Diageo Repositioning Its U.S. Beer Business
NORWALK, Conn. — Diageo is changing the name of its U.S. beer business from Diageo-Guinness USA to Diageo Beer Company USA. Following months of strategy to reposition Diageo’s U.S. beer business for the future, the company decided that the group’s name should convey Diageo’s brewing credentials and commitment to the broad category of premium beer.
“Diageo Beer Company USA will be a forward-thinking, premium beer company, rooted in our brewing heritage and focused on brands, customers and consumers,” said Tom Day, president of Diageo Beer Company USA. "While Guinness will, of course, continue to play an essential role in our beer portfolio, the new Diageo Beer Company USA name will help highlight the contributions and potential of our other great brands like Smirnoff Ice, Smithwick’s and Harp.”
The name change will take effect within the coming weeks.
Over the last few years, Diageo has focused on investing in Guinness and Smirnoff Ice — its two largest brands that currently make up the majority of the Diageo-Guinness USA business. The Guinness brand was repositioned to be known as a brewer, with a wide offering of beers to suit various tastes and occasions, Diageo reported.
Smirnoff Ice’s priority has been to ensure the brand has the right offerings for today’s consumers. New brand extensions like Smirnoff Ice Electric Flavors and the Smirnoff Ice Spiked line, new seasonal flavors and refreshed packaging are all contributing to Smirnoff Ice’s continued success, according to the company.
“We have confidence in the position of our two largest brands and are excited for what’s to come over the next year,” continued Day. “This change truly represents a culture and mindset shift for Diageo’s U.S. beer business.”
Moving forward, Diageo Beer Company USA will increase its investment in the Smithwick’s and Harp brands. It also has a long innovation pipeline for new beers and flavored malt beverages. As part of the renewed focus on its total U.S. beer portfolio, the company has lined up collaborations and new products, including:
- Partnering with renowned drinks architect Steve Grasse to create a crafted hard soda line called Quaker City Malting Co.;
- Launching a new Smirnoff Spiked Sparkling Seltzer line; and
- Creating a new, limited-release of Smithwick’s variant in conjunction with Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton, hosts of New York’s top-rated radio sports show.
“More and more, American beer drinkers are interested in experimenting with new styles and brands. That’s evident with the continued proliferation of craft beers and traditional flavored malt beverages, as well as the rise of hard sodas, spiked seltzers and ciders,” added Day. “We’re confident that those consumers will love the high quality and variety of our new offerings from Smithwick’s, Smirnoff Ice and Quaker City Malting Co., and as always, we will be encouraging consumers to enjoy our products responsibly.”