Now that the cobwebs are gone from the
celebratory hangovers that struck St. Patrick's Day revelers the
morning of March 18th, it's time to reflect on Ireland's deepening
national tragedy. No, not the well-known "Troubles", but something
that hits even closer to home here in America.
The beverage most associated with Ireland and St. Patrick's
Day—and by that I mean Guinness Stout—is suffering steeply declining
sales in its homeland.
Completely unthinkable! Totally unacceptable!
Imagine milk declining in popularity in Wisconsin, or Budweiser losing ground in
St. Louis. We'd be calling out the National Guard.
But it's true. According to reports, the 7% decline in Guinness sales between 2005 and 2006 is due to several factors.
One, a switch to wine, is a shocker in Ireland, the veritable
homeland of stout and Irish whisky. Another, equally stunning, is a
thirst for imported beer, mainly from other European countries. In
addition, younger, less patient drinkers are going for instant
gratification, ordering easier to appreciate stuff like lagers, ciders,
But the final blow, undermining our entire perception of Old Country
life, is that growing numbers of Ireland's young—and it's
newly-arrived immigrants—are unwilling to wait the extra minute or two
for the perfect Guinness to be drawn. Now THAT hurts!
There is hope, however. Diageo, the parent of Guinness, reports that
sales are cruising along very well outside Ireland, especially North
America and West Africa. In North America, Guinness is associated with
chest-thumping manliness. In West Africa it’s apparently well know to
enhance male prowess.
The Guinness people have so far refused to comment on that last one.