Guinness to Tap the Luxury Beer Market

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Buying the newest Guinness brew entails Champagne tastes and a little more than your standard beer budget. Diageo executives told that in early November, the brand will launch its first in a line of "limited edition luxury beers." A formal announcement is expected Thursday.

The convergence of several market trends—namely, rising demand for premium beers, growing consumption in fine dining settings, and broader consumer palates—has finally warranted bringing some of their experiments to market, said Doug Campbell, Guinness brand director. The 1759, as the first Signature Series beer is called, is a dramatic departure from your standard Guinness. The 9 percent ABV amber ale is based on a 200-year-old recipe using a blend of traditional beer malt and peated whisky malt (from Diageo's spirit brands), along with Guinness yeast. It arrives in a black cage-and-cork topped bottle, inside a velvet-lined box. Its price is luxe, too: A 25.4-ounce bottle retails for $34.99. Guinness will produce just 90,000 bottles of the upscale brew to be sold in retail stores, bars and restaurants starting in early November.


-- Kelli B. Grant, CNBC