Guinness: The story behind the stout

DUBLIN (WTNH) — It doesn’t get more Irish than Guinness, and behind each pint is a story rich in history.

“The name is world known,” said Beer Specialist Stuart Hanthorne. “People love the name. Maybe people love the Irish. We are more loved than we think.”

The Guinness Store House is located right in downtown Dublin, at Saint James’ Gate. The brewery sits on 50 acres.

Every year, about four million people visit the emerald isle, and nearly half of them will make a stop at Guinness.

Guinness Archivist Fergus Brady shared how Arthur Guinness founded the iconic brewery.

“We actually don’t know too much about his early life. We know he was born in 1725. We know he started brewing by the 1750’s, and we know on New Year’s Eve in 1759, he came here to St. James Gate, and signed a 9,000 year lease on this brewery.”

Brady showed us a copy of the lease, as he is in charge of the countless documents that help tell the Guinness story.

“The paper collection, if you were to spread it out end-to-end, it would stretch 7 kilometers.”

Some of those documents include all of the old labels and ad campaigns, and a great deal of documentation. Brady even found the story of a Guinness world traveler, who made a stop in Connecticut.

“So between 1899 and 1920, he traveled all around the world. He was a quality assurance guy, a sales rep, so he travels the world tasting Guinness; saying if it’s good, bad, how to improve trade. In 1912, he shows up in New Haven, writing about trade in that particular city.”

The Guinness that we know today was essentially developed in 1770. The concept behind it all is simple: barley, hops, yeast, and water. This past October, the company celebrated 200 years in the United States.

When you’re drinking Guinness draft anywhere in the world it’s pretty much coming from Ireland, from Dublin.”

This is where all of the magic happens. Tours are open to the public. The brewery makes a constant supply to keep up with global demand.

“They’re operating in the window of 3 to 4 million pints on a daily basis. It’s a huge operation for them to make a full batch of Guinness. It takes nine days.”

Inside the Dublin storehouse, countless opportunities to taste all of the products that were made at the brewery. The gravity bar sits high above the city, with 360-degree views. There are even restaurants that prepare many meals with, you guessed it, Guinness.

A museum showcases 258 years of history, and even the oddest of displays have a purpose, a meaning behind it all.

“It’s a really good experience for people who do love their beer and want to know more about it.,” Brady said.

While the stout is popular in Ireland year round, people in Ireland recognize that it becomes a staple in the United States on Saint Patrick’s Day, which keeps them extremely busy.

“In America, I think everybody wants to be a little Irish on St. Patrick’s Day; and Guinness is very fortunate it has that link with Ireland and that’s the go to link with people on that special day.”

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