Guinness Going Light in the Loafers. What's The World Coming To?

David Kiley

I know I'll get mail for this. But I'm sick of what I call the wussification or sissification of beer, liquor and sports.

The latest offense is news that Guinness, my beloved brewer of stout, is introducing ten, according to Impact, "easier drinking versions of its brew." The first of these Guinness lites is Brew 39, which uses less roasted unmalted barley, and hops are added at end of the brewing process. The effect is that it's less bitter and thus is supposed to appeal to more of the people opting for Chardonnay and fruitified brandy these days. It seems pub sales are down since Ireland began enforcing a smoking ban. Some lightened version of the old bitter will be rolled out every six months for a while to see what sticks.

I know I shoudn't mind. It's not like my Guinness is going away, or that I'll go to order one at a bar and all they will have is the wuss's version. But somehow it makes Guinness feel a bit less like "my brand." It's like finding out your best mate took down the "Dogs Playing Poker" picture above his basement bar, and that his new live-in girlfriend made him replace the bar with an exercise studio and put up Andrew Wyeth pictures.

This is all right up there with adding vanilla and coconut flavorings to Scotch and Cognac, and banning cigar smoking at open-air baseball and football stadiums. It's all a bit uncivilized.

Or, maybe I'm just not sensitive enough.

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