Diageo is to begin a trial of its Guinness Red stout in 142 Mitchells & Butlers pubs in the UK.

The drinks giant's UK unit confirmed today (25 January) that trials of the Guinness brand addition will begin next month.

"While Guinness Red is still very much in the initial test phase, we expect it to be enjoyed by less regular consumers of Guinness," said Simon Garnett, senior innovation manager for Guinness Red.

For the test, Diageo GB said it has created a specially-designed fount for Guinness Red to distinguish it from standard Guinness and Guinness Extra Cold. The red version will be priced in-line with its stablemates, the company added.

Following the trial, a decision will be made as to whether Guinness Red will be officially launched in the UK.

Diageo 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, while in Ireland they slumped 8%.