Guinness recalls new non-alcoholic stout in ‘precautionary’ move

Microbiological contamination may make some cans unsafe to drink, says Diageo

Diageo has been forced to recall its just-released alcohol-free Guinness from the British market just days before it was due to go on sale in Ireland because of a “microbiological contamination” which may make it dangerous to drink.

The product was only launched three weeks ago after being four years in development.

The company was prompted to add a non-alcoholic stout to its beer portfolio in response to consumer demand which has seen the market for such beers surge in recent years.

Its development team was optimistic it had created a product that was broadly in line with traditional Guinness. However, the widespread recall will be seen as a major embarrassment for the stout maker.

It had been looking forward to a broader roll out of cans of 0.0 Guinness in Ireland in the coming days. The plan was then to make the product available on draught in pubs in the new year.

The company said the recall was a “precautionary measure” as the microbiological contamination “may make some cans of Guinness 0.0 unsafe to consume”.

A spokeswoman stressed that the issue was isolated to the alcohol-free stout and “does not impact any other Guinness variants or brands”.

While there is not likely to be many people in Ireland in possession of the cans of the new stout, anyone who does have one is being encouraged to dispose of it.

The innovation brewery team at St James’s Gate in Dublin 8 spent the last four years on the project, working closely with the Guinness Open Gate Brewery, where all such beers are created.

It is initially brewed in the same vats as regular Guinness with the alcohol subsequently removed through a process of cold filtration.

Diageo had looked at other options but discounted a more commonly used method of boiling the alcohol out on the basis that it wanted to make sure the non-alcoholic version “had the same look and feel and the same aromas and the same surge and settling”as regular Guinness.

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