Hey folks, today let's talk about beer. Or more specifically, that beverage that's almost synonymous with Ireland itself, Guinness. It's such a big deal that it briefly enjoyed it's own holiday; Arthur's Day, in celebration of Arthur Guinness and the beer itself.
Now, to put you in the right frame of reference for this thread, I'll have to tell you about what it's like drinking in Ireland. We've been having quite a craft beer boom in recent years, independent bars and breweries have been popping up everywhere. Which is great!
And I can't underpin how recent a development that was, because when I started drinking, none of that existed. You could go into any bar in Ireland, and they had the same selection on tap; Guinness, Smithwicks, Carlsberg, and Bulmers. Sometimes Budweiser if you were lucky.
Now, you're probably thinking "But Casey, you're not that old? Aren't you a millennial?"
And you're right. The first craft pub opened in my city in 2005, and it would be years before most pubs stocked a small selection of craft beer, or even something different from the usual.
Before the craft boom, you really didn't have much choice at all. If you drank Smithwicks? That's owned by Guinness! They bought Smithwicks back in the 60's.
Depending on your corner of the country, you'd get something more regional, such as Harp. But, no... That's Guinness too!
I remember one time I was in a pub out the countryside, and they had bottles of McArdle's. But that too was Guinness, they bought McArdle's too.
In a story very familiar to everyone watching the videosgame industry, Guinness later shut down McArdle's.
You see, Guinness is a bit of a monster.
You all know how Electronic Arts keep buying up, then killing off games studios? That's what Guinness have been doing in Ireland over the past century. Buying up and shutting down breweries.
Guinness didn't get to be a product synonymous with an *ENTIRE COUNTRY* by playing fair. They didn't get there because their product is any good either. It's because they bought out and shut down the competition so they could enjoy nearly the whole market to themselves.
Unless you were a massive corporation with loads of money like Heineken, who bought up the likes of Murphy's, you simply couldn't complete in the Irish market. Bulmers (known as Magners outside of Ireland) had control of the cider market.
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