15 Things You didn’t know about Guinness

Guinness is a world-famous beverage company that was founded by Arthur Guinness in Dublin, Ireland. the company’s most popular product is the Guinness dark beer which is a specialty blend of dry stout. The beverage was first produced in the St.James Gate Brewery which Arthur was able to rent for only 45 Irish pounds.

For more information on the stout style of beer check our The Storied History of the Stout.

1. The Guinness brand is over 250 years old

Arthur Guinness founded the company back in 1759. But it’s doubtful he knew the brand he created would stand the test of time. The Guinness family grew to fame and prominence as a result of the success of the brewery and a number of other business ventures. Had it not been for Arthurs son Edward the brewery would never have been listed on the London Stock Exchange back in 1886. This single move secured the company’s future for many years to come.

A glass of Guinness beer on a table.
Credit: https://unsplash.com/s/photos/guinness-beer

2. Over 200 000 gallons of Guinness are sold every year

Guinness is one of the most popular beers in the world. It brewed in over 50 different countries and it’s readily available in more than 120 countries. The most Guinness sold is in the UK, followed by Ireland, Nigeria, The US, and Cameroon. Over 220 000 gallons of stout beer are sold every year and over 10 million pints are drunk every single day.

3. Guinness stout is the number one beer in Ireland

Guinness is without a doubt one of the most popular beers in the UK and number one selling beer in Ireland. Although Arthur Guinness built the first brewery in Dublin the headquarters was later moved to London in 1932. Many often debate whether Guinness is authentically Irish or British. Regardless the dark beer is incorporated into a number of national dishes of both countries.

4. Guinness became the 7th largest company in the world by 1930

The Guinness brand continued to expand its reach and explore new markets. After it was established in the early 1900s the demand was approaching 3 million barrels per year. It’s a little wonder that the company soon emerged as being among the top 10 largest companies in the world. Coming in at number 7 the company continued to grow because it produced a number of great products and worked hard.

Ernest Saunders CEO of Guinness company surrounded by news reporters.
Credit: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/business/analysis-and-features/were-guinness-four-victims-anti-semitism-10022080.html

5. The Guinness brand is worth 2.3 billion dollars

Financial analysts have determined that Guinness is the wealthiest brand in Ireland. In 2017 records indicated the brand is worth over 2.3 billion dollars and growth is expected to continue in the foreseeable future. This growth is attributed to the company’s push for carefully branded advertising campaigns that are designed to target a younger market.

6. The first Guinness CEO that was not part of the Guinness family was forced to resign

The Guinness brand was known to be a family-owned business. At least three of Arthurs sons and many descendants followed in the footsteps and became brewers. In fact, the company was initially named The Guinness and Sons Company Limited. And as such, it was a very momentous occasion when the board selected a Chief Executive Officer that was not part of the Guinness family. Ernest Saunders was appointed in 1983. Just three years later he became part of a group of businessmen who were implicated in using fraudulent tactics to manipulate the prices of Guinness stock. He was sentenced to 5 years in prison. Although he served considerably less time.

7. Two Guinness directors were arrested for their involvement in a stock price fraud

In 1986 price scandal involved noteworthy figures and banks across the globe. The Guinness directors among other conspirators paid individuals to buy millions of shares in the company stocks. This was in an effort to drive the value of the property. The plan worked because the value of Guinness stocks increased by 25% as a result of the mass purchases. The scandal also implicated several branches of the private Swiss bank.

A black bottle of Guinness The 1759 special edition beer placed in a black velvet lined box.
Credit: https://www.guinness.com/en-ie/beers-around-the-world/guinness-the-1759/

8. The Guinness company once avoided hiring anyone who was a Roman Catholic

The Roman Catholic religion has had a long and controversial relationship with alcohol and those who consumed it. We can’t be certain why it was done until 1939. There was an unwritten rule that Guinness employees had to resign if they intended to marry someone Catholic. There is evidence that suggests that even until the late 1960s Guinness executives would avoid even hiring Catholics and this was viewed as very controversial. Because many Catholics would purchase and consume Guinness.

9. Guinness adjusted its recipe to make the beer vegan friendly

Traditionally Guinness was made with Isinglass which is derived from bladders of a specific type of fish. It was shunned by vegans who seek to avoid consuming any food from animals. The ingredient is used to filter, clarify and refine the beer. In 2017 the company released the first batch of beer that was produced without this ingredient and now it’s suitable for vegans.

10. The most expensive Guinness bottle sells for $35

Beer is not known for being expensive. But Guinness is on the higher end of popular beer sales. In 2014 Guinness stepped things up a bit further with their limited edition signature series. A small-batch amber ale called The 1759 in honor of the year the company was founded. It was made with the same fine whiskey malt that was used in premium whiskeys and scotches. Worldwide only 90 000 units were made. It came in a sleek black bottle in a black-velvet-lined box.

A portrait of Arthur Guinness the founder of Guinness company.
Credit: https://www.irishcentral.com/roots/history/arthur-guinness

11. The Guinness family still owns 51% of the brand

Although the company has undergone significant changes throughout the years. The Guinness family remains a major shareholder. No member of the family currently sits on the Board of Directors. Still, they continue to have incredible influence over how the company operates.

12. Guinness opened another US brewery in August 2018

The Guinness company recently made headlines and caused quite a bit of a stir when it opened another US brewery in Maryland. This opening made headlines because it’s the first US brewery to have been opened in 60 years. The 62-acre property is expected to receive over 30 000 visitors annually. Plans are also in place to develop a restaurant on the property.

13. For many years they refused to pay for advertisments or promotions

In 1868 the demand for beer was a little less than 400 000 barrels per year. Less than 8 years later in 1876, the demand for beer had doubled to almost 800 000 barrels annually. By 1886 the demand for Guinness beer had skyrocketed to over 1 million barrels. this steady increase in demand was incredible. Because the company would not pay for any form of advertising and refused to discount their products and dint own any pubs that exclusively sold their beer.

14. Arthur Guinness had at least 20 children

Arthur married his wife Olivia Whitmore in 1761. He benefited from the 1000 pounds dowry that was paid to him by her family. While the exact number is not certain it’s known that together the couple had at least 20 children.

15. Guinness beer is healthier than those produced by Budweiser and Heineken

When the beer first emerged on the market many often labelled the drink as a meal and a glass. They were thoroughly convinced the beverage was a rich source of a number of key vitamins. Scientists have since proven that the beer doesn’t back to provide some nutritional benefits. while it’s higher in calories than most beers it’s also rich in a nutrient known as folate. The rich flavorful beer is also a good source of fiber because its made from malted and unmalted grains.

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