Five brilliant failures from the creator of Baileys

5th September, 2017 by Patrick Schmitt

Distilling Guinness

Picture source: ‘That S*it Will Never Sell!’

“There are times in a career when you have an idea, inspect it, and marvel at its pure simplicity,” writes Gluckman.

Speaking about his Distilled Guinness brand, which he describes as “possibly my favourite idea ever”, he says that “Everything came together in a few seconds and the solution appeared to be perfect. Unfortunately, I was the only person who felt that way. So this new drink never materialised.”

Gluckman’s light bulb moment occurred just after the merger betwseen IDV and GuinnessUD in 1997 when the newly-combined company’s technical team met to consider the creation of a Guinness whisky.

Having attended a “large gathering” to discuss the idea, Gluckman told the attendees “that to be true to the Guinness DNA you would need to do an Irish whiskey” which presented a problem.

The supplies of Irish whiskey were mostly owned by competitor business Pernod Ricard, and so, he writes, if the new company (Diageo) bought whisky from Pernod, it would be “using the powerful Guinness name to take business from its Scotch whisky.”

Continuing, he records, “And then it happened… if you know anything about whisky distillation you realise that the first stage in the process is fermentation. You actually make a beer – and then you distil it. That was the answer. We wouldn’t do a Guinness whisky at all. We would simply take Guiness and distil it.”

Sadly for Gluckman, however, the idea “vanished into the maw of what was becoming an enormous corporation and was never seen again. Well not in my time.”

Nevertheless, he adds, “I remain convinced that the idea of distilled beer is a very exciting proposition.”

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