It warned that cans of the new Guinness 0.0 drink, which took four years to develop, may be “unsafe to consume” and advised people who had purchased the alcohol-free beer to dispose of it or return it to where it was bought.
The contamination is understood to have occurred during the production process at its St James’s Gate brewery in Dublin and tests are being carried out to establish the cause. In the meantime, production and canning has been halted.
A Guinness spokesperson said: “As a precautionary measure we are recalling Guinness 0.0 in Great Britain because of a microbiological contamination which may make some cans of Guinness 0.0 unsafe to consume.
“The issue is isolated to Guinness 0.0 and does not impact any other Guinness variants or brands. If you have bought Guinness 0.0 do not consume it. Instead, please return the product to your point of purchase for a full refund. We are sorry that this has happened.” Consumers are being directed to a Q&A on the Guinness website.
The spokesperson said that as a new product there were relatively few cans on the market but would not say how many.
Guinness 0.0 went on sale at the end of October in 4x440ml can packs in off-licences and in Waitrose and Morrisons supermarkets, with plans for it to be rolled out to other retailers. It was due to become available on draught in pubs next spring and to be launched in other parts of the world later in 2021.
The new drink was launched to tap into consumers’ growing appetite for no- and low-alcohol options. Even before lockdown, an increasing number of brewers were offering more no- and low-alcohol alternatives, while Covid-related restrictions have increased consumers’ thirst for hangover-free options as drinking habits have become home-based.