Guinness has cancelled its Arthur's Day drinks promotion but the brewer insists it did not give into pressure to abandon the one-day drinking celebration.

There had been criticism that Arthur's Day encouraged excessive drinking and led to pressure on emergency services.

A spokesperson said the company was very proud of Arthur's Day and it was a hard decision to drop the marketing scheme.

Arthur's Day was run annually for the past five years in late September when bars ran Guinness promotions and surprise bands played in certain venues around Ireland and in 55 countries worldwide.

Guinness spokesperson Hazel Chu said Arthur's Day had been very successful but they needed to change.

Guinness has announced a new music promotion programme called Guinness Amplify, which will support new bands.