THE GUV'NOR

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Paul Clerehugh St Patrick's Day should lead to stuffed tills, says the licensee of the Crooked Billet in Stoke Rowe, Oxfordshire In Dublin's fair...

Paul Clerehugh

St Patrick's Day should lead to stuffed tills, says the licensee of the Crooked Billet in Stoke Rowe, Oxfordshire

In Dublin's fair city where the girls are so pretty, I first set my eyes on sweet Molly Malone. As she pushed her wheelbarrow through the streets broad and narrow, crying cockles and mussels alive, alive-oh! Roll on, St Patrick's Day.

I guess these days Molly Malone is an IT consultant or pulls pints of the black stuff in Temple Bar.

St Patrick's Day is eagerly anticipated by licensees in Great Britain, one of the most well established on-trade celebration occasions, providing a "craicking" opportunity for licensees to increase footfall and sales.

Shame it falls on Saturday this year. Like Valentines, Burns and New Year's Eve, I prefer those ready-made promotional opportunities to fall on the quieter early week days. With Mothers Day on Sunday, 18 March tills will surely be stuffed.

Guinness brand owner Diageo expects a sales uplift of 500% compared to any other day of the year.

Great Britain will consume 5 million pints of the black stuff on Paddy's day. An extra 50,000 kegs are sent from Dublin to cope with the additional demand.

Over 13 million pints of Guinness are expected to be enjoyed around the world on 17 March this year. My pub is food driven on a 66%:33% split. I market St Patrick's week rather than just the day, filling the pub every night.

An Irish fiddle band plays each evening, we charge everybody a "music cover", therefore profiting before a pint is even drawn. I benefit from the usual Guinness, Magners and Bushmills liquor promotions, plus bucket-loads of Irish coffee and the wealth of Irish dishes. The list includes, Limerick and Belfast hams, peat smoked for a distinct flavour; drisheen or "packet", the Irish black pudding; crubeens, meaty hind trotters pickled in brine, simmered with root vegetables, delicious with soda bread; Irish stew, slow cooked so that the end result is thick and creamy, not watery; champ, colcannon and boxty pancakes; Dublin Bay prawns, mussels and Galway oysters.

One seafood dish of note that achieves spend-per-head akin to a Gordon Ramsey restaurant is Dublin Lawyer - chunks of lobster flambéed in Irish whiskey.

I'll certainly sink a few Guinness on the day. One old advert said: "Guinness is of almost unfailing benefit in cases of chronic constipation and often enables the patient to dispense with the artificial bowel stimulation". I'll give some to my mum this Mothers Day.

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