Draught Guinness in the 1960s

1970s photograph of two men in horn-rimmed glasses inspecting beer.
Tom­my Mar­ling takes the tem­per­a­ture of draught Guin­ness watched by Mr Bill Steggle, licensee of the Cock at Headley near Epsom.

When we picked up a few editions of Guinness Time, the brewery’s UK-focused in-house magazine, one thing that leapt out at us was an account of the roll-out of draught Guinness after WWII.

It appears as part of an arti­cle called (rather long-wind­ed­ly) ‘The Men Who See That Draught Guin­ness Runs Smooth­ly… The Ser­vice Rep­re­sen­ta­tives’ from the Spring 1971 edi­tion.

First, there are some help­ful num­bers:

In 1970 we sold more than 16 times as much draught Guin­ness as in 1956. Fif­teen years ago the num­ber of out­lets could be count­ed in hun­dreds. In 1962 there 3,200 and now in 1971 there are over 40,000 pubs and clubs where devo­tees of draught Guin­ness can get their favourite brew.

By way of con­text, in those mid-1960s Bats­ford pub guides we’ve been trawl­ing through draught Guin­ness is fre­quent­ly men­tioned as a sign of an inter­est­ing pub in much the same way, say, Brew­Dog Punk IPA might be today. That is, by no means obscure, but still note­wor­thy, and a wel­come sight for many beer geeks.

Con­tin­ue read­ing “Draught Guin­ness in the 1960s”

The Original Irish Theme Pubs?

Guinness.

For now, the only bio­graph­i­cal infor­ma­tion we have about Patrick Fitz­patrick, founder of God­son’s, Lon­don, c.1977, is in some old cut­tings Ian Mack­ey kind­ly shared. One arti­cle, from 1978, says that Fitz­patrick, at 23, was ‘one of the third gen­er­a­tion of the Mur­phy fam­i­ly who have run a string of pubs in East Lon­don for 50 years’. We knew we’d seen the name Mur­phy in con­nec­tion with Lon­don pubs and dug through the old paper­backs until we found this is from The Evening Stan­dard Guide to Lon­don Pubs by Mar­tin Green and Tony White (1973):

Since the demo­li­tion of the Duke of Cam­bridge on the oppo­site cor­ner, the White Hart is the only remain­ing old-style Mur­phy’s in the East End, apart from the tiny Man­ches­ter Arms in Hack­ney Road. (The Old Red Lion, Whitechapel Road, and the Mack­worth Arms, Com­mer­cial Road, have both been dragged strug­gling into the Sev­en­ties.) Mur­phy’s is not, as some peo­ple think, a brew­ery, but a firm which was orig­i­nat­ed in 1934 by a Mr J.R. Mur­phy from Co. Offaly who pio­neered draught Guin­ness in the East End of Lon­don… Mur­phy’s, Mile End, remains an hon­est-to-good­ness East End pub… where you can hear Irish music and choose from a wide range of draught beers, includ­ing… what is prob­a­bly the best kept pint of draught Guin­ness in the East End.

That bit about ‘old-style Mur­phy’s’ sug­gests they were quite an insti­tu­tion. That’s sup­port­ed by the fact that mod­ern pub review web­sites also say that the White Hart is ‘known local­ly’ by that name. And yet there is sur­pris­ing­ly lit­tle (eas­i­ly acces­si­ble…) infor­ma­tion about the pubs or J.R. Mur­phy & Sons. Com­pa­ny list­ings sug­gest that the White Hart was the group head­quar­ters, at any rate, and that it was for­mal­ly dis­solved in 2010.

What we’re espe­cial­ly inter­est­ed in is whether the ‘fif­teen or so’ pubs the Mur­phys owned con­sti­tut­ed the orig­i­nal Irish theme chain – or was it a chain of pubs that just hap­pened to be found­ed by an Irish­man? We’d need to see pho­tos or read descrip­tions of the inte­ri­ors to get a sense of how much set dress­ing there was, but the Guin­ness and Irish music men­tioned are clues. If these pubs were self-con­scious­ly Irish, to what extent did they pro­vide a tem­plate for the chains that fol­lowed in the eight­ies and nineties?

Do you remem­ber Mur­phy’s pubs? Or know Patrick Fitz­patrick? If so, let us know below. UPDATE 10/7/2014: we found Mr Fitz­patrick and inter­viewed him.

Irish pubs in Spain

guinness.jpgI 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.