Always well-designed, always buzzing, always cheerful, always welcoming and always serving great Guinness© along with great home-cooked food. There’s a similarity between many of these pubs that you will instinctively recognize….features like decorative millwork, warm lighting, ornate back bars……but no two are ever the same, despite the similarities. Yet they all effortlessly deliver the same sense of premium comfort, ambience and timeless conviviality that we know so well. That timeless quality is something that other types of restaurants and bars can’t quite capture, this is a concept, which was hip and contemporary to its consumers in 1910 and remains equally relevant in our modern era of social engagement and connectivity.
We can trace back the origins of many of the design features to the elegant saloon bars of the Victorian era in the late 19th and early 20th century, but to see where the contemporary Irish Pub comes from, we need look no farther in history than twenty years ago. The contemporary Irish Pub was actually conceived by the company who brewed Guinness stout, Guinness Brewing Worldwide, (now Diageo), and was the result of a robust piece of market research.
Between 1985 and 1991, Guinness observed that each time an Irish Pub opened anywhere Europe, there was a very noticeable spike in Guinness beer sales, not just because of the pub itself, but because of other bar owners adding Guinness to their beer line-up in order to compete with success of the local Irish Pub. The phenomenon occurred across very diverse demographic, socio-economic and geographic regions, performing as consistently in Milan as it did in Hamburg, Paris or Amsterdam. It seemed that no matter where somebody placed an Irish Pub, it became instantly successful. Out of this observation grew a question…. if someone could define the critical factors that made these pubs so successful, could investors be found to apply the critical factors and so open many more pubs globally?
To answer this question, Diageo put together a team of interior designers, marketers and industry specialists to find out why Irish Pubs worked across multiple operating environments. The research was done across pubs throughout Europe and produced a report which indicated strongly that successful pubs everywhere were linked by certain critical success factors.
Though these factors or characteristics were not particularly remarkable in themselves, the insight gained was that if the operator wanted to be successful, it was mandatory for the pub to be faithful to its origins while remaining contemporary and relevant to its consumers.