Cantillon: A toast to the Irish-pub owners of the world
Two Chinese men deliver Dublin-brewed Irish stout to O’Malley’s, the first Irish pub in Shanghai
It is an “Irish” business with sales of €3 billion and 4,000 outlets around the world. It opens a new premises every two or three days and the most popular name for them is Molly Malone.
It is the Irish pub and it is having its own Gathering event in Dublin this month. Irish pub owners and managers from around the world are to descend on the Burlington on September 30th for a three-day networking event that includes workshops, social events, demonstrations and pub panels for Irish-pub owners, says Enda O’Coineen, president of Irish Pubs Global, which is behind the initiative.
It will no doubt be quite a seisiún but the organisers make a couple of points that perhaps the Irish drinks industry and the Government should pick up on.
The Irish drinks industry is going through a period of significant growth, with heavy investment from both international and domestic quarters in whiskey distilleries. The potential is significant, with Ireland boasting just six distilleries to Scotland’s 100. There is also an explosion in craft brewing and by next year there will be something in the region of 30 craft breweries competing with the industry behemoths Guinness (Diageo) and Murphy’s (Heineken).
The Irish pub “diaspora” is a major market for these products but is also a crucial marketing asset. Irish pub is the living embodiment of many of the values behind these nascent and established brands. A good one is marketing gold, a bad one is a disaster and damages not only the pub brand but also the wider Irish tourism brand.
O’Coineen’s organisation – which describes itself as independent of the drinks industry and run on a non-profit basis under the Pride of Ireland Trust – is endeavouring to push up standards, but perhaps that is really a job for Bord Bia, Enterprise Ireland and Tourism Ireland – not to mention Diageo and Irish Distillers.