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See also Guinness Book of Records.

Arthur Guinness Son & Co., founded 1756, produces a dark stout (a type of beer, specifically porter), known widely as Guinness, brewed at St. James's Gate Brewery, Dublin, Ireland since 1759, when Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000 year lease at £45 per annum for the unused brewery (the word "stout" was not attached to the beer until the 1820s). It is also brewed under licence internationally—the resulting beer is, from all reports, significantly different. The most famous brewery outside of Ireland is in Park Royal, London. That brewery will be closing in 2005, and thereafter all Guinness in the UK will be brewed in Dublin. Guinness is available in a number of varieties and strengths, which include:

  • Guinness draught stout, sold in kegs;
  • Bottled Guinness, which includes a patented "rocket widget" to simulate the draught taste.
  • Canned Guinness, which includes a widget to simulate draught Guinness;
  • Guinness Extra Stout, a bottled stout of higher gravity and strength than draught Guinness, for a longer shelf life;
  • Guinness Tropical Stout, an even stronger stout produced to keep in warm climates;
  • Guinness Foreign Extra Stout, sold in West Africa and Southeast Asia;
  • Malta Guinness, a non-alcoholic sweet drink, sold in West Africa.

Despite the "meal in a glass" reputation the beverage has among some non-Guinness drinkers, Guinness only contains 198 calories (838 kilojoules) per imperial pint (1460 kJ/l), less than an equal-sized serving of skimmed milk or orange juice.

Draught Guinness and its canned namesake contain nitrogen (N2) as well as carbon dioxide (CO2). Unlike CO2, N2 does not dissolve in water, which allows the beer to be put under high pressure without making it fizzy. The high pressure is required to force the draught beer through fine holes in a plate in the tap, which causes the characteristic "surge" (the widget in can and bottle achieves the same effect). The perceived smoothness of draught Guinness is due to the low acidity and the creaminess of the head caused by the surging. "Original Extra Stout" tastes quite different—it contains only CO2, making a more acidic taste.

Guinness original beer
Guinness original beer

The Guinness brewery also makes other brands of alcoholic drink, including Harp lager and Smithwicks (sold as Kilkenny outside Ireland). The company has a regional franchise to produce Budweiser beer.

Guinness fans can visit the Guinness Storehouse ( in Dublin, which has been described as Disneyland for the beer (or, perhaps, more accurately, stout) lover. Located on the site of the St. James' Gate brewery, the Storehouse is an interactive, multimedia experience taking you through all things Guinness.

Nigeria is the third largest and fastest-growing Guinness market in the world. However, as the cultivation of barley is restricted in Nigeria, the local version is made primarily from sorghum.



Missing image
Guinness hoarding on the main route into Dublin from the Airport.

Guinness use the Brian Boru, or Trinity College Harp as their trademark. This circa 14th century harp which is still visible at Trinity College, Dublin has been used as a symbol of Ireland since the reign of Henry VIII (16th century). The Republic of Ireland is, in fact the only country to have a musical instrument as its symbol and it features today on the coat of arms and on the Presidential Standard. It also continues to feature on official British coats of arms and royal standards, to represent Northern Ireland as the present successor to the Kingdom of Ireland as a part of the United Kingdom. Guinness adopted the harp as a logo in 1862, however it is shown in a form that faces left instead of right as in the coat of arms.

Guinness' iconic stature can be attributed in part to its advertising. The most notable and recognizable series of adverts was created by Benson's advertising, primarily John Gilroy, in the 1930s and 40s. Gilroy was responsible for creating posters which included such phrases such as "Guinness for Strength", "It's a Lovely Day for a Guinness", and, most famously, "Guinness is Good For You". The posters featured Gilroy's distinctive artwork and more often than not featured animals such as a kangaroo, ostrich, seal, lion, and notably a toucan, which has become as much a symbol of Guinness as the harp. Guinness advertising paraphernalia attracts high prices on the collectable market.

History of ownership

Two "perfectly poured" Guinness beers atop the Guinness factory, overlooking the city of .
Two "perfectly poured" Guinness beers atop the Guinness factory, overlooking the city of Dublin.

