Diageo will begin rolling out its new Guinness Red brand in central England from September, following successful trials in the country.

The company said today (30 August) that it plans to launch Guinness Red, which is made from a lighter roasted barley, in the central England on-trade and select managed on-trade outlets nationwide. Diageo noted, however, that there are currently no plans to launch the beer into the UK off-trade.

The new brand will be targeted at occasional Guinness drinkers, who only drink a pint a few times a year on occasions such as St Patrick's Day and at rugby matches, the company said.

The drink was trialled in 141 Mitchells & Butler pubs throughout the UK prior to its launch. The company added that these pubs saw a rise in both Guinness sales and overall beer sales, which grew by an average of 4.3%.

Guinness Red senior innovation manager Simon Garnett said: "The results of the trial shows there is definitely an appetite for Guinness Red amongst consumers; test outlets sold at least one keg of Guinness Red each week throughout the trial period with minimal cannibalisation of Guinness Draught sales."

The launch will involve a heavyweight marketing campaign, including in-bar visibility, branded glassware and Guinness Red founts, which will be brought in to distinguish from its brother and sister brands, Guinness Draught and Guinness Draft Extra Cold.

In the New Year, Diageo plans to push the brand with an above-the-line campaign and expand on Guinness Red's availability in the country.

Guinness Red will be priced in line with other Guinness variants, said the company.

Diageo initially revealed plans to launch Guinness Red last October, in a move that followed growing criticism over the brand's performance in the UK and Ireland. Volumes in the UK were down 1% in the year to 30 June 2006, while in Ireland they slumped 8%.