…Even Guinness, it seems, is not immune to the forces of open markets, suburban sprawl and Ireland's evolution from an impoverished backwater of emigrants to one of Europe's economic powerhouses, a country that imports cheap labor now from Eastern Europe.
Even as sales have boomed elsewhere, Guinness has seen its business decline in Ireland over most of the last seven years, a trend that eased only slightly last year with a growth rate of 3.5%.
One does see a lot of Budweiser drinking going on in Ireland, but the Eastern European influence is undeniable, too; in some places out west, signs switch from English and Irish Gaelic to Irish and Polish. Beer selections reflect the shift as well.
Wherever I go, I try to drink local, so in Ireland I’m not drinking Bud.
While in Sligo on the trail of poitin (that’s Irish moonshine to you and me), I stopped off for a meal and a pint at Andy Donaghy’s pub/restaurant Coach Lane. Unfortunately for my belly, the meal I'd been anticipating was not to be—I’d been delayed by a trio of moonshiners masquerading as musicians and Andy’s kitchen was closed for the night. I did, however, treat myself to a tasty late-night meal substitute of Guinness and Taytos.
Now, dat’s livin’.