The same for Aperol Spritz — once a treat discovered on a holiday to Treviso or Venice, now available on every corner in Shoreditch and Brooklyn — and even more so for craft beer. A decade ago travel writers started sending pitches about the burgeoning craft beer scene in a particular city. Within a year or two, the trickle had become a torrent and it became clear every city (and many small towns) in the western world had a burgeoning craft beer scene. So why travel to visit one, when there is probably a craft brewery a couple of blocks from your house? The beer probably tastes the same, too.
The spread of the “hipster aesthetic” has been increasingly commented on. In a 2016 essay for the tech website The Verge, Brooklyn-based writer Kyle Chayka dubbed the style “AirSpace” and noted not just that all coffee shops are starting to look the same, but that cafés resemble work spaces, shops, bars, hotels and everything else. Even Airbnb, which was supposed to be a shortcut into the heart of local cultures, has ended up fostering a creeping sameness, “an extension of Ikea showrooms”, according to one designer Chayka interviewed.
And now, what were signifiers of the alternative and homespun are being commercialised and repackaged for the mainstream. In 2016, Thomas Cook, the package holiday behemoth with a staff of 22,000, launched Casa Cook, a new sub-brand of Insta-ready hotels designed specifically for “young modern travellers, from urban centres who have an affinity for fashion and design”. (Cue polished concrete, succulents, industrial lighting.) Last week it announced Cook’s Club — same look, but more rooms, and at a price designed to attract an even wider audience.