When you’re in Ireland, all you have to say is ‘Pour me a pint’ and you’ll receive a well-executed two-part pouring of a settled foamy pint of Guinness. The initial pour and its ensuing ‘top up’ are an art that seems to be dying. (Official standards say it takes 119.5 seconds for the perfect Guinness pour. Can you wait that long?)
Guinness is Ireland’s best selling beer and many 50 and 60 year-old Irishmen would consider it a sin to drink some wimpy lager rather than a hearty and filling pint of ‘the black stuff’.
In case you’re not familiar with the current Emerald Isle – for a few years now, Ireland has been known as the ‘Celtic Tiger’ for its unprecedented economic boom. Its capital of Dublin serves as the European headquarters for many tech companies including Google and HP. But with this massive expansion of industry, there has also come the need for imported cheap labor from Eastern Europe and other global points. (+ more after the jump)
Although Ireland is still the second biggest beer drinking country in the world (after the Czech Republic), according to a report in this weekend’s LA Times, Irish traditions are falling by the wayside. With most of the day consisting of commuting to work, working long hours, watching housing prices decline, and fearing the ensuing credit crunch – the need to stop in the local pub for a pint has gone out the window. Not to mention the cost of $7.20 for a pint of Guinness hurting sales.
Here’s a disturbing (but perhaps a comforting one for Anheusuer-Busch) little quote in the LAT article from an Irishman:
“Years ago, everybody drank Guinness,” said David Donnelly, a 36-year-old Dubliner. “But young people don’t drink Guinness. If I was going for a few drinks with me mates, we just drink Budweiser. Guinness is more of an old fellow’s drink.”
Kind of depressing when you think about it. As proud of American beer as I can be, I just can’t imagine thinking it’s better than such an epic brand as Guinness. But maybe those are just the feelings our generation possesses. Is it lame to drink the same beer your father grew up on? Would you consider someone ‘unworldly’ for not fancying imported brews?
All this has led to Guinness decline in Irish sales. As a result they are cutting costs, reducing staff, and closing some breweries. The fames St. James Gate Brewery in Dublin with a an epic Factory tour will still remain after the cost cutting measures, but it has many Irish people worried about the future of the brand they consider part of their heritage.
Guinness is sold in over 150 countries around the world, and although Irish people may be too snooty or ‘busy’ to enjoy a pint of the black stuff, sales are increasing globally. Guinness is also starting a domestic campaign to heighten the brand prominence by being particularly anal retentive about having the cleanest taps in local bars, and getting fresh kegs delivered daily.
It makes one think a lot about the future of ‘domestic beers’ in their home country. Budweiser take note?
LA Times: Irish eyes are roving to beers other than Guinness, July 12, 2008