Diageo has insisted that the new mid-strength Guinness has "exceeded expectations" in the six weeks since its launch in Ireland. The UK drinks giant was responding to reports in Ireland that the 2.8% abv Guinness had failed to take off as drinkers shunned the beer.

The UK drinks giant was responding to reports in Ireland that the 2.8% abv Guinness had failed to take off as drinkers shunned the beer. Reports suggested that drinkers in Limerick - where the brand is being tested - did not want to pay the same price as a pint of standard Guinness but for only half the alcohol.  

However, Paul Norris, marketing manager for Diageo Ireland, said consumers had "readily accepted" the brand and appreciated having more choice.

"Consumers are drinking Guinness Mid-Strength on occasions when they want to reduce their alcohol consumption. For some this is mid-week; for others it's on match days and more again, choose it when drinking during the day," Norris said.

"Guinness Mid-Strength's test launch is being conducted in a wide range of pub types and we anticipate that the product will do better in some pubs than others. As with any other product test, the results will inform our decisions on where best to distribute Guinness Mid-Strength in the future."