U.K. Barmaid To Face Guinness Beer Phobia This St. Patrick's Day

Guinness fear barmaidIt's not uncommon to find a bartender who's a teetotaler, but in Birmingham, England, it isn't staying sober that's on the mind of Hayley Blakeney this St. Patrick's Day holiday weekend.

Rather, the 28-year-old barmaid is more concerned with steering clear of the Guinness tap at the Craven Arms pub, where she's been serving pints of beer for about a decade.

Blakeney is so afraid of the black brew that she becomes sweaty, breaks out in a rash and feels sick if she smells or even sees the stuff, London's Daily Mail reports.

For that reason, Blakeney typically has taken off St. Patrick's Day, a celebration that in Britain -- as in the U.S. -- usually results in throngs of people tipping back ample amounts of beer. The Mail notes that some 13 million pints of Guinness alone will be downed this holiday weekend.

But this year, the Craven Arms pub is short staffed and Blakeney will have to work.

"I'm dreading it to be honest," she told the newspaper. "Whenever I get asked for a pint of Guinness, normally I can get someone else to serve them."

Given this year's shortage of staff, however, Blakeney will have to face her fear, which developed after she knocked over a pint of the stuff as a child and got covered in it.

"I just remember crying my eyes out and seeing my dress ruined. It must have traumatized me," she says.

"People laugh when they realize I am a barmaid who refuses to pour a particular drink," the Mail quotes her as saying. "But I can't help it, I just can't go near it."

Regulars at the pub have offered to help Blakeney conquer her fear -- in their own way -- by encouraging her to pour more pints of the black stuff.


Saint Patrick's Day Fails!


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David Schepp

Staff Writer

David Schepp has spent more than a dozen years covering business news for the electronic and print media, including Dow Jones Newswires, BBC News, Gannett Co., and most recently at AOL's DailyFinance. Nearly 10 years ago, he started writing a weekly People@Work column, looking in depth at issues facing workers in today's workplace. The syndicated column appeared in newspapers and websites nationwide before it made its debut on DailyFinance in 2010. Schepp now continues that tradition at Aol Jobs, covering the jobs beat and providing readers insight and analysis into the nation's challenging employment scene.

Schepp holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Metropolitan State College of Denver.

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