1990 commercial for Red Stripe Lager

Red Stripe is a Jamaican lager-style beer whose logo is a bold, diagonal red stripe. It is brewed by Desnoes & Geddes Limited, originally a soft drink manufacturer incorporated on July 31, 1918, by Kingston, Jamaica natives Eugene Peter Desnoes and Thomas Hargreaves Geddes. In its current formulation Red Stripe is 4.7% alcohol by volume. It is brewed in Bedford, England.

History

The first Red Stripe was brewed in the Surrey Brewery in 1928 as an ale style beer that was too heavy to suit local preferences. The current lager formulation was first produced in 1938 from a recipe developed by Paul H. Cotter (the son of founder E. P. Cotter) and Bill Martindale. The modern brewery was opened at Hunt’s Bay in 1958.

Beginning in 1976, Red Stripe has been brewed under license in the UK by the Bedford based brewers, Charles Wells and is packaged in 484 mL (17.0 imp fl oz; 16.4 U.S. fl oz) aluminum cans.

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.  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.

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.

In 2009, Harvard Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr., was invited to the White House to have beers with U.S. President Obama and Camridge, Mass., police officer Jim Crowley and to discuss their disagreement over Crowley’s arrest of Gates two weeks earlier. Gates initially said he would have a Red Stripe, but facing criticism from Boston beer fans, he changed his choice to Sam Adams Light.

Info gleaned from Wikipedia

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