Sightlines — Diageo Updates its U.S. Beer Brand

Michael Kiser

THE GIST
British drinks company Diageo plans to refocus its efforts in the U.S., starting with updating its U.S. brand. Formerly Diageo-Guinness USA, the company is rebranding itself as Diageo Beer Company USA. The rebrand will be followed by a number of new product launches that includes a range of hard sodas under the Quaker City Malting Co. brand. Diageo already has an established relationship with the Philadelphia-based Quaker City Mercantile, the company behind the Hendrick's Gin and Narragansett Lager brands, although this new trademark was filed by Diageo. 

WHY IT MATTERS
Amidst the whirlwind of rumors generated by the AB-InBev and SABMiller merger, there was talk that Diageo may, at some point, try and offload Guinness. While this latest move suggests a new commitment to the malt beverage, and perhaps the beer space in general, it also removes the Guinness name from the primary operation. 

It could also be a sign that, in addition to introducing new brands such as a line of hard sodas, Diageo is looking to widen its beer portfolio. With the ABI/Miller merger looking likely to complete by Oct. 10, other large brands—such as Diageo—may be looking to strengthen their portfolio in order to remain competitive. With new DOJ restrictions coming into place for ABI/Miller once the deal is complete (It's still pending amidst Brexit fallout.), this could present very different scenarios for players such as Diageo that they hadn't anticipated just a year ago. Now, they're in a position where they have to consider their own craft brewery acquisitions or new brand launches instead.

— Matthew Curtis


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Diageo Rebrands Beer Business in the US – Via The Drinks Business