Your neighborhood Irish pub is a fake

SANDRA MU/Getty Images Tomorrow, March 17th, is St. Patrick’s Day. To commemorate, many in the United States—both those of Irish descent those merely Irish for the day—will gather in that quintessential neighborhood watering hole, the Irish pub. But, in one of the great ironies of globalization, it turns out that the outpost of traditional Irish ...

603234_070316_guinness_05.jpg
603234_070316_guinness_05.jpg

SANDRA MU/Getty Images

Tomorrow, March 17th, is St. Patrick's Day. To commemorate, many in the United States—both those of Irish descent those merely Irish for the day—will gather in that quintessential neighborhood watering hole, the Irish pub. But, in one of the great ironies of globalization, it turns out that the outpost of traditional Irish culture on the corner is actually a finely-tuned corporate creation. In 1991, the Dublin-based Irish Pub Company (IPCo) hit on a profitable model for fabricating and selling "authentic Irishness." Slate's Austin Kelly made the revelation last year:

In the last 15 years, Dublin-based IPCo and its competitors have fabricated and installed more than 1,800 watering holes in more than 50 countries. Guinness threw its weight (and that of its global parent Diageo) behind the movement, and an industry was built around the reproduction of "Irishness" on every continent.

SANDRA MU/Getty Images

Tomorrow, March 17th, is St. Patrick’s Day. To commemorate, many in the United States—both those of Irish descent those merely Irish for the day—will gather in that quintessential neighborhood watering hole, the Irish pub. But, in one of the great ironies of globalization, it turns out that the outpost of traditional Irish culture on the corner is actually a finely-tuned corporate creation. In 1991, the Dublin-based Irish Pub Company (IPCo) hit on a profitable model for fabricating and selling “authentic Irishness.” Slate‘s Austin Kelly made the revelation last year:

In the last 15 years, Dublin-based IPCo and its competitors have fabricated and installed more than 1,800 watering holes in more than 50 countries. Guinness threw its weight (and that of its global parent Diageo) behind the movement, and an industry was built around the reproduction of “Irishness” on every continent.

Yes, that’s right. Ireland exports pubs the way the United States does T.G.I. Friday’s.

IPCo provides its customers with five choices of theme: Country Cottage, Gaelic, Brewery, Traditional, and Victorian Dublin. Evidently, the Irish themselves have not traditionally been wont to spend their time quaffing brews with antique farm implements lying around or pictures of James Joyce staring down from the walls. Those touches of “authenticity” were devised to make the Guinness go down more naturally in Minneapolis, Shanghai or Dubai.

Of course, in this wired-together world, it was only a matter of time until the craze for Irish pubs worked its way back to Eire herself. After proselytizing for the pub abroad, IPCo has been able to turn its sights back to the home market, and now sells its version of traditional Irishness to the Irish themselves:

IPCo has built 40 ersatz pubs on the Emerald Isle, opening them beside the long-standing establishments on which they were based.

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