November 30, 2007

The Irish Job

There's nothing like a great heist movie. Whether you like it hip and ironic (Oceans Eleven), played for laughs (The Pink Panther), romantic (The Thomas Crown Affair), or gritty (Heist), they give us a vicarious thrill of the forbidden. And when people do try to make them a reality, it quickly loses its charm. For instance, it's difficult to see how this would make good cinema:

Irish police were hunting for a beer bandit who stole 450 full kegs from the Guinness brewery — the largest heist ever at Ireland's largest brewer.

National police said a lone man drove into the brewery — a Dublin landmark and top tourist attraction — on Wednesday and hitched his truck to a fully loaded trailer awaiting delivery to city pubs.

Diageo PLC, the beverage company that owns Guinness, said the brewery had never suffered such a large-scale theft before in its 248-year history.

Well, the joke's on them. Only 180 kegs of it were Guinness stout. The rest of the kegs held Carlsberg and -- the horror! -- Budweiser. One can imagine the disappointment when the trailer gets unhitched and inspected.

Ireland has a history of hijackings and thefts in alcohol and cigarettes, although not usually from the brewery itself. The IRA used to finance its activities through such thefts, selling the beer cheaply and without the usual onerous Irish taxes to supporters and sympathizers among pub owners. Gangs continue this activity to this day, neither not unlike the Mafia in this country that ran similar activities.

Like I said, pretty charmless. Instead of Thomas Crown, it's closer to Goodfellas. However, if you find yourself in Dublin, the brewery itself is anything but charmless. You can have a great pint of Guinness stout at a bar that provides one of the highest viewpoints of the entire city, after a great tour of the facility and the requisite souvenir shops.


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