The Domestic Death of a Global Icon? A Situational Analysis of the Irish Public House
Gail Cotter Buckley, Dr. Angela Wright

The public house has formed an intrinsic part of the Irish way of life for centuries, but it may soon be gone due to changes in demographics, alcohol consumption, and other variables including psychographic and geographic factors. Changes in Irish society during the rise in affluence characteristic of the Celtic Tiger era, and applicable Government policies have all played a role in altering the Irish pub culture. This research examines the current situation of the public house market in Ireland today with an aim of recommending some viable solutions to this declining industry. Government intervention in the future will be a key issue in order to address the imbalance in the retail alcohol market through corrective regulation. A quantitative approach was applied in this study and the research questionnaire yielded 316 responses representing a cross section of Irish society today. The findings reveal that there is an increased incidence of ‘at-home’ alcohol consumption, especially due to economic factors and the availability of cheaper alcohol from retail outlets. Respondents indicate that public houses did not represent ‘value for money’ anymore, and were perceived as being out-dated and unwelcoming. The findings reveal that publicans need to analyse their local market, diversify and innovate to generate new business, in order to survive and reverse the demise of the Irish public house. This study will be of benefit to the hospitality industry, Industry trade associations e.g., Vintners Federation of Ireland, Licensed Vintners Association, Government bodies, policy makers and the Irish Hospitality Institute.

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