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Last Updated: Monday, 8 November, 2004, 11:04 GMT
Free pint to woo back drinkers
Guinness
Total volume of Guinness sold in Ireland dipped by 6%
A brewery is offering free pints to its most loyal customers in a bid to attract drinkers back into Irish pubs.

The owners of Guinness, Diageo, have blamed the smoking ban in the Republic of Ireland for a fall in the sales of "the black stuff".

Shares in Diageo, the world's biggest drinks company, have fallen by 4% and, in the Republic of Ireland, one of the reasons could be the ban.

Since the end of March, smoking has been illegal in workplaces, including pubs and restaurants.

In September, the drinks company said that the smoking ban in pubs, restaurants and bars throughout the Republic of Ireland could be behind the fall in sales of Guinness.

The total volume of Guinness sold in Ireland dipped by 6%, the company said.

Now Diageo has written to almost every pub in Ireland asking for details of customers who are fond of the drink in order to offer them free vouchers.

Pub regulars will receive two vouchers to use in their local.

If one of my regulars is seen sitting in the bar getting a free pint, and the man next to him has to pay, it could cause some consternation
Joe Galvin
Cork Vintners' Association

Jean Doyle of Diageo said while the smoking ban had affected sales, the popularity of Guinness had declined in recent years.

The voucher scheme - taking place in about 10,000 pubs - would be beneficial to publicans because they knew their customers and wanted to see them coming back, she said.

"We want to encourage Guinness drinkers to go out to meet friends and family in their pub."

She said the aim was to build a campaign based on feedback from publicans and consumers.

Customers' details will only be passed on with their consent and the scheme may be repeated up to four times a year.

Cork bar owner Joe Galvin said the scheme would be a good move if it got people into pubs.

Mr Galvin, who is also secretary of the Cork Vintners' Association, said: "But if one of my regulars is seen sitting in the bar getting a free pint, and the man next to him has to pay, it could cause some consternation."




SEE ALSO:
Smoking ban 'hits Guinness sales'
02 Sep 04 |  Northern Ireland
Feeling OK? Have a 'pint'
11 May 04 |  Northern Ireland
Last orders for London Guinness
15 Apr 04 |  Business



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