Fooled by Smithwicks?


Anyone else stop to wonder why, when you go to an Irish bar, or any bar now for that matter, your eyebrows raise when the bartender/waiter announces that they have the Irish ale Smithwick’s on tap? Like it’s always been your favorite beer? That has happened to me recently a few times. And then in the car just yesterday, I was listening to a radio ad (for Champps?) talking about all the beer specials on tap for game days. It was clear the advertisers were building up to the crescendo announcement that Smithwick’s was included in the $2 tap deal. As they announced it, I automatically thought “nice, and for only $2”. It was automatic, no thought given to it whatsoever.

But then I stopped and I thought “wait a minute, where did Smithwick’s come from?” I couldn’t remember drinking it at any time in my life before about 6 years ago when my brother-in-law introduced it to me. Prior to that, I had never heard of this product that has somehow brought itself to the fore of the USA’s massive beer drinking culture. When I used to go to an Irish bar, I’d order a Murphy’s Irish Stout if they had it, Guiness if not (or Beamish) – or a Harp if I wasn’t feeling like a darker beer. But I can’t remember ever ordering a Smithwick’s. (For the record: Smithwick’s is Ireland’s oldest ale, owned by Guinness since 1965 – and it’s pronounced without the ‘w’.)

Unless I’m just way off on this (which is very possible), I strongly suspect we’ve all been subjected to one of the most quietly brilliant promotional campaigns ever. Somehow, in what seems like a very short period of time, Smithwick’s now just seems like it’s been here forever.

And the funny thing is – while I don’t dislike the beer, it’s definitely not my favorite (…even though some force somewhere is telling me it is).



4 Responses to “Fooled by Smithwicks?”

  1. Joe Says:

    Behold the power of advertising.

  2. bucky Says:

    Before Smithwicks (as I understand, it’s pronounced “Smiddicks”), there was Patron Tequila, and before that, Tanqueray Gin. All due to excellent marketing. I’m sure there are others as well.

    I like Smithwicks ok, but I don’t seek it out, and in general think all Irish and English beers are pretty much overrated. I don’t consider myself a beer snob- I’ll drink Natty Light on occasion (although I’ll rarely drink any other Bud products by Michelob), and enjoy Blatz and Schlitz from time to time. But lately I seem to be happiest with German Pils such as Spaten, Warsteiner, or Paulaner. Or a local beer; when in Madison, there’s nothing better than an Autumnal Fire. Here in Maine, Geary’s, Shipyard, Allagash and Gritty’s are all worth a try.

  3. Joe Says:

    Bucky – I think the new/old Schlitz is the best mass produced beer available. Not sure when you last had one, but a few years ago they decided to recreate the formula from the 60’s. Problem was, no one had the actual formula. So they rounded up all the old retired brewery workers and made batch after batch until these guys gave it the thumbs up. It is great beer.

  4. 56coop Says:

    Old Milwaukee anyone?

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