Guinness scrap Arthur’s Day

Arthur's day 397

Guinness today announced that they will no longer hold Arthur’s Day celebrations that marked the birthday of the brewing company.

The first event was held in Dublin on September 23 2009 to mark the 250th anniversary of the iconic drink.

Diageo promoted the event with adverts that mimicked New Year celebrations with Guinness drinkers joining in a countdown to the designated 17:59 sipping time to toast Arthur Guinness to mark the tipple’s 1759 birth year.

The annually repeated celebrations were often criticised for encouraging alcohol consumption and encouraging the abuse of alcohol at music events.

The celebration also came under criticism for its likeness of turning the ‘holiday’ into a saint’s day with customers cheering “To Arthur” before clinking their glasses.

Irish Times described Arthur’s Day as “a masterclass in how to fabricate a national holiday” with its “à la carte attitude to traditional holidays.”

The paper warned, “If St Patrick’s Day, Christmas, and Hallowe’en are festivals that offer an excuse for a drink, Diageo has flipped the concept on its head and made the drink an excuse for a festival”.

The initial festival was a series of music concerts across the city of Dublin, with the headline acts kept under wraps to fuel the media speculation.

There was also coinciding events internationally across Kuala Lumpur, Lagos, New York and Yaoundé that were broadcast on Sky and ITV.

Since then there have been four further annual celebrations to mark Guinness’ birthday, with more and more household names joining the line-up.

Guinness have announced that they are now focusing on new project Guinness Amplify which is aimed at supporting up-and-coming Irish music acts.

It will see emerging artists play in over 500 pubs over five weekends.

There will also be surprise shows by major acts and the chance for new artists “to share a stage with some of the biggest names in music” and to perform at showcase events in 2015.

“We are always looking for new and innovative ways to support Irish music and Irish artists and I think Guinness Amplify will do that,” said Marketing Director of Guinness Stephen O’Kelly.

“After five years we wanted to move things forward and take the best aspects of Arthur’s Day and develop them.

“We view Arthur’s day as a success. There is a bigger issue here and that is alcohol consumption in Ireland. Arthur’s Day was brought into that discussion but that was not the deciding factor in replacing it with Amplify.”

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