Diageo Chief Executive Paul Walsh has hit out at what he called "the insidious culture of not drinking" among the nation's young.
"Jesus," he told a board meeting on Tuesday, "we've tried everything, but there's simply no way we can possibly get young Irish people to consume any more Guinness than they already do". Displaying professional and functional skills which are truly world-leading, he said, Diageo possesses people performance, emotional energy and lives its values. In the face of such growth anti-retardants, said Walsh, "I just don't understand it! C'mon kids, give us a break - just get it into you!"
He went on the label children's television and youth sports clubs as "barriers to economic progress" as they did not afford kids the opportunity to drink alcohol. "Our message is simple - celebrating life, every day, everywhere. Is it too much to ask that parents keep their young children drunk for at least part of every day? Maybe between the start of the Angelus and Eastenders? It's a win-win situation."
"I mean, we're passionate about consumers, we're innovative, our curiosity and consumer insights drive growth. We care for our brands, we're courageous in pursuing their full potential. We give ourselves and each other the freedom to succeed, and because we trust each other we're open and challenging. We always behave as a team - when we're together and, more difficultly, when we're apart. We have consistently delivered value-creating top line growth in premium drinks. But we just can't get any more Guinness down young people's gullets."
The Chief Exec of Diageo, which owns Guinness and made a profit of over £2 billion last year, threw his hands up in despair and declared "It's these young kids, they just won't drink enough alcohol." He rhetorically asked the board if he was wasting his time in carrying on Guinness' proud tradition of sponsoring such youth events as the community games and U12's hurling in Ireland.
"Our market data confirms that we are reaching new consumers and new drinking occasions with our ready-to-drink products. And, we are adding to the strength of our spirits brands. If we recruit a consumer into Guinness, their consumption of chocolate milk will change, because they are drinking the brand differently. We must wipe out the chocolate milk industry."