The 260-Year Story Of Guinness, And Why It’s So Iconic In Ireland

For More Than 260 Years, Guinness Has Been A Part Of Irish History

No matter where in the world you might be, chances are that you won’t be that far away from a Guinness harp. More popular in Nigeria than it is in its native Ireland, the global reach of this iconic drink cannot be overstated.

No one could have predicted that one 34-year-old man could ever start something that would transcend generations to become a product as famous for its ties to a country’s culture as it is for its unique taste and character. That’s exactly what happened when Arthur Guinness signed a 9,000-year lease on St. James’s Gate Brewery, and its popularity is certainly not showing any signs of slowing down.

While its famous ruby red stout that’s served with a creamy white head is the drink for which the brand is most widely known, this was not the first beverage to bear the brand’s name. It was in fact an ale that Arthur Guinness started with, later moving onto a porter that become infinitely more popular than anything he had made before.

Over the next few decades, the popularity of Guinness would only continue to grow. By the time of Arthur’s death at the age of 78, they were producing an annual output of around 20,000 barrels a year, which was more than a small bit impressive for 1803!

A Stout Like No Other

Fast forward about 70 years, and the demand had increased by around 3700% (yes, that number is accurate!). It didn’t take long for it to become apparent that Guinness was something special, and its unprecedented growth continued right through the 20th Century as it became the largest brewery in the world.

It was under the tenure of Rupert Guinness, the brand began to explore new and exciting ways of advertising and building their reputation. The first overseas brewery was opened in 1936, and the following years saw the creation of what would become some of the most legendary marketing campaigns in history. 

Illustrated by renowned cartoonist John Gilroy, perhaps the most famous art from this time period is the iconic Guinness toucan. First created in the 1930s as an innovative way to promote the brand, this colourful bird remains synonymous with the brand all over the world.

The next few decades were nothing short of monumental for the brand, and breweries in both Africa and Asia followed as demand skyrocketed. Now part of the Diageo family of brands, Guinness is now one of the most widely-consumed beverages in the world with a reputation for excellence in everything from clothing and food to live events and festivals.

We have no shortage of fantastic Guinness Official Merchandise on offer online, if you want to have a look. From personalised pint glasses and nostalgic bar signs to clothing and loads more besides, we’re sure to have something you like!

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