styles, just like craft brewers do. But as it accelerates its innovation strategy, the brand is making use of something craft brewers don't have: 256 years of brewing history that began when Arthur Guinness started making his first porters and ales in Dublin.

"We are telling a story and it's about our beer, our people and our heritage," said Emma Giles, brand director for beers in North America for Guinness-owner Diageo. Consumers "want those great stories and Guinness really is in a position to share some really interesting stories. Knowledge is currency these days."

The initiative, called the "Brewers Project," is based in a small brewery within Guinness's main operations at St. James's Gate in Dublin, Ireland. There, a team of brewers is experimenting with new beers, dusting off old Guinness recipes for inspiration while drawing upon present-day beer trends.

Leading up to the U.S. launch, Guinness recently began airing an ad called "Gates" (above) that goes behind the scenes of the St. James's Gate brewery, while showcasing people such as a third-generation Guinness barley farmer. Another new spot touts Guinness Blonde American Lager, which launched last year and is brewed in the U.S. at a brewery in Latrobe, Pa.

When the Brewers Project beers begin hitting the U.S. market this fall, Guinness will support them with a full campaign including TV and digital ads. The agency behind that effort, as well as the new ads already airing, is Quaker City Mercantile of Philadelphia. The shop worked with Guinness on the Brewers Project launch in Europe, including this ad for Hop House 13, which is touted as having "more hops, more taste and more character."

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