Irish Minister for Agriculture, Food and The Marine, Simon Coveney TD, has commended Guinness Nigeria’s commitment to the high quality standards which distinguishes the iconic Guinness stout, 256 years after it was first brewed at St. James’s Gate in Dublin – Ireland by the legendary Arthur Guinness. Guinness Foreign Extra Stout, the flagship beer brand of Guinness Nigeria and the best loved stout brand globally, is of Irish heritage.
Coveney said this during a tour of the Ogba Brewery of Guinness Nigeria, located in Ikeja, Lagos, the commercial nerve centre of Nigeria. The brewery tour by Ireland’s most influential minister is significant because it indicates support and firm belief in the Nigerian business by senior leaders of the company’s country of origin.
The Irish Minister for Agriculture, Food and The Marine also formally unveiled Guinness Africa Special, a variant of Guinness stout with natural herbs, spices and ginger grown in Africa, and with a packaging that proudly projects African roots and creative spirit.While unveiling the new brand, he stated that he is most proud of Guinness Nigeria because of its reputation for high quality standards, best-in-class processes, and innovation. Guinness Nigeria is a Nigerian company doing its Irish heritage proud.
“What makes this even more special for me personally is the rich heritage that the Guinness Brand has in Ireland dating back to the 1700s and how much Nigeria has made this iconic brand their own national beer over many years. So much that I hear Nigerians will tell you as many stories about the perfect pint as an Irish man will!
“The launch of new Guinness Africa Special just over 50 years since the brewery was built here in Lagos marks a pivotal next chapter in the development of Guinness in Nigeria,” Coveney enthused.
In his welcome remark, Chairman of Guinness Nigeria Plc, Babatunde Savage, said Guinness Nigeria is home of the first Guinness brewery outside of Ireland and Great Britain. After the historic brewing of Guinness Foreign Extra Stout in Nigeria on the 30th of November 1962, opportunities opened up for the brewing of Guinness Foreign Extra Stout in other parts of the world and today, the brand sells over 10 million glasses daily.“We are proud to be one of the biggest market for Guinness stout, and a major part of the inspiring 256-year history of the brand. Worthy of note is the positive mention Nigeria gets anytime the exciting story of how a unique Irish stout became the best-loved stout brand and the most recognisable beer in the world is told.”
He added that in the truest tradition laid by Arthur Guinness in Ireland, Guinness Nigeria is not just about profit. “At the same time as we were commissioning our first Guinness brewery in Nigeria just a few 100 metres from where we are standing today, we opened our first Guinness Eye Centre in Kaduna, Northern Nigeria as a centre of excellence for eye care in West Africa. Since the opening of that facility, we have built and donated two other eye centres to our teaching hospitals in Lagos and Onitsha and we continue to support these institutions annually to make them a reference point for eye care and the training of doctors specialising in this area. Our business today is owned not just by Diageo but also by over 70, 000 other Nigerians and we create wealth for this population by managing the business in line with global best practice.”
On his part, the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Guinness Nigeria Plc, Peter Ndegwa, said “We are an iconic Nigerian company with Irish heritage.Today, we are regarded as a clear leader in innovation not only in our industry but also across the manufacturing sector. We launched Orijin, the highly acclaimed herb and fruits flavoured beverage which has won several laurels both within Diageo and externally as an exceptional innovation almost two years ago. The brand which the Minister unveiled a few minutes ago, Guinness Africa Special, is our most recent innovation and is brewed in line with Diageo’s high quality standard from the heritage of Guinness stout with African herbs and fruits. Guinness Africa Special is a 5% ABV stout made with herbs and spices grown on our soil for a vibrant, refreshing taste that is alive with our African spirit and the distinct Guinness quality.”
Ndegwa, who disclosed that he is excited about the future of Guinness Nigeria Plc and its outstanding portfolio of brands, said the company is committed to increasing the percentage of local raw materials usage which has grown from 28% to 43% in the last year to 75% in the next couple of years. This, he said, will accelerate growth within the agricultural sector in Nigeria while also bringing wider benefits to society as a whole.