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Surprising facts about Ireland’s biggest brands

Did you know that it takes 119.5 seconds to brew the perfect pint of Guinness? That Tayto founder, Joe “Spud” Murphy, invented the world’s first seasoned crisp? That Jacob’s Cream Crackers were created to sustain sailors on long voyages? Or that Lucozade was originally sold in pharmacies? Read on for more fascinating facts about Ireland’s favourite brands.

1. guinness

Arthur Guinness started out brewing ale

Although Guinness is famous for its stout, Arthur Guinness actually started brewing ale before he turned his hand to the black stuff and it’s a good thing he did because 10 million glasses of Guinness stout are consumed around the world every day.

It takes 119.5 seconds

and 6 crucial steps to brew the perfect pint

Pouring the perfect pint has become a bit of an art form and there is quite a lot of science behind it too. It takes exactly 119.5 seconds to brew the perfect pint of Guinness and involves a sacred 6-step process.

Guinness is the reason the harp

is featured backwards on all of our official documents

In 1862 Guinness began using the harp as the symbol of their brand and they went on to trademark it in 1876. This meant that when the Irish Republic was established in 1992 it had to flip Guinness’s design in order to use the harp as the symbol of the new state.

Over the years, this left-facing design was added to stamps, coins, passports, seals and official documents. If you look closely you will notice that the Guinness harp has the flat side to the left, while the Government harp has its flat side to the right (i.e. backwards).

The name Tayto came from a child

The name “Tayto” is believed to have originated from Murphy’s son’s childhood mis-pronunciation of the word “potato”.

525 packs of Tayto are sold every minute

Tayto crisps are the food Irish people crave most when they go abroad and 525 packs are sold every minute – that’s a whopping 756,000 packs every single day!

2. tayto crisps

Ireland might be well known for potatoes but did you know that we have made a massive contribution to potato chips or crisps too?

Joe “Spud” Murphy invented flavoured crisps

In a personal crusade against the bland crisps of the time, Joe “Spud” Murphy invented the iconic Cheese and Onion flavour in 1954. He is also credited with inventing the world’s first seasoned crisp, sparking a flavour revolution all around the world.

3. JACOB’S CREAM CRACKERS

Cream crackers are an Irish invention

Although they are now eaten in 35 countries worldwide, cream crackers were actually invented in Ireland. The Jacob family from Co. Waterford were the first to produce this humble biscuit in 1885.

Cream crackers were created for sailors

Did you know that cream crackers were originally made to meet the demand for non-perishable food for sailors during long voyages? They needed something that was easy to eat and store and would last for a long time at sea.

There is no cream in a cream cracker

In spite of the name, there is actually no cream at all in a cream cracker. They are made from dough that is fermented for 24 hours and the name refers to the way the mixture is “creamed” during the manufacturing process.

Jacobs supplied biscuits to the soldiers during World War 1

Jacobs supported the war effort by supplying soldiers with biscuits during the First World War. They also rehired every worker who had fought in the war and helped to find work for a large number of injured soldiers.

The Jacob brothers, William and Robert, were honoured for their achievements in 2018, when a Heritage Blue Plaque was placed outside their former home in Waterford.

4. supermac’s

How Supermac’s got its name

Supermac’s is one of Ireland’s favourite fast food outlets. Its founder, Pat McDonagh, was a keen footballer and the name “Supermac’s” came from “Super Mac”, a nickname he was given at school for his prowess on the field.

Supermac’s took on the big boys and won!

In a David V Goliath-style court battle in 2019 McDonagh challenged McDonalds’ claim to the exclusive rights to the “Mc” prefix on some of their products and won the right to use the “Supermac’s” name across Europe.

5. kerrygold

Grass-fed cows are the secret to great tasting butter

Kerrygold butter is hard to beat and is popular not just in Ireland, but worldwide – it’s actually the second biggest selling butter in the US. The secret to its great taste? It’s made from milk produced by Irish cows. These cows are grass-fed, which gives it its distinctive creamy texture and unique flavour. Following the old adage “Why mess with perfection?”, it’s still made to the original 1962 recipe.

6. lucozade

Lucozade was originally sold in pharmacies

Although it’s actually a British brand, Lucozade deserves a special mention for all the Irish children it has nursed back to health over the years. In Ireland Lucozade has long been hailed as the cure for all ills, and has been claimed to be capable of soothing everything from a sick stomach to a broken arm.

However, there is actually some small grain of truth to this claim – when Lucozade was invented in Newcastle in 1927 it was originally called “Glucozade” and sold in pharmacies. Older generations will remember that it came in a glass bottle with a distinctive orange cellophane wrapper, which somehow added to its health credentials. It was later rebranded as an energy drink in 1983, with the slogan “Replaces lost energy”.

7. JACOB’S FIG ROLLS

Bet you don’t know how Jacob’s get the figs into their Fig Rolls?

Nope! Neither do we. But if you ever do figure it out, please let us know. We did ask, but they wouldn’t tell us. Some secrets are just too closely guarded.

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