The Irish are famous for their convivial drinking culture, but it seems they do not want to be cajoled into an annual celebration of their best-known beer.
An Irish minister criticised drinks firm Diageo on Tuesday for inventing a “pseudo-national holiday” to market its products, not least the Dublin-brewed Guinness. The criticism is part of a growing backlash against “Arthur’s Day”.
Diageo began the celebration in 2009, to mark the 250th anniversary of the opening of Arthur Guinness’s first brewery in Dublin on September 26. This year it will be marked in 32 countries.
Diageo says the event is a “showcase of Ireland’s talent and creativity”, but it has been derided by some of the country’s famous musicians as a marketing ploy and attacked by doctors concerned with binge drinking.
“Diageo has invented Arthur’s Day as a pseudo-national holiday for the purposes of marketing,” Alex White, a junior minister responsible for alcohol, said in the Irish Times. “There is a serious problem, not only with the amount we drink, but the harmful patterns in which it is consumed.”.
According to the Dublin ambulance service, there was a 30 percent increase in call-outs during Arthur’s Day last year compared with the same day a week earlier, prompting Ireland’s Royal College of Physicians to launch a vocal campaign against Diageo.
Mike Scott of The Waterboys has joined the protest with A Song For Arthur’s Day. – Reuters