Guinness rises to the occasion in Nepal
The Himalayas is an unlikely spot to find an Irish theme pub, but the prospect came a step closer today with the announcement that the Mount Everest Brewery has begun brewing Guinness.
The brewery, based in Nepal, has started producing the famous stout just in time for St Patrick's Day on March 17th.
The deal between Guinness and the Mount Everest Brewery will see the Nepalese company brew and distribute the stout at 130 bars in the capital city Kathmandu.
But at first glance the Nepalese market is not likely to be the most lucrative for Guinness.
The population of Nepal drink around 29 million pints of beer each year, or just under a pint and half per head.
In Ireland the figure is around 243 pints of beer per head.
And what's more the most popular beers in Nepal are bottled lagers.
The top selling beer is San Miguel which boasts around a 40 per cent market share and which is also brewed in Nepal by the Mount Everest Brewery.
But bosses at both the local brewery and Guinness's headquarters are confident of future sales.
"Beer is becoming an increasingly popular drink in Nepal and this trend looks set to continue for the foreseeable future," said Mr Piyush Amatya, chairman of Mount Everest Brewery, adding that a stout would be an ideal complement to their lager range.
He forecast beer sales would grow by 5 per cent a year well into the 21st century.
And even if the local market takes some time to build up, the Mount Everest Brewery can probably count on tourists buying the odd bottle of Guinness which in Nepalese prices will sell at just 55p each.
Guinness' chief executive Mr Colin Storm cited the Nepalese move as an example of the company's expansion plans: "Launching in Nepal is yet another example of our core strategy to grow the Guinness Stout brand worldwide," he said.