Saturday, July 12, 2008

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For Us, A Guinness

Kim Murphy writes in today’s Los Angeles Times that younger generations in Ireland are turning away from Guinness, the quintessential Irish pint, to…Budweiser. And, also with an influx of cheaper labor from Eastern Europe, to some formerly unfamiliar brews. I can understand Murphy’s or Smithwick’s, but Budweiser just comes off as out of place.

…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’.



Chuck said...

I miss Taytos! Fortunately I can still get a fix at the Irish Import Shop in Hollywood.

Matthew Rowley said...

Ahhhhh...I'll be up that way this weekend. Maybe time for a Taytos fix and some Irish bacon. Think I'll get a discount if I wear my freckles?