It took a mere dozen days into 2011 for the first brewing industry consolidation rumour to emerge, or rather, in this case, re-emerge. Yes, that old chestnut is with us yet again: Diageo is looking to divest itself of Guinness.
Honestly, this is the rumour that refuses to die, having poked its nose out first well over a decade ago, and nothing, not even the news that the company has just named a global category director for beer, will put it to rest. This time around, the suspected suitor is SABMiller, for whom, it must be said, the addition of the Guinness portfolio of brands would be a nice fit, thank you very much.
But despite Diageo’s problems with its flagship stout and the company’s comparatively minor holdings in the beer brands department – certainly in comparison with such heavyweights as SABMiller and Anheuser-Busch InBev – don’t look for divestment to be occurring any time soon. Yes, SABMiller may be on the hunt for new properties, but wanting something and obtaining it are two very different things.