I’m going to quote what Diageo (the Guinness parent company) says on their website: “The same way that consumers trust well-known name brands and create positive bonds with them, the Irish Pub Concept instills in consumers an association with comfort, warmth, informality, hospitality, home-cooked food, classic beverages … particularly Guinness … and friendly service.”
That’s right — the corporation that sells Guinness for a living has developed and marketed something called the Irish Pub Concept. They are teaching restaurateurs to successfully develop and market “authentic” Irish pubs.
You’ve got to be wondering what we’re wondering: can an authentic Irish pub be a brand?
First, on the bright side, Ireland has a diverse and unique history. Irish pubs were filled with locals who enjoyed a few favorites at a special place to meet friends and socialize. Remember the weather in Ireland isn’t so great most months of the year. Pubs allowed for socialization even in inclement weather.
When the temperance movement took over at the turn of the twentieth century, publicans, or pub owners, became grocers or hardware stores to support themselves. Still, they didn’t actually sell food in the pubs. The Irish didn’t begin dining out extensively until the economy saw some stability in the 1970s. (Likewise, pubs faded away from being spirit grocers when grocery stores became prolific in the 1960s.)
So, we’re happy to report that the Irish Pub Concept does a great job expanding the commonly accepted ideas about the Irish culture. You will, in fact, enjoy a Guinness, Smithwick’s or Harp beer at one of their pubs. Then, appreciate a good corn beef sandwich and boiled potatoes, which are commonly considered
However, these pubs are also most likely owned by corporations. If you want to have an authentic Irish pub experience, we’re afraid you’ll need to scour a bit more of Ireland to find a small, old joint with plain, simple style, old wood and limited elbow room where the man behind the bar owns the pub.
Ask him for some Irish whiskey and let him know you’re a blow-in who isn’t buying into the commercialized version of Irish pubs. Then, hand him your money knowing full well it’s his family upstairs you’re supporting, not the Diageo corporation (unless you ordered Guinness, which is very very delicious no matter what!)
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