Diageo plans to invest over AU$300,000 (US$269,000) in its Guinness brand in Australia during St Patrick's Day celebrations.

The company said today (6 February) that, throughout next month, over 50,000 Guinness-branded hats will be given out to consumers in 800 venues across Australia in an effort to drive consumer awareness.

"Outdoor banners and Guinness branded t-shirts for bar staff in supporting venues, as well as high visibility display materials," will also feature as part of the St Patrick's Day investment, the company said. 

Diageo Australia's group marketing manager for Guinness Jonathan Curnow said: "St Patrick's Day is the most important day of the year for Ireland's favourite stout and the trade can expect to see increased brand visibility and activity leading up to the day and continuing for the remainder of March. St Patrick's Day is an opportunity for key retail customers to enjoy incremental sales from the Guinness brand."

The "Great Guinness Pour" Trade Competition will see bar staff judged in state heats nationwide in the lead up to St Patrick's Day with state winners flown to Sydney for the national final on 3 March. The company added that the national champion for the contest will win AU$1759 to symbolise of the year Guinness was established in Ireland.