Diageo has agreed a deal with Aintree for the 2014 Grand National

Diageo has agreed a deal with Aintree for the 2014 Grand National

Diageo has upped its links with horse racing's annual Grand National Festival by becoming an "official" sponsor.

As part of the deal, the company has pouring rights for its Irish stout brand at the three-day festival, starting today (3 April), and will offer "on-course experiences" to consumers. The company will also be handing out water to race-goers to promote responsible drinking.

The deal runs until February 2015, a Diageo spokesperson told just-drinks. Financial details of the tie-up were not disclosed. 

Guinness has been stocked at the Aintree festival previously, the spokesperson said, but the new deal "marks the next stage in the brand’s relationship with the famous festival".

Last year, Diageo announced it planned to spend GBP34m (US$53m) over 12 months in a bid to revitalise Guinness in the UK. The company also indicated it is not planning to sell the brand, despite long-running speculation. 

The lead drinks sponsor of the Grand National is currently Halewood's Crabbie's Alcohol Ginger Beer, which has a three-year deal. It replaced Heineken's John Smith's bitter brand, after the Dutch brewer's nine-year deal ended last year.