In 1759, Arthur Guinness leased a disused brewery in Dublin and began producing beer for the local market. Like most brewers of his time, he produced a variety of beers to meet a variety of tastes. But by the late 1770’s, Guinness was becoming known for his porter. The dark beer that used roasted barley to produce a deep brown color and rich complex aroma had become quite popular, especially among the dockhands in Dublin. In 1799, faced with a shortage of capacity, Guinness made the bold decision to discontinue production of his various other ales and focus exclusively on the porter – the beer we know today as Guinness Stout.
This historical tale underscores one of the most powerful and difficult challenges of strategy – focus.