Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Well I suppose it's nice and all, but there is more to Ireland than Guinness.
The lonely planet has released their top booze destinations. As you might expect, Ireland gets a spot (number 2) for Guinness, ignoring all the other great beers and indeed whiskeys that are produced here. Which leads me on to another thing about the list. Where is the Whisky, specifically why is Scotland not on the list? If ever a country is synonymous with Whisky it's Scotland.
Tennessee gets a mention for Whisky, and not to take anything away from Tennessee but I would personally hold Scotland above Tennessee as well as Ireland.
Perhaps the biggest disappointment is the Czech Republic. They manage two spots in the top 10, one for Becherovka* and the other for Absinthe, both of which are hard spirits and only one of which originated in the country but no mention of the beer? Ahem, the Bohemians are responsible for creating Pilsner, the golden lager that has been imitated by thousands of breweries around the world. Fact is, the brewery that created it is still going. Pilsner Urquell is not on that list and the question has to be asked, why not? The Czech Republic is responsible for creating the the worlds most popular alcoholic beverage (clear golden lager-pilsner) and according to wikipedia, only water and tea are more widely consumed in all categories of drinks. That refers to beer in general but Pilsner is the most popular type of beer.
Now coming back to Guinness. Why does Ireland always make these sorts of lists? The reason being is almost always Guinness? In reality Guinness is a testament to clever marketing as are most of the large breweries but Guinness has always been ahead of the game I think. Remember the Guinness is good for you campaigns years ago?
Sure Guinness is an iconic drink and to be honest I rather like it but there are so many better stouts and porters out there, even in Ireland that it means we are only celebrating the ability to advertise. Since that's the case why not mention Bud? Terrible beer but great advertising.
Previous lists have seen Dublin among the top beer cities in the world when in fact the sad truth is, there is a lot of beer drunk in Dublin but most of it is mass produced macro stuff and most pubs serve the same lineup of boring mass produced beer, all of which is owned by foreign companies, Guinness included. Things are changing of course but compared to somewhere like London or San Francisco, the choice of beer is pretty bad.
Judging from the comments on that article, it seems I am not the only one questioning the list and who puts it together. At the end of the day, the article appears to be nothing more than something to generate interest in a travel book.
*nasty stuff that tastes like Christmas and I can't drink anymore after a 3 day hangover from a night of stupidity years ago.