Red Stripe

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This article is about the beer. For the singer, see Red Stripe (Flying Pickets).
Red Stripe
Red Stripe
Manufacturer Desnoes & Geddes
Introduced 1938
Alcohol by volume 4.7%
Style Lager

Red Stripe is a 4.7% abv, pale lager brewed by Desnoes & Geddes in Jamaica. It was first produced in 1938 from a recipe developed by Paul H. Cotter (the son of founder E. P. Cotter) and Bill Martindale. It is brewed under license in the UK and USA. In 1993 Guinness Brewing Worldwide, now Diageo, acquired controlling interest in Desnoes & Geddes, so international distribution is handled by Diageo.


Bottle of Red Stripe

Red Stripe was first produced in 1938 from a recipe developed by Paul H. Cotter (the son of founder E. P. Cotter) and Bill Martindale. Originally, Red Stripe was brewed in Galena, Illinois, one hundred years before being brought to Jamaica. The Galena brewing company sold the rights to Red Stripe to two English investors in 1938, after prohibition. Red Stripe has been brewed under license in the UK by the Bedford based brewers, Charles Wells since 1976.[1] In 1985, the brand was first imported to the United States.

In 1993, 51 percent ownership in Desnoes & Geddes Limited was purchased by Guinness Brewing Worldwide, now Diageo, an acquisition that has significantly increased the international distribution of Red Stripe and Dragon Stout. A new Red Stripe Light has also been added which is brewed and bottled in Jamaica and imported by Guinness in Stamford, Connecticut.[2]

United States[edit]

In 1985, the brand was first imported to the United States with poor initial results. With an eye towards the success of Heineken, Red Stripe for export was packaged in green standard 12 U.S. fl oz (355 mL; 12.5 imp fl oz) bottles. American consumers exposed to Red Stripe through their travels to Jamaica as well as Jamaican expatriates were reluctant to try the brand in the States since it was not packaged in its distinctive squat brown bottle and painted label. This marketing issue was resolved only to have shipments temporarily suspended in January 1989 due to cannabis smuggling in shipping containers discovered in the Port of Miami.[3] Red Stripe recovered and rode the popularity of dance hall reggae in the early 1990s to well over a million cases of annual distribution. Red Stripe is a significant sponsor of reggae, ska, and other music events, including the annual Reggae Sumfest hosted in Montego Bay.

Diageo introduced canned Red Stripe, brewed under contract by Moosehead in New Brunswick, Canada, to the United States market in 2009.[4]

In the U.S. in 2010, the bottling size was reduced from a typical 12 oz. per serving to 11.2 oz. per serving.

In 2012, Diageo moved production of the U.S. supply of Red Stripe from Jamaica to the U.S.; City Brewing Co. in La Crosse, Wisconsin; in Latrobe, Pennsylvania is producing the supply. Desnoes & Geddes will still make Red Stripe for Jamaica, Brazil, Canada and Europe.[5]


A television advertising campaign launched in 2001 features a comedic Jamaican (portrayed by Dorrel Salmon) with variations on the catch phrase, "Hooray, beer!"[6] In the UK, the advertising campaign plays on the 'easy vibe' of Jamaican Beer, with catch phrases such as "easy now."


Red Stripe has been an intermittent sponsor of the Jamaica national bobsled team.[7] Other major sporting sponsorship activities have included a commitment as the Caribbean regional sponsor for the 2007 Cricket World Cup [8] and a J$100 million sponsorship commitment to the Jamaican Football Federation in support of the national team's regional qualifying efforts for the 2010 FIFA World Cup.[9]

In 2007, under the guidance of brand manager Jonny Kirkham, Red Stripe initiated a campaign in the UK to support new music by sponsoring events such as the Camden Crawl and The Great Escape festivals, as well as hosting a number of free music events with artists such as The View and The Rifles. Recent work with new bands puts this initiative in direct competition with the likes of Carling as a featured sponsor of the underground music scene. In support of this promotional strategy, the Red Stripe Music Awards were initiated between 2007 and 2010, with the winner of the award receiving featured billing at two music festivals, Blissfields and The Great Escape, and the opportunity to tour with a high profile act.[10] Winners of the award included The Runners, Ben Howard, Klaus Says Buy The Record, and The Laurel Collective, while judges ranged from musicians such as Guy Garvey, music journalists and brand representatives from Red Stripe. As a result, brand sales grew significantly with Red Stripe becoming available throughout Camden, Manchester, Glasgow, Brighton and in key music venues across the UK. During this period, Red Stripe continued to be the unofficial beer of the Notting Hill Carnival which it has been since 1976.

Writer and music festival PR Alex Lee Thomson also presented a series of web based interviews for the brand during their sponsorship periods of Camden Crawl and The Great Escape festivals in the UK, while editing their music-based website.

Red Stripe sponsors sports talk television program Pardon the Interruption during the summer months, alternating with Guinness. Also recently Red Stripe began sponsoring the International Festival of Thumb Wrestling held annually in Mason City, Iowa. Red Stripe Vice President of Marketing Randolph Samuelson II was the first black man to win this festival, and it has held a special place in his heart since he broke the colour barrier and won the championship in 1971.

Red Stripe Light has also been announced as the official beer category Major Sponsor for the 2010 Zwack Air Hockey World Championships taking place in July 2010 in Houston, Texas.[11]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]