When hearing of Ireland, Guinness is probably one of the first things you think of.
From the famous logo, to the iconic black silhouette, the thick, creamy stout has gained a reputation for being one of Ireland’s most famous exports. However, you might not be aware that Ireland isn’t actually the biggest consumer of Guinness globally…
The country that drinks even more Guinness than Ireland is Nigeria. Unexpectedly for some, the Giant of Africa loves Ireland’s stout even more than the Irish (well, in terms of quantity…).
Which African Nation Consumes more Guinness than Ireland?
How much Guinness does Ireland Drink?
To help you better understand how much of an achievement “drinking more Guinness than the Irish” is, let’s look at how much our home nation loves a pint of black!
According to data from 2011, Ireland drinks approximately 850,000,000 litres of Guinness each year. Being the defacto national drink, it’s clear that Guinness is popular in Ireland. In fact, 19% of all beer sold in Ireland is Guinness, or 1 in every 5 pints poured (although we think that might be higher in reality!).
How much Guinness does Nigeria Drink?
While there are no readily-available statistics for Nigeria, it’s widely known that the African giant drinks more Guinness than the Emerald Isle due to two key facts; first the population of Nigeria currently sits at approximately 211million and second, the country is now home to four different Guinness breweries.
Simply due to being approximately 35 times the size of Ireland in terms of population, it’s no surprise the disparity between the two nations.
Why Nigerians like Guinness
The story of why Nigerians enjoy Guinness so much is about a combination of marketing and Nigerian culture.
In 1960, Nigeria declared independence from the British Empire. And in 1962, Guinness opened their first brewery outside of the UK or Ireland, in Nigeria. At this time, tensions between the UK and Ireland were high (not as high as they would be in the future). So perhaps Nigeria’s willingness to accept Guinness can be viewed as a dig at a common enemy…
Marketing also played an enormous part in Guinness’s success in Nigeria. With campaign slogans such as “Guinness gives you power” and “Guinness for strength,” Guinness wanted to embed the idea that their stout was masculine, strong, and for real men.
They even invented a character called “Michael Power,” described as the Nigerian James Bond, to advertise it. In 2003, a feature-length Power film called “Critical Assignment” came out. When Nigerians think of Guinness, they often think of the height of masculinity: Michael Power.
However, more than marketing alone would have been needed to sell an utterly unwanted product. Nigerian food often pairs brilliantly with Guinness. With solid carbohydrates and intense meaty flavours, a bottle (we’ll get onto that later) of Guinness helps to take Nigerian cuisine to the next level in some local eyes.
Differences between Nigerian and Irish Guinness
If someone from Ireland visits Nigeria, they’ll first notice how thick the Guinness is. This is because, in the past, the only way to transport Guinness to Nigeria and stop it from spoiling was to make it strong and thick.
Remember, back in the mid-1960s, the only way to transport products or supplies from Ireland to Nigeria would have been by boat, which naturally took a long time. Since this was how Nigerians knew Guinness, it was what they had become accustomed to and enjoyed.
When Guinness started brewing in Nigeria, they used some native ingredients. Like its Irish counterpart, Nigerian Guinness also has hops and barley. But it also has sorghum – a type of grain few outside of Africa are familiar with.
Another difference is how it’s served. In Ireland, Guinness will be served in a glass at a cold temperature if you visit any pub on the Emerald Isle.
However, Nigerians prefer it in a bottle and at an even colder temperature and due to its thickness, it has a much lower freezing point.
If you’re teetotal, you don’t need to miss out! Guinness Nigeria also offers what they describe as an “adult soft drink.”
Malta Guinness is similar to regular Guinness but without alcohol. Supposedly, it gives you an energy boost, but we’re not sure how accurate this is…
Right, we’re off to the pub for more research!