Saturday, September 1, 2007

From Jamaica: Red Stripe

Red Stripe is a lager style beer brewed by the Desnoes & Geddes Brewery in Kingston, Jamaica. When the brewery first opened in the former British colony in 1928, Red Stripe was more of a traditional red ale, but sales of the heavy beer never gained any substantive momentum, and the ale was discontinued in favor of a lager in 1938. The new lighter lager was much better suited to the Caribbean climate and tastes, and the new Red Stripe lager became the best selling local beer in Jamaica. It is presently owned by the Diageo brewing concern and is distributed by Guinness.

Historically, Red Stripe has been bottled in a bottle known as a stubby. It is short and squat with a short neck. The Red Stripe stubby is brown and features a painted red and white label. But for some inexplicable reason, when Red Stripe was first exported to the U.S. in the 1985, the brewery switched to packaging its beer in a green long neck bottle. The results were less than satisfactory, to say the least, and it wasn't until the brewery decided to stay true to its traditional brown stubby and discard the green long neck that sales began to pick up.

Today, Red Stripe relies on aggressive advertising to maintain sales. Its motto is direct, "hooray beer!" and the brewery spends a lot of money in an effort to represent itself as an integral part of Jamaican culture, regularly sponsoring reggae festivals, the Olympic Jamaican bobsled team, and the like, generally attempting to ingratiate itself in the world-wide public perception of Jamaica as a destination of smooth, relaxed times.

To read my complete review of Red Stripe, please click HERE>>>

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