It is rumored that Arthur Guinness, the founder of Guinness, became inspired after a trip to London where he consumed Porter and subsequently returned to Ireland with the recipe that he since developed into the infamous Guinness brand that we know today. After investing a £100 gift from his Godfather in a brewery in Leixlip, he then decided to head to Dublin city to start up his own business to compete with the burgeoning London beer trade. It was at this time, that he discovered St. James Gate, took a leap of faith and in 1759, aged 34 he signed a 9000-year lease at an annual rent of £45 for the premises.
In 1750, the brewery was a meager four acres of barren land with no brewing equipment. This land consisted of a mill, two malthouses, stabling for twelve horses and a loft to hold 200 tonnes of hay – a far cry from the impressive 64 acres of land it stands on today. However, the lease signed by Arthur Guinness is no longer in effect because the brewery property has been bought out and is now owned by Diageo.
The Guinness story began by brewing ale at St. James’s Gate and by 1769 Arthur began exporting his beer to England. It wasn’t until the mid-1770s that he began brewing porter that proved so successful that in 1799 ale was now replaced with porter alone.
When Arthur died in 1803 he left a legacy of a successful brewing dynasty, with a promising export trade that his family continued. By 1886, Guinness was officially the biggest brewery in the world with an annual production of 1.2 million barrels. By 1906 the brewery was an integral part of Dublin city with one in 30 of Dublin’s population dependent on the brewery for their livelihood. Guinness Stout today is sold in over 150 countries and 10 million glasses are enjoyed every day globally making it the largest brewer of stout in the world.
In 1929 Guinness launched its first adverts. Since then Guinness advertising lures people in with the two-tone appeal of its black liquid and creamy head combined with memorable poster and television adverts. This Irish brewery is host to a 250-year-old history exhibition, called the Guinness Storehouse that boasts spectacular views over Dublin city in their Gravity Bar.
Guinness is as Irish as St Patrick’s Day and lovers of this stout seek out the venues pouring the best pint of Guinness on this island. We’ll get you started with our map below. When booking your trip to Ireland, trying a pint of the black stuff is mandatory for every group!