Greene King’s Carling lager plans threaten Harp revamp

Greene King has dealt Guinness a blow by putting the UK’s leading standard lager, Bass’s Carling Black Label, on sale in its pubs alongside Guinness’ Harp.

The decision by the Suffolk-based regional brewer comes despite Guinness’ decision to relaunch Harp with a stronger alcohol content and new advertising (MW January 17).

A Greene King spokeswoman says Carling Black Label and Harp will be offered to the tenants and managers in its 1,200 pub estate. They will be able to take one or both brands. “It will give our customers greater choice,” she says.

She adds the relaunched Harp has received a good response from Greene King pubs. Greene King has brewed Harp at its Biggleswade brewery since the Eighties, but this is to close. Harp will now be bought directly from Guinness.

A Guinness spokesman refuses to comment on whether the Greene King decision will harm the company’s plans to relaunch the brand: “It is up to us to make sure it does not affect it negatively,” he says.

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