Whether it’s St.Paddy’s Day (or literally any other time of year, tbh) it’s a fact that there are few finer things in life than a perfectly poured pint of Guinness. Dark, tasty, and filled with history, Guinness is truly one of the world’ best beverages. Since we’re in the month that celebrates Irish tradition, and their wonderful gifts to the drinking community, we’re gonna dive deep into the amazing history of how this magical beer came to be. Hopefully it goes without saying that now might be a great time to pour yourself one too.
The History of Guinness Beer
It started all the way back in 1759. Yup, Guinness is an incredible 262 years old! A young lad in Dublin, Ireland by the name of Arthur Guinness decided he wanted to get into the beer brewing business. So, he signed the lease on a small, abandoned brewery called St. James Gate for, get this, 9000 years for a yearly sum of £45 (about $62 these days). Not a bad deal! With that, Guinness brewing was born. Originally Arthur started brewing a more traditional English-style ale, not stout, which was most popular at the time. It wasn’t until the 1770’s that he began brewing a newer style of beer called “porter” that was darker thanks to its roasted malts. Gradually this darker style of beer became more popular, eventually giving rise to what we know today as the deep, dark stout beer Guinness made famous. These darker beers became so popular that by 1799 Guinness stopped producing ale entirely and focused only on its darker beers. That year marked another important event, in 1779 the Guinness Brewery was listed as one of two official suppliers of beer and ale to the seat of government at Dublin Castle. Five years later it was the exclusive porter supplier as well.
By the time of Arthur Guinness’s death in 1803 the brand was thriving both at home and abroad. Arthur’s son took over the business and continued the tradition of brewing one of Ireland’s most famous exports. Guinness became Ireland’s largest brewery in 1838 and had already begun shipping globally to places as far away as Southern Europe, Africa, and the United States. By 1886 Guinness had become the world’s largest brewery, making 1.2 million barrels of delicious brew every year. Throughout the 20th century the popularity of Guinness grew and expanded throughout the globe, becoming a true international beverage and symbol of Irish culture. The business also continued to be passed down from father to son and remained a family-owned operation for 5 generations, until it was merged with another large beverage company to form Diageo, in 1997.
Guinness is still the world’s largest brewer of stout today and this proud tradition continues with the “Black Stuff” being brewed in 49 different countries worldwide and served in over 150!
6 Amazing Facts About Guinness Beer
- Over 10 MILLION tasty pints of Guinness are enjoyed around the world every single day.
- That nitro draft system that gives stouts like Guinness it’s delicious creamy taste? You can thank them for that too. In 1959, the company developed a unique nitrogen dispensing system which results in finer, smaller bubbles than a conventional draft system, ensuring a creamier, smoother drink with a distinctive blonde head.
- Guinness brews 10 different varieties of beer throughout the world.
- In 2014 Guinness unveiled its brand new, state-of-the-art brewery at St. James Gate in Dublin. The new brewhouse is one of the most technologically advanced and environmentally sustainable in the world, and is also the largest stout brewery in the world.
- You can visit the Guinness brewery in Dublin, tour the factory, and enjoy a (FREE!) perfectly-poured pint of the good stuff while you enjoy an amazing panoramic view of the entire city of Dublin at the on-site Gravity Bar.
- The Guinness Brewery in Dublin consumes over 100,000 tons of Irish barley a year and continues to be a major contributor to the Irish economy.
So, as we celebrate St. Paddy’s day, lets all raise a frosty glass in honor of Arthur Guinness and his contribution to humanity. Sláinte!