Diageo to Add Craft Beer to Repertoire

by Ryan Hudak on Feb 13, 2015 in Beer
Diageo to Add Craft Beer to Repertoire

Diageo, a major producer of beer (Guinness, Harp, Red Stripe, Smithwick’s) and the world’s largest producer of spirits (with a list that probably makes up 80% of your local liquor store shelves), has decided to take a foray into craft beer with the new brewery, Thump Keg Brewing Co. It should be no secret that their macro brands are losing sales (as are all macros), and so the obvious next step would be to try out what is selling.
 
Unlike other alcohol mogul InBev, however, Diageo is actually starting from scratch—well, as ‘scratch’ as a multi-billion-dollar international company can. They are building Thump Keg from the ground up, and are actually using an interesting approach to the beers they’ll make. Each beer in the Thump Keg line will use the same grain recipe or mash bill as a popular distilled spirit from the Diageo line. For example, one of the flagship offerings, Thump Keg Rye IPA, is brewed using the same ingredients as the George Dickel Whiskey mash, and the Thump Keg Agave Amber Ale is brewed using the same blue agave as Diageo’s Peligroso Tequila.
 
Whether having such a large company in the craft beer scene will make any kind of splash—or even any kind of good beer—remains to be seen. The advertising dollars they can pump into something like this may seem infinite compared to your local start-up nanobrewery, but at least Diageo is trying. They wanted to get into craft beer, so they started a brewery and came up with some ideas of their own. They didn’t just buy an established craft brewery and say, “Hey, now we make craft beer.” So while quality remains to be seen, kudos are in order for the way they’re doing it.

And if you’re still skeptical, just imagine the barrel aging program they could have...

Photo via Thump Keg Brewing Co.


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