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Guinness: It’s good for you!

Domhnall Marnell, Connoisseur Bar, Guinness Storehouse, Dublin
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Domhnall Marnell, Connoisseur Bar, Guinness Storehouse, Dublin

The Guinness brewery story began when Arthur Guinness inherited 100£from his godfather, the Archbishop of Cashel. Arthur’s father was the Archbishop’s land steward and is said to have brewed beer for the workers.

Arthur Guinness, Guinness Storehouse, Dublin
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Arthur Guinness, Guinness Storehouse, Dublin

 

In 1759 Arthur signed a 9000 year lease on four acres at James’s Gate, in the heart of Dublin. It included a dilapidated brewery and free access to a water source for 45£a year.

 

 

 

 

 

By the late 1770s he was brewer to Dublin Castle. The brewery grew to be the first with its own  internal narrow gauge train network and became a “City within a City” with own medical center and fire department. The access to the Grand Canal and Shannon Harbor was key to transporting goods right into the 20th century.

Guinness Brewery, St. James Gate, Dublin
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Guinness Brewery, St. James Gate, Dublin

It is said that when the sheriff’s office came to shut off his free water supply because he used so much, the gritty Arthur grabbed their pick-axe and with bold expletives demanded they leave his property. He eventually won out. About 8 million liters a day are used for today’s conservation-minded production.

pint of Guinness, Open Gate Brewery, Dublin
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pint of Guinness, Open Gate Brewery, Dublin

Arthur began by brewing a red, malty ale but noted the popularity of a strong black porter beer from London. He tweaked the recipe to local preference, and created Dublin Porter in 1796.  On New Year’s Eve 1799 he declared “Today we brewed the last ale at St. James’ Gate.”

Dublin Porter, Connoisseur Bar, Guinness Storehouse, Dublin
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Dublin Porter, Connoisseur Bar, Guinness Storehouse, Dublin

The Guinness family grew soon after Arthur married Olivia Whitmore at St. Mary’s Church in Dublin. They had twenty-one children, ten of whom lived to adulthood. His son, Arthur II, continued in the family business. He was also a founding member of the Society for Improving the Conditions of Children Employed as Chimney Sweepers.

Guinness Foreign Extra Stout 1200, Connoisseur Bar, Guinness Storehouse, Dublin
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Guinness Foreign Extra Stout 1200, Connoisseur Bar, Guinness Storehouse, Dublin

 

 

In 1821 the dark beer was named “Extra Superior Porter.” People called the stronger fuller-bodied porter a ‘stout porter’ and Arthur II came up with the name Extra Stout Porter, or Guinness Extra Stout. It is known as Guinness Original in the UK and Guinness Extra Stout in Ireland and the USA.

 

 

 

Guinness barrel, Guinness Storehouse, Dublin
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Guinness barrel, Guinness Storehouse, Dublin

 

 

Guinness became the largest brewer in Ireland. By 1858 the beer was exported as far as New Zealand. Thirty years later the brewery at St. James Gate was the largest exporter in the world, with an annual production of 1.2 million barrels.

 

 

 

In 1862 Arthur II’s son, Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness, designed the Guinness label, a buff oval with the harp and Arthur Guinness’ signature.  It is on every bottle and can.

Brian Boru harp, Trinity College, Dublin
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Brian Boru harp, Trinity College, Dublin

 

Coins minted by the Irish Free State are stamped with the harp’s straight edge to the right to differentiate it from the version Benjamin Lee Guinness trademarked in 1876 for the Guinness label, which has it to the left.

 

 

 

 

St. Patrick's Cathedral, Dublin
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St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Dublin

 

 

Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness was a member of Parliament , a Lord Mayor of the city, and the family member who first funded restoration of St. Patrick’s Cathedral.

 

 

 

Lord Ardilaun statue, St. Stephen's Green, Dublin
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Lord Ardilaun statue, St. Stephen’s Green, Dublin

 

 

Sir Benjamin’s son Arthur Edward Guinness sold his interest in the brewery to his younger brother, Edward Cecil, for £600,000. Arthur Edward Guinness bought and  landscaped St. Stephen’s Green and donated it to the public in 1880. He was awarded the title Baron Ardilaun of Ashford.

 

 

 

Edward Cecil Guinness doubled the size of the brewery. He also brought a title to the family when he became the first Lord Iveagh (pronounced “eye-va”) in the 1890s. His philanthropy included establishing the Guinness and Iveagh Trusts to provide housing for the poor, restoring St. Patrick’s bell tower, giving £50,000 to Dublin’s hospitals, and donating land for recreation, public gardens, and university buildings.

Edward Cecil’s son Rupert, the 2nd Lord Iveagh, took control of the brewery upon his father’s death in 1927. Previous generations felt the product should sell on quality alone, but Rupert initiated the first advertising campaigns.

first Guinness advertisement, Guinness Storehouse, Dublin
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first Guinness advertisement, Guinness Storehouse, Dublin

The company no longer makes therapeutic assertions and EU regulations ban claims of health benefits for alcohol products.  But many still adhere to the early advertising slogan that the iron-rich “Guinness is Good for You.”

Guinness is good for you items, Guinness Storehouse, Dublin
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Guinness is good for you items, Guinness Storehouse, Dublin

It was given to nursing mothers in hospitals and “Give a Pint, Get a Pint” was once the policy for blood donation.

My Goodness, My Guinness pelican, Guinness Storehouse, Dublin
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My Goodness, My Guinness pelican, Guinness Storehouse, Dublin

The company has been sold to Diageo, but the family retains an interest in the company. Arthur’s charming great-great-great-great-great-grandson, Rory Guiness, has been spotted at events like the celebration of the 15th anniversary of the Guinness Storehouse, which has become the #1 attraction in Ireland.

Guinness Brewery, St. James Gate, Dublin
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Guinness Brewery, St. James Gate, Dublin

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