Diageo said it will not sponsor this years parade

Diageo said it will not sponsor this year's parade

Diageo has pulled its Guinness sponsorship of today's (17 March) St Patrick's Day parade in New York City after organisers refused to change the event's policy on gay and lesbian groups.

The move follows Heineken's dropping of its sponsorship, and Boston Beer's exit from a South Boston parade, for the same reason on Friday. City legislators have been unable to make a deal with organisers of both parades, who have refused to allow homosexual groups to march openly.

Diageo said in a statement: “Guinness has a strong history of supporting diversity and being an advocate for equality for all. We were hopeful that the policy of exclusion would be reversed for this year's parade. As this has not come to pass, Guinness has withdrawn its participation. We will continue to work with community leaders to ensure that future parades have an inclusionary policy.”

Heineken also said it believes in equality. “For that reason, we are no longer a sponsor of today’s parade,” it said.

Meanwhile, Boston Beer said in a statement on Friday: “We were hopeful an agreement could be reached to allow everyone, regardless of orientation, to participate in this parade. However, given the current status of the negotiations, this may not be possible.”

Last year, the owner of SPI Group wrote an open letter in support of lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender groups after activists called for a boycott off SPI vodka brand Stolichnaya in protest at Russian government policies.