Resident Irishmen and Brits are up in arms because two of Cayman’s most popular pubs have run out of Guinness draft.
Guinness is a popular dark-coloured stout beer, which is given its distinctive flavour from unfermented roasted barley.
The Triple Crown Pub Guinness taps ran dry first some three weeks ago, and Fidel Murphy’s Irish Pub & Restaurant ran out two weeks ago.
Making matters worse is the fact the shortage has happened during the Six Nations Rugby tournament. England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales all played games over the past weekend.
‘It’s definitely hurt our business,’ said Fidel’s Manager Mark O’Keeffe. ‘The customers aren’t too pleased. It’s kind of like a wine baron running out of wine.’
Triple Crown Pub Manager Noel Kane also said the Guinness draft drought has impacted business.
‘We’ve lost a lot of trade,’ he said. ‘A lot of people are upset about this, including myself because I’m a Guinness drinker.’
Guinness draft is the most popular drink at both pubs, the managers reported. Both pubs have also run out of Kilkenny ale on draft, leaving customers who prefer draft beer with little choice.
Resident Michael Kavanagh was upset enough about not being able to get his favourite beverage – which he calls ‘divine nectar’ – at Fidel’s that he wrote a letter to the editor of the Caymanian Compass about the matter.
‘When they told me they had run out of Guinness, I thought it was a joke,’ he said in an interview. With no Guinness or Kilkenny, Mr. Kavanagh said he was forced to drink Budweiser beer on draft.
‘It’s not my drink of choice,’ he said.
Mr. Kane was particularly worried that there might be no Guinness for St. Patrick’s Day on 17 March.
‘It would be a disaster not to have Guinness for St. Paddy’s Day,’ he said.
Cayman Distributors Sales and Marketing Manager Kevin Paschke said help was on its way.
‘We checked with our shippers and we’re expecting a shipment to arrive either Wednesday or Thursday,’ he said. ‘As soon as it is unloaded, we’ll deliver it to our customers.’
Mr. Paschke said the shortage occurred because of a consumption spike over the holidays.
‘Our business has just been very good on Guinness,’ he said. ‘It has been better than expected. We got hit with a big bump with consumption – which is not a bad thing – but it caused us to run short.’
Shipments of Guinness and Kilkenny usually take anywhere from 35 to 45 days to get to Cayman, Mr. Paschke said.
‘We usually keep a solid 60 days of inventory in stock,’ he said.
This time, however, the bump in consumption coupled with a delay in shipment caused the stock to run dry.
Mr. Paschke noted that there was still Guinness in bottles available.
But Mr. O’Keeffe said his customers do not like bottled Guinness, which is brewed in Jamaica.
‘It’s a totally different taste,’ he said. ‘It doesn’t even pour like Guinness.’
Mr. O’Keeffe said Fidel’s has managed to get some of the canned draft Guinness – the cans with the Guinness widget in them – to help satisfy the demands of some Guinness drinkers.
In the meantime, Guinness draft drinkers can make their way over to Bacchus Restaurant and Wine Bar, which still has two barrels of Guinness on draft. A broken pump on the Guinness tap had halted sales of the dark brew for a while, but the beer is flowing again.
Bacchus owner Keith Griffin said that although the restaurant’s bar does not have a television to watch the Six Nation’s Rugby tournament, Guinness lovers were welcome to come over and enjoy a cold pint to ease any withdrawal symptoms.
Mr. Kane said the Guinness shortage was pretty much ‘diabolical’, which is an Irish slang term for disaster.
‘I could think of a few other words, but I don’t think you could print them!’ he said.