Guinness Turns 250!

14 01 2010

As the calendar switched over two weeks ago, we mark yet another milestone, the 250th anniversary of the Guinness Brewing Company at St. James Gate Brewery. To mark the occasion, Guinness has released a celebratory Guinness 250 edition of their stout. I was originally going to review the Guinness 250. However, It is not worth the time. I am sad to say this is a pathetic beer. I am not quite sure why Guinness thought this was worthy of the 250th anniversary, but here it is. It is watery and thin. The flavors are shallow. With barely any complexity to the roast. It is traditionally carbonated instead of using the nitrogen widget so it falls somewhere between the Guinness Extra Stout and Guinness Draught. My only guess is that they wanted to to produce a product similar to the original, but it just does not hold a candle to the Guinness we  all have come to love.

So, instead, I have found some interesting facts and trivia about Guinness and the St. James Gate Brewery.

Photo Credit: Loimere Creative Commons

A Millennium of Guinness-
Arthur Guinness bought the brewery in 1759 with £100 he inherited from his grandfather. He felt so confident on his product, he signed a 9000 year lease on the property for £45 (about $73) a year. In 2007, current owners, Diageo, announced they were going to sell the St. James Gate Brewery for development in order to cash in on the high cost of land in Dublin. But the public outcry was so large, Diageo had no choice but to keep the brewery open. With Guinness celebrating its 250th year, they have hardly completed 1/18th of their lease.

The Guinness Book of World Records-
Originally published by the Guinness Brewing Company in 1956, this book was created in order to help settle bar bets and disputes. The book was first developed by Guinness’s managing director, Sir Hugh Weaving, who came up with the idea when he got into an argument over which is the fastest game bird in Europe. The book was owned and published by Guinness until 2001 when it was sold to Gullane Entertainment.

The Guinness Cascade-
When one gets a poured Guinness, one may notice something very fascinating, namely the bubbles go down!

Commonly known as the “Guinness Cascade,”  one notices that many of the bubbles appear to be defying the laws of physics by floating down instead of up. In reality, it is not that the bubbles are floating down, per se. It is that the bubbles on the outside edge of the beer get stuck to the side of the glass and slow down as compared to the center of the beer. This creates a current where the beer nearest to the glass begins to flow down, taking some of the bubbles with it. This current eventually slows down, allowing all the bubbles to float back to the surface.

Photo Credit: Wiki Commons

Going Nitro-
In 1998, Guinness Draft in a can was released. In order to recreate the effect of a freshly poured Guinness from a keg, the brewery developed a nitrogen filled “widget” which releases the gas into solution. In 2001, the Guinness widget received the Queen’s Award for Technology Achievement.

My Goodness, My Guinness!-
Throughout most of the 1930’s, Guinness had a very popular ad campaign which touted the strength giving, life affirming, and all around wonderful properties of the drink. “My Goodness, My Guinness!” featured the art of John Gilroy. The famous works included pictures of animals enjoying a pint. Gilroy’s work was so popular, Walt Disney tried to hire him away from the Guinness company for the Disney animation studios. Gilroy decided to stay with Guinness rather than work for Disney.

Guinness Gives You Strength!-
Before the popular “My Goodness, My Guinness!” campaign, Guinness used the slogan “Guinness Gives You Strength!” It is rumored the slogan came from Arthur Guinness’s wife, Olivia Whitmore, who gave birth to 21 children!

I’ll Have Another Round, Please!
Guinness is one of the most popular beers in the world. The St. James Gate Brewery makes about 50.7 million UK barrels a year. Or about 100 million kegs of beer a year. That comes out to be roughly 8 pints a day for every man, woman and child on the Island of Ireland.




One response

16 01 2010

Great info! But the real question is: why does Guinness taste so foul here compared to in Ireland?

Also, that cascade video made me ridiculously thirsty.

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