Is China after the secret of Guinness?

July 21, 2009

DIAGEO/Is Beijing trying to get its hands on the secret brewing recipe for Guinness?

China’s sovereign wealth fund has bought a 1.1 percent stake — worth around 240 million pounds — in drinks group Diageo, which owns the legendary Irish stout.

China isn’t yet among the top five markets for Guinness — although Johnnie Walker whisky is apparently a favourite — but the stout does already feature among Diageo’s top brands in South East Asia and Japan.

Officials at China Investment Corp (CIC) probably felt like a stiff drink or a long pint of Guinness after the roasting the fund got for the performance of its investments in Blackstone and Morgan Stanley.

And while its investment in Diageo won’t buy CIC the secret to the Guinness recipe, it should guarantee its officials a warm welcome when they visit the historic plant in Dublin.


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