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|- style="background:#F3DE94; font-size: 90%;" |Guiness Extra Stout |Stout

|- style="background:#F3DE94; font-size: 90%;" |Guiness Original |Stout

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 1820's). 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;
  • Malta Guinness, a non-alcoholic sweet drink, sold in West Africa.

Nigeria is the third largest and fastest-growing Guinness market in the world.

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.

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.



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 sucessor 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 highly attributed to it's continuing excellence in advertising the brand. The most notable and recognizable series of adverts was created by Benson's advertising, primarily John Gilroy, in the 1930's and 40's. Gilroy is responsible for posters immortalizing such memorable phrases as "Guinness for Strength", "It's a Lovely Day for A Guinness", and "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 most notably a toucan, which has become as much a symbol of Guinness as the harp. Guinness advertising paraphanaelia is considered highly collectible by some.

Guinness's 2004 American television advertising campaign mimics Terry Gilliam's unique animation style and features two Victorian era scientists who claim to have invented the beer coaster, the six-pack, and the telephone, among other things. The duo repeatedly congratulate each others' invention claims as "Brilliant!", the one-word slogan that is the centerpiece of Guinness' ad campaign.

History of Ownership

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.

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), much warmer than many other beers. This is by no means a universal sentiment, and many prefer a temperature ranging from 39 to 45 F (4 to 7 C). It should be poured slowly; two-thirds are poured, and left to settle, before the rest is added. Recent advertising campaigns state that "it takes 119.5 seconds to pour the perfect pint" of Guinness. 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 shamrock in the head . This is done relatively infrequently though there are many barmen who do so. 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 a spring in the Wicklow Mountains, south of Dublin.

Sinking Bubbles

A long time subject of bar conversations has been the observation that gas bubbles will travel downwards in a pint glass of Guinness. This legendary phenomenon used to be considered scientifically impossible and the observation of it was thought to be an illusion and a consequence of drinking one too many. However, it has recently been scientifically proven to be true: Gas bubbles really do descend in a Guinness pint glass. [1] [2] [3] While ordinary gases, being lighter than water (and Guinness beer), wouldn't normally travel downwards, researcher's use of a high speed camera has proven that the bubbles visible in a glass of Guinness really do. While there are different ways to recount what is happening, one way to explain the phenomenon is this: Due to ordinary rules of liquid behaviour, liquids will flow slower near a wall, mainly because of drag. So with Guinness, bubbles nearer to the edge of the glass, to start with, could (at best) only ascend slower than the ones in the middle of the glass. Bubbles in center are not hindered by as much drag and will immediately rise much faster. As the rising bubbles drag liquid with them, a column of rising Guinness beer is formed in the middle. Another factor is that most beers use carbon dioxide to produce bubbles whereas Guinness uses nitrogen which does not dissolve into liquid quickly. This causes the bubbles to remain small and have a greater tendancy to decend. However, as nature abhors a vacuum, some liquid has to travel downwards to replace the liquid travelling up. The liquid near the edge (which was slower rising to start with) thus gets sucked downwards, establishing a circular current, with liquid (containing lots of bubbles) rising in the middle and liquid (also containing some bubbles) travelling downwards near the wall of the actual glass. Because Guinness is a dark, mostly opaque liquid, all the bubbles an observer will see from the outside are bubbles travelling downwards. An alternate interpretation has to do with the difference in the composition of the bubbles in Guinness and a gas's attempts at equilibrium: Nitrogen makes up the lion's share of our atmosphere and so the differrence in the partial pressure of Nitrogen in the air and in the beer is quite small, which coupled with the smaller bubbles nitrogen forms would limit the amount that can escape at any one time. The upward movement of beer/bubbles in the middle of the glass coupled with the slow release of gas at the top of the pint would force bubbles out to the edges and subsequently downward.

Book of Records

The Guinness company also produced the Guinness Book of Records, which originated in 1955 when a bar debate could not be settled with existing reference books. After merger with the firms of Arthur Bell and United Distillers, the resulting Guinness PLC, no longer headed by a family member, combined with Grand Metropolitan to form Diageo PLC and the Book of Records was among the operations sold. Its new owner, Gullane Entertainment, was purchased in 2002 by Hit Entertainment.

See also

External links and references

Last updated: 10-20-2005 05:14:34
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