Special Export Stout
Brewed by St. James’s Gate (Diageo)
Style: Foreign Stout
We all know that Guinness is from Ireland, right? Well no. If you go to Nigeria and ask them about Guinness they speak of it as their own national drink. Guinness is so massively popular in Nigeria that the locals assume it must be an Nigerian beer. You might laugh at this but to be fair they do have some strong justification for these views. Guinness has a long history with Nigeria since the early 1960’s. It is brewed in the country, with local harvested products, and has a very different taste to what you can find in Dublin. It’s Guinness alright, but Nigerian Guinness.
Guinness Foreign Extra Stout was first exported by Guinness in 1801 from their famous brewery in St. James’s Gate in Dublin. Today the Foreign Extra Stout accounts for almost half of Guinness sales worldwide.
To survive the long journey overseas, which were then taken by ship, it was brewed with extra hops and a higher alcohol content, which were intended as a natural preservative for the beer. Exported in barrels, the product was then bottled locally, which helped to reduce costs. In 1827, the first official shipment of Guinness on the African continent arrived in Sierra Leone. and by the early 1960’s it had arrived in Nigeria.
By 1962, Nigeria had become the largest export market for Guinness, with around 100,000 barrels exported to the country every year. With growing demand, the company built a brewery in Ikeja in western Nigeria. It was to be the first brewery outside of Great Britain and Ireland
The Nigerian product is very different to the stuff you would buy back in Dublin. The product essentials are the same, branding and trademarks, but the inside of the bottle is different. Instead of barley, it’s typically brewed with locally harvested maize or sorghum, producing a more bitter taste which is more suited to the African palate. It is also sold in ice-cold liter-sized bottles with a 7.5 percent alcohol content boasting a higher content compared to the roughly 4-5 percent found in Guinness draught and Guinness Extra Stout.
Nigeria is very important to Guinness. The country has a massive population of 140 million, and a mostly young populace who are increasingly driven by consumer spending. it is a huge market for Guinness to tap into. In 2004, Guinness sales in Africa beat those in the United Kingdom and Ireland, making up about 35% of the global take. In 2007, Africa surpassed Ireland as the second largest market for Guinness worldwide, behind the United Kingdom, and sales have only climbed since then. So nowadays Nigerians consume more Guinness than Irish people! It is then no wonder why Nigerians talk of Guinness as a Nigerian Product.
Review: Bottle of Guinness Special Extra Stout, 7.5%ABV
Pours the expected pitch black colour with a tan whitish head that didn’t last too long, with little lacing.
The taste was powerful. Now I know why in Africa they use the slogan “Guinness gives you power!” It was a very strong tasting stout, with a long bitter aftertaste, that had a bite to it. Overall a good strong stout, tasting of roasted malt with traces of coffee. As you would expect with a Guinness stout the flavours are complex and well balanced, making it one of the worlds richest tasting beers. Still not as good as a pint of the real black stuff beside the Liffey, Dublin town.