Guinness has faced the nightmare of having to recall a brand new product, with its new zero alcohol brew pulled from shelves just two weeks after it launched.

Guinness said that a “microbiological contamination”, warning that Guinness 0.0, which took the brewer four years to develop may be unsafe to consume.

Despite this, data and analytics company GlobalData says that while the recall is a nightmare start for the product, it does not mean Guinness 0.0 is finished.

“A product recall citing microbiological contamination in the current climate is probably one of the worst starts a new product launch can have, especially as consumers have been deeply invested in health and well-being trends during the pandemic,” said Ryan Whittaker, Consumer Analyst at GlobalData.

“Even though the products were not contaminated with COVID-19, even the smallest bad press stating ‘microbiological contamination’ may make consumers extremely nervous right now and bring along bad connotations for the future.”

“A survey by GlobalData found that 17 per cent of UK consumers described themselves as ‘extremely concerned’ about their health. While this, in itself, is high, this number shot up to 26 per cent for UK millennials —the main consumers of alcohol-free beer— with a further 37 per cent describing themselves as ‘quite concerned’.

“The survey also found that a staggering 58 per cent of UK millennials said that how a product affects their health or wellbeing always or often influences their product choice.

“One saving grace for the brand is that alcohol-free and low-ABV beers are expected to do well during the pandemic, as the category is often perceived as healthier. While it is likely that this setback for Guinness will harm the new product in the short term, the approach to Christmas may also convince many consumers to give it another try.”

Guinness 0.0 went on sale in the UK at the end of October and is due to be launched in other parts of the world in 2021.

Andy Young

Andy joined Intermedia as Editor of The Shout in 2015, writing news on a daily basis and also writing features for National Liquor News. Now Managing Editor of both The Shout and Bars and Clubs.

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