Friday 2 November 2012

Mythos, authenticity and context

I'm not much of a beer drinker these days, although on holiday, I do succumb, particularly if the weather demands it. After all, who doesn't do stuff on holiday that they wouldn't dream of doing at home? And, when in Greece...I order a Mythos beer.

Mythos is one of those relatively recent inventions that does a good job of seeming authentic, particularly when sipped from an iced glass in a slightly peeling taverna facing out to sea, while tucking into freshly grilled fish.

But although my recollections of alcohol from my wild 80s days in Greece include an impressive list of cocktails and beer brands such as Amstel and Heineken, Mythos does not feature. A little bit of brand archaeology revealed to me that my friend Mythos is something of a sheep in wolf's clothing, to misquote yet another Greek.

The brand is only fifteen years old and the company that created it grew out of none other than Henninger Hellas S.A, which has a particular meaning (and not always a good one) to those of us in the Frankfurt area. And the company is now a subsidiary of Carlsberg.

Maybe that's the reason that I wouldn't dream of ordering the stuff outside Greece - even in my local Greek restaurant.  Because a brand like Mythos needs its context for its authenticity to work: plucked out of the sunshine, away from the smell of souvlaki and the bougainvillea, it's just another nondescript lager.

But after you've climbed the endless steps to some dusty acropolis in the midday sun, nothing else will do!

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