I used to avoid Irish pubs, particularly when abroad, thinking they´d be full of tourists. Then I discovered that in a lot of places they´re actually really good places to meet the locals thanks to (a) the bizarre belief that Irish and British things are just inherently cool (b) the fact that they´re shunned by self-righteous tourists like me. So I became more tolerant, and stopped going into a sulk everytime someone suggested going to an Irish pub. But now I’ve been in a few here in Spain, I find myself very unnerved by the fact that they are, here at least, another weapon in the fearsome armada of Heineken International.
Salamanca has at least four Irish pubs and for various reasons I’ve now been in three of them. They´re all Heineken beasts so you get Paulaner and other delights such as Adelscott and Desperados. You may also come across an advert for the local Octoberfest franchise, a subject I blogged about a couple of months ago.
More sinister still (I find) are the various efforts to make the locals drink more and more. Special offers for large drinks, for example. Even the pub quiz turns out to be a syndicated marketing effort.
The very things about the drinking culture in Spain and France that the Government in the UK want us to emulate — moderation and smaller measures — are an anathema to people in the business of selling.
It’s not all bad news though — some of these Heineken outlets do have a guest beer from another brewer. Guinness. Sigh.