Servant who built an empire on booze out of £100

For those who do not like to read, here’s the spoken pint of Guinness.

I can bet that many, if not all, tourists coming to Dublin every year, sooner or later end up heading for the chimney. Not just any chimney though.

You walk down between the rows of old stone buildings in one of the oldest parts of Dublin only to, all of a sudden, get a punch… to your nostrils. It isn’t just a regular punch from a local though, which perhaps could also accur at the wrong hour of the night, but a punch of stench in the air. I mean, soooo bad that I have never smelled one like this before nor after.

Yes, that’s the smell of roasted barley. Nobody can describe it for you. I assure you however that nothing can stir the liquids inside your belly like this one.

So here’s the first shock that kinda soaks in after a while spent in the area and once the initial nausea feels fade away you start noticing things all over again.

This very industrial looking quarter has for hundreds of years been a house to the world famous Guinness Brewery.

Have you noticed that wherever you go in the world, sooner or later you spot a Guinness sign and find yourself sipping a pint inside the Irish Pub? Yep, that’s the magic of the Black Stuff.

Many o’years have I spent working in the nearby Temple Bar area where majority of the Dublin’s night life takes place. The action starts at about 5am. A Guinness branded truck full of metal kegs comes over to deliver orders. The side of it gets opened, a little special keg cusion is placed on the cobble stones and a doorway to the, usually underground, kegroom gets lifted.

One keg after another hits the pavement waking up all those who have just about gone to sleep after emptying the other kegs. (Yes despite of the keg cusions – I cannot imagine what it must have been like without them). Then the kegs fall again, this time into the keg room and make another interesting set of sounds after which they get rolled into their designated position playing yet another tune. Then, the so called empties are lifted onto the truck to remind the sleeping of their adventures and play the last of the morning songs after which, the truck goes back to the warehouse.

In my opinion this is the main reason why those who slept in one of the Temple Bar located hotels and hostels consider their stays unforgettable – they simply never dreamt of a greater headache.

I personally owe this opinion of unforgettable-ness to a not too sober Welshman who happened to be very proud of the proper kilt wearing ways and was not afraid to show it… 😀 Only that… it was a rather cold evening…

That was a Temple Bar related disappointment 🙂 however I have to mention a disappointment that is directly connected with the Storehouse itself and an Englishman this time. Since 1997 Guinness is owned by Diageo, the alcoholic empire (as well as Captain Morgan, Moet, Smirnoff, etc. etc.).

It is years now since I have been honoured with a title of Guinness Storhouse Ambassador and I cannot say I used the benefits much, but that’s because there were not many benefits really available back in the day. I should actually check the current situation now that I think of it! I am still a proud holder of the Ambassador Card.

And so being the ambassador, I clearly had sufficient love for the brand and the venue itself. As such, one day I applied for a job at Diageo. Sadly, despite of having a lovely 1st interview with two very nice Irish ladies, a short Brit named Chris, knocked me down in the 2nd round… But he had a nice smile so I have forgiven him (not!) 🙂

2009 was celebrating the 250 year’s birthday at St. Jame’s Gate as the Guinness Storehouse is often called.

Of course I was there and of course I happen to have a few unique items that am hoping one day will bring my grandchildren a fortune 🙂

So let’s show you what it’s all about!

This is the Storehouse, where for almost a century the magic of fermentation took place. Construction began in July 1902. Four years later, fermentation began and continued until 1988.

WATER: In 1759 Arthur Guinness, the son of a farmer, and himself a servant signed a 9,000-year, lease on St. James’ Gate Brewery in Dublin, he was so confident in the success of the beer he named Guinness. How else?


At St. James’s Gate Brewery Guinness use 100,000 tonnes of Irish grown barley per year.


YEAST: once produced by Arthur Ginness personally and always kept in the safe.

Finally, Arthur Guinness himself is considered to be the 5th and the main ingredient.

The mentioned £100 was an equivalent of 4 years wages back in the times.

Having a job at Guinness’ meant you and your family were looked after – health insurance, subsidized meals, pensions, higher wages, etc. At the end of the shift workers could also ejoy a free pint.

Arthur Guinness was a social welfare entrepreneur and a philanthropist. He donated to charities, cared for the health care of the less privilaged, worked to preserve the Irish identity, and promoted tolerance in a religiously mixed community. He was a Protestant, a Unionist and against any movement toward Irish independence and wanted “Ireland to remain under English control.”

“A brewer at James’s Gate, an active spy. United Irishmen will be cautious of dealing with any publican who sells his drink.” wrote The Union Star in 1797.

Arthur Guinness had 21 children with Olivia Whitmore whom he married in 1761, however only 10 survived to adulthood. Three out of six boys worked as brewers.

Guinness was earning a fortune on the stock market but despite of being super wealthy during his lifetime he remained very humble and there is even only one portrait of him.

Right now, the famous brew is made in the next door state of the art brewery. Well, in Dublin that is. There are abound 50 places around the Earth which produce this black stout.

Guinness Storehouse at St. James’s Gate opened its doors as a tourist attraction only in the year 2000.

Master Brewer, Fergal Murray, takes you on the virtually realistic tour around the PINT 😀 For real!

Once you walk your way up to the rim of the pint glass, such a pint can of course be enjoyed at the 360 degrees view rooftop Gravity Bar:

But… how to draught a perfect pint of Guinness has the following theory:

Pull the tap fully down and dispense at a 45 degrees into a Guinness branded glass. Fill till ¾ up the glass. Allow to settle. Top up by pushing the tap handle back just proud of the rim, thus creating the fabulous Guinness dome.

If anyone ever watched the “settling” part, you will notice the avalanche effect which is visible on my photo above and is just so satisfying to watch… By the way, did you know that this is why a little ball is placed in every can of Guinness? It’s called widget and it’s filled with gas, nitrogen or carbon dioxide. When you open the can, the gas that’s in the widget is released into the beer causing the avalanche and giving the pint a white head.

Let’s see if the Master Brewer himself follows the right steps:

The only thing that’s left to do at this stage is to lift your pint of Guinness and say: To Arthur! as we would do here, in Ireland every year on Arthur’s Day. It has been celebrated internationally for the first time on the 24th September 2009 exactly for the 250th anniversary of the Guinness Storehouse and of course around the day of Arthur’s birthday.

Source unitalianoasligo

There’s a virtual tour of the Storehuse available under the following link:

Of course everything you need to know is here:

And I am going to finish with my favorite Guinness commercial:

To Arthur!

Anna 🙂


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