London hasn’t really changed much. I sensed little fear or anxiety when riding the tube. There was a more visible police presence yesterday, probably because it was the anniversary of the bombings. I think with time people have accepted what happened and are getting on with things.
The biggest difference I have noticed in the bars here is the proliferation of Magners (Bulmers to Irish readers). I noticed that the share price of the owners of Magners, C&C, went up dramatically recently following an announcement of the growth of the cider brand in the UK. After visiting some bars in London I can see why. Magners is everywhere, the pint bottles I am quite fond of in Ireland in the summer have become commonplace. This all seems to have happened very quickly, when I visited the UK in March this year I couldn’t find a Magners anywhere, now it was in every pub I visited – and heavily promoted. A pint bottle will set you back about £3.10, about the same as at home.
The marketing campaign by C&C in Ireland was highly successful in changing the perception of cider from that of teenagers drinking flagons in fields (C&C decided to stop selling Bulmers in flagons) to a brand of successful 20 something’s who are prepared to pay for a drink that’s more expensive than most lagers currently available.
On 20% growth in the UK, the same campaign seems to be going equally well in the UK.
On another note I met up with Alex Singleton, formerly of the Adam Smith Institute, now of the Globalization Institute. An excellent conversation and a thoroughly nice guy, I suggested he pay a visit to Ireland in the near future for a blogger knees up, an idea he liked.