One of Ireland's most unusual traditions, drinking a free pint of Guinness after donating blood, is to be ended.

Diageo, the Guinness parent company, has decided to end the tradition.

“We felt this style and type of donation was not best suited to us now,” said Grainne Mackin, for Diageo. “Guinness has long stopped promoting the product as medicinal and we want to be in full alignment with our voluntary marketing code. It wasn’t driven by any commercial agenda.”

Paddy Bowler, the director of operations at the Irish Blood Transfusion Services, agreed. “The government is going to lower the blood alcohol limits for drivers,” he said. “So we didn’t feel it was appropriate to supply alcohol at the clinics any more, particularly those down the country.”

However some donors are less than pleased.

David Fitzpatrick, 37, a postman from Gorey, Co Wexford, who has been giving blood for 20 years, said he was shocked when he did not receive his pint after a recent donation.

“I thought they’d decided I was getting too old or they’d given me enough black stuff after 20 donations,” he told The Sunday Times. “This won’t deter me. My main reason for giving blood is to help people.”

Fitzpatrick said he had always enjoyed his post-donation Guinness: “I was always informed that Guinness is good for replacing your iron levels and when is a better time to do that than after relieving yourself of a pint of blood?”