MICHAEL LYONS SALES MAN­AGER, DI­A­GEO IRE­LAND

Irish Examiner - Supplement - - JAZZ 40 -

As Re­gional Sales Man­ager with Di­a­geo for Mun­ster, my role in­volves sell­ing our broad port­fo­lio of beer and spir­its brands to our on­trade pub­li­can cus­tomers. Most peo­ple would say ‘how dif­fi­cult can that be, sell­ing Guin­ness to con­sumers in Ire­land?’.

Some­times it is chal­leng­ing but mostly it is re­ward­ing and so much fun. I get to ex­pe­ri­ence some of the most pop­u­lar events in sport through our spon­sor­ships of Pro14 and Au­tumn Se­ries Rugby, I get to see some of the most iconic acts in mu­sic through our as­so­ci­a­tion with Live @ The Mar­quee and I get to drink great pints of Guin­ness in some of the best pubs in Ire­land. How­ever, the high­light of the year is al­ways ‘The Jazz’.

I grew up in Vic­to­ria X and in my twen­ties I have vivid mem­o­ries of fa­mous Jazz Fes­ti­val Satur­day nights in Jurys Ho­tel on Western Road. The place to be was the ball­room at the rear of the ho­tel. We needed early pa­tience as the queues were so long but when we got in we were free to have all our ex­cite­ment and an­tic­i­pa­tion ful­filled. The mu­sic was magic, the place was full of friends or ac­quain­tances and the en­ergy in the room was in­fec­tious. We would do the pub trail on a Sun­days start­ing in DeLacy House and end­ing late at The Met. It al­ways rained (or so it seemed) but we didn’t care, it was all about the mu­sic, the pubs and most of all meet­ing friends in a town that we called home.

As we in Di­a­geo plan for Jazz Fes­ti­val each year, I am acutely aware of my re­spon­si­bil­ity to keep the tra­di­tion and the high stan­dards, I am sur­rounded by bril­liant brand, com­mer­cial and spon­sor­ships col­leagues on the fes­ti­val team and our first thoughts are about the con­sumer ex­pe­ri­ence. We have a gen­uine de­sire to make it the most mem­o­rable Jazz ever for visi­tors. We try to in­tro­duce new ini­tia­tives each year as it must evolve to grow.

Of course we also want our iconic brand to con­nect with con­sumers. We be­lieve Guin­ness stands for more than great beer. From the ir­re­press­ible spirit of Arthur Guin­ness, through the pi­o­neer­ing Gil­roy ad­ver­tis­ing in the 1920’s, the wid­get can in the 1980’s, Guin­ness Store­house in 2000 and Arthurs Day in 2009, Guin­ness has al­ways pushed bound­aries to de­liver some­thing bold. For me, Guin­ness Jazz stands shoul­der to shoul­der with all th­ese mile­stones in the brands’ his­tory.

As a Cork­man, I am so proud of it and I will be as ex­cited as all the other rev­ellers as I get out of my taxi out­side the Opera House for the grand open­ing on Fri­day.

Dee Dee Bridge­wa­ter plays the Every­man on Sun­day.

ECLEC­TIC MIX: Nicholas Pay­ton, Every­man, Satur­day; King Kong Co, Opera House, Sun­day; June Ta­bor/Quer­cus, Triskel, Satur­day.

Michael Lyons, Trade Sales Man­ager Di­a­geo. Pic­ture: Michael Mac Sweeney/Pro­vi­sion

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