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Obama effect fails to lift Irish Guinness sales

Pictures of the president sipping Diageo’s stout during his May visit have failed to stop sales falling in the republic or the north

Pictures of President Obama downing a pint of the black stuff in front of the world’s cameras have failed to improve sales of the famous stout in Ireland.

The US president downed a pint of the black stuff in a pub in Moneygall during his visit to Ireland in May. Marketing experts said the publicity would be worth millions, but it does not seem to have paid off in Ireland, at least.

Diageo, the company that makes Guinness, warned on Thursday that there may be further job losses in Ireland as drinks sales continued to slide.

The firm, which also owns Bushmills whiskey, issued the warning after sales of its drinks in both Northern Ireland and the republic fell by 3% this year.

Earlier this year in May Diageo shed 400 jobs at St James’s Gate in Dublin, its original Guinness brewery.

Yet despite falling demand for the famous stout in Europe, Diageo’s overall global profits increased by £21m this year. Diageo attributed this to rising sales in Africa and South America.

Sales of Guinness have increased in the developing world by 10%, although they have fallen across north and south Ireland by 6%.

Ireland’s recession is taking a heavy toll on the drinks market, as sales of alcohol fall across the board, but especially in pubs.

Andrew Morgan, European president of Diageo, said sales of Guinness were very dependent on the pub trade, which has taken a massive hit as Irish consumers have less disposable income.

Bushmills whiskey’s global sales were up 9%. According to the annual report, that was mainly because of a 29% net sales increase in Russia and Eastern Europe.

Diageo employs 1,700 people in Dublin, Dundalk and Kilkenny and in its Bushmills plant in County Antrim.

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