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Diageo raises glass to local woman behind new Guinness brand

Peye231015mm02_42 USE MEA Northern Ireland woman has been recognised by global drinks company Diageo for the key role she played in the launch of the newest Guinness brand, Hop House 13.

Niki Maccorquodale was named the overall winner of Diageo Europe President’s Club 2015 – a prestigious in-house competition in which she beat off stiff competition from 15 other hopefuls in countries across Western Europe.

Niki, who is originally from Magherafelt and now lives in Belfast, is the European Senior Innovation Manager for the company’s beer department and was acknowledged for being the brains behind Hop House 13, the new lager from Guinness which was launched in Ireland earlier this year.

Chris Lock, Head of Europe Innovation Diageo said: “Niki was nominated for the superb leadership role she played in the highly successful launch of Hop House 13. She was central to the running of the project, leading the development and delivery of one of the most successful beer launches in Ireland in decades. She put everything she had into Hop House 13 – and really made it her own.”

Niki said: “Being selected for President’s Club 2015 is an honour in itself and I am delighted and thrilled to have been selected as the overall winner, and to accept the award on behalf of Marketing and Innovation.”

Niki joined Diageo in 2012 and was based in London for 18 months before moving home to Ireland last year. She is now based in the brewery at St James Gate, Dublin. She found the history, heritage and global popularity of many of the Diageo brands very appealing and wanted to help secure and grow their futures.

She said: “It may be a bit of a cliché – but no two days are ever the same when you work in innovation. I’m often running a couple of projects simultaneously and where I am in the development process dictates what my week looks like. I could be organising ideation workshops, attending consumer groups, reviewing packaging designs, presenting to customers or be in the Pilot Brewery tasting our brewers’ latest creations – definitely a highlight for me!”

Niki believes that there has never been a more exciting time in beer. “There’s a completely new energy in the beer market – fueling recovery, renewed interest and most importantly growth. The explosion of new beers on the market means more new and willing people than ever are interested in drinking beer. We welcome this renewed interest in beer – this is great news for everyone in the beer business!”

She says: “Working in Diageo’s innovation team makes me feel like an entrepreneur in a start-up business, with the support of one of the biggest brands in the drinks’ industry. The Hop House 13 venture had an ambitious timeframe but the company ensured we had the right people, investment and focus to make it a great success.

“The best part of my job is helping keep Diageo’s brands at the forefront of consumers’ minds. It’s great to walk into a pub and see a group of target customers drinking the very product you helped develop, create and breathe life into.”

Diageo’s company ethos to ‘act like an owner’ is one that has really inspired and motivated Niki. She said: “It’s a mind-set that instils really good behaviours. When you feel like something is your baby then you really, really care about how it’s doing. You get obsessed with the details, meet any issues head-on, work to motivate people and want to do nice things for them when you all achieve something great.”

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