For once, there’s a somewhat ‘positive’ story about Nigerians in the News, and that’s in today’s Guardian. Whoohoo!!! And for those of you who can’t be asked to click on the above link, where’s the whole piece:
Why Nigerians love their ice-cold Guinness
Monday September 3, 2007
Last week it emerged that more Guinness is guzzled in Nigeria than in Ireland, the birthplace of the dark stuff. With 18% growth in the last year, Nigeria comes second only to the UK as the drink’s largest market. True enough, but the beverage Lagosians are busy swilling by the crateful is a very different beast to the pint you get from the tap in Britain or Ireland.For a start, there’s the taste. Nigeria’s Guinness is a thick, treacly tipple a bit like cold Horlicks with a shot of Bovril in the bottom. This is partly because it is descended from the original Dublin-brewed Foreign Extra stout, made extra-alcoholic and extra-thick to keep during long sea voyages, and partly because, well, that’s how Nigerians like it.
Nigerian cooking features solid carbs, chunky meat and bold flavours. A subtle and fragrant pint will not do well in an environment where a whole roast chicken in chilli soup is viewed as a small pre-dinner snack.Second, it’s not draught – while Guinness fans in the UK will insist that the perfect pint is all about the pouring, in Nigeria it’s all bottled. And it’s served cold, cold enough to horrify any British real ale purist. Third, it’s not Irish. Although everywhere else in the world Guinness is synonymous with Dublin, tell this to a Lagosian and you are more likely to hear a bemused, “Oh, do you people have it over there too?”
The malty aromas hanging over the vast brewing plant on Lagos’s Oba Akran Avenue come not only from hops and barley but also from sorghum grown on the southern fringes of the Sahara desert. And while we are looking at differences, the brew is not usually called Guinness either. You are more likely to hear a tubby evening boozer bellow for a “large stout” or, less frequently, a “small stout”.
Although Nigerians are not the biggest boozers in Africa – that distinction usually goes to neighbouring Cameroon – they are uncommonly fond of Guinness. So why is this? Partly, the new growth in sales is to do with Guinness’s distinctive advertising, which leads the pack in a fast-evolving Nigerian media market.
Guinness’s recent television campaigns have mapped out a series of carefully scripted glossy mini-sagas, essentially skits on the frustrations of everyday life. But more than that, it’s because Guinness, once Dublin’s contribution to the colonisation of West Africa, is now firmly a part of Nigerian culture. As you will see in many London off-licences, it’s one that we’re now busily re-importing.