The grandson of the original Arthur Guinness, Sir Benjamin Guinness, was Lord Mayor of Dublin and was created a baronet in 1867 and died the next year. His eldest son Arthur, Baron Ardilaun (1840-1915), sold control of the brewery to Sir Benjamin's third son Edward (1847-1927), who became 1st Earl of Iveagh. He and his son and great-grandson the 2nd and 3rd Earls chaired the Guinness company into the 1980s, at which time non-family chief executive Ernest Saunders became chairman as part of the merger with leading Scotch whisky producer United Distillers. After Saunders was forced out following revelations that the United stock price had been illegally manipulated, the family presence on the board declined rapidly, and today no Guinness sits on the board of the holding company Diageo PLC.

Although the brewery has always had a largely Catholic workforce, until the late 1940's it had a policy of only employing Protestants in senior management. This policy was ended as it was increasingly difficult to get away with after the Irish Free State left the United Kingdom.

Pouring and serving

Draught Guinness is considered at its best flavor when served cool, although not necessarily cold; many consider the ideal serving temperature of Guinness to be as high as 55 F (13 C),this is actually incorrect. The desired temperature for serving Guinness is between 6C and 8C, which is much warmer than many other beers (usually between 3C and 5C). It should be poured slowly at a 45 angle; about two-thirds are poured, and left to settle, before the rest is added. The tap handle should be pushed forward, rather than pulled, when the beer is topped off. This creates the characteristic creamy head that lasts until the last sip. Recent advertising campaigns state that "it takes 119.5 seconds to pour the perfect pint" of Guinness. The perfect pint should have a head just proud of the rim of the glass, and no overspill. While this method of pouring (slow) is done in Ireland, many American bars seem to ignore the requisite 'slow pour'.

In addition to the slow pour, many people believe that it is a tradition in Ireland for the bar person to etch a drawing in the head by moving the glass as the last few seconds of beer are poured, leaving a visible line-drawing in the beer. This is not a common occurance in Ireland under normal circumstances, although most good barman will draw a design if requested. Frequent attempts are made by many barmen to draw the shamrock or the harp logo of the Guinness company. Any line-drawing can be made this way, and the swastika itself has been observed carved into Guinness by University of Nottingham barmen.

Another myth is that Guinness is brewed using water from the River Liffey, which flows through Dublin close to St James's Gate; it actually comes from the Wicklow Mountains, specifically, Lady's Well. In England, it is said that Irish Guinness acquires its smooth taste from the soft water available in Ireland (representing a difference in taste between Guinness created in Ireland and that brewed abroad under license), and there are several pubs in the UK which import Irish-brewed guinness.

Sinking bubbles

A long time subject of bar conversations has been the observation that gas bubbles travel downwards in a pint glass of Guinness. [1] ( [2] ( [3] (

The effect is attributed to drag; bubbles which touch the walls of a glass are slowed in their upwards travel. Bubbles in the centre of the glass are, however, free to rise to the surface, and form a rising column of bubbles. This creates a vortex, which causes the bubbles near the edge of the glass to be sucked downwards by the base of the column, and pushed downwards by the column's head. [4] ( Although the effect occurs in any liquid, it is particularly noticeable in Guinness, as the drink combines dark-coloured liquid and light-coloured bubbles.

Book of Records

The Guinness company also produced the Guinness Book of Records, which originated in 1955 when a debate after a hunt could not be settled with existing reference books. After merger with the firms of Arthur Bell and United Distillers, the firm became Guinness PLC, and was no longer headed by a family member. It combined with Grand Metropolitan to form Diageo PLC in 1997, at which point the Book of Records was sold to Gullane Entertainment, who were in turn was purchased in 2002 by the book's current publishers, HIT Entertainment.

See also

Further reading

  • Brian Sibley - The Book Of Guinness Advertising (1985) ISBN 0851124003
  • Jim Davies - The Book of Guinness Advertising (1998) ISBN 0851120679
  • Michelle Guinness - The Guinness Spirit: Brewers, Bankers, Ministers and Missionaries (1999) ISBN: 0340721650
  • Derek Wilson - Dark and Light: Guinness Story (1999) ISBN 0752826743
  • Mark Griffiths - Guinness is Guinness: The colourful story of a black-and-white brand (2004) ISBN 0954282949

External links and references

es:Guinness fr:Guinness he:בירה גינס nl:Guinness ja:ギネスビール sv:Guinness


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