Recently the folks at Guinness breweries announced that they were going to alter the 256 year-old recipe so as to make their world famous beer vegan. The beer will no longer include isinglass, a jelly-like protein scraped from the swim bladders of fish. Phew, thank god for that. I can’t tell you the number of times I have found myself spitting out blobs of swim bladder and demanding a full refund.
In honesty I can’t help but think that the time-tested adage “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” was coined for situations like this.
I have just two words for the good brewers at Guinness: New Coke.
If you are over forty, or if you have done a wee bit of research, you will be familiar with Coca-Cola’s attempt to mow Pepsi-Cola’s lawn by changing their recipe to appeal to Pepsi drinkers. Not surprisingly millions of Coke drinkers were up in arms at the change. Within a short time, the company backtracked and introduced Classic Coke trying to satisfy its market. Instead of calling it Classic, they should have been honest and marketed it as “Oops-Coke”. I know people who were Coke drinkers who to this day no longer drink It claiming it is still just not the same.
So I suggest the Guinness people think long and hard about the change they have, or will make. Don’t worry about trying to be all things to all people, if vegans balk at your brew, I think you will still do well. Whereas if you turn off your longtime consumers you may regret things as did Coke.