Friday, March 15, 2019

A Toast to Famous Irish Middle Children

Profiles in Middledom: St. Patrick’s Day Edition

     In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, I was going to compile a list of the world’s most famous Irish Middle Children. To keep the list to a manageable size, I figured I would only include Middle Children who were actually born in Ireland. And speaking of manageable size -- I thought finding famous Irish-born Middle Children would be pretty easy, what with all the talk over the years about “large Irish families.” But it turns out, that’s not the case so much anymore. According to the Irish Independent, “Just 40 or 50 years ago, families with seven or more children were a normal part of daily life.” In 1971, around 15,000 families had six or more children -- by 2015 there were just 3,000. While the fertility rate in Ireland was 4 in 1963, today it’s under 2. The world rate is around 2.5. But I digress. The list, right -- the list.
Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness: he made
a name for himself, one pint at a time.
     While St. Patrick himself was not a Middle Child, I still was on my way to compiling a list of some pretty impressive names: poet/playwright Oscar Wilde; explorer Ernest Shackleton; singer Shuhada' Davitt (formerly Sinead O’Connor); “Dracula” author Bram Stoker; actor Liam Neeson. But then I came across an Irish Middle Child so fitting for my St. Patrick’s Day tribute, suddenly it seemed like no others mattered. (What Middle Child hasn’t felt like that before?) A name as synonymous with St. Patrick’s Day as shamrocks and, depending on where you live, green bagels: Guinness. Yeah, that Guinness. Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness, Baronet of Ashford, to be specific. Grandson of the founder of the company responsible for brewing Ireland’s most famous drink. In 1855, he assumed control of the brewery, developed a booming export business, and is credited with making the stout brand famous worldwide. So much so, he was reported to be the richest man in Ireland in his day. And the rest is Middle Child history.
     Fortune magazine says, “Walk into your local liquor store and you could be forgiven for thinking St. Patrick’s Day was created by Guinness. It’s the day for Ireland’s favorite beer to shine -- and 13 million pints of the stout will be consumed in those 24 hours.” Of course, what good would a Middle Child success story be without a dose of MidKid whining, moaning, and self-loathing. So here goes.
     While Guinness is always on various lists of “Best Irish Beers to Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day With,” it’s not the most popular beer in the U.S. on St. Patrick’s Day. According to the YouGovBrandIndex, that honor goes to... Corona. ¡Ay caramba! Sadly, Guinness is no longer even the best selling brew in Ireland. Holland-born Heineken owns that title. Oh well, at least the bottle is green.

To find out more about overlooked Middle Child brews, read our Middle Child Beer Guide.

If you want a real Middle Child Beer for St. Patrick’s Day, readHere's to the Middle Child!

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