By Calvin Palmer
Brewing company Guinness celebrated its 250th birthday today with the great-great-great-great-great-grandson of Arthur Guinness, Rory Guinness, declaring it was a great day for the family and the company.
“One of the keys to Guinness is the fact that it comes from Ireland, because the country is what supplies the wonderful barley, the water, all the magic ingredients to go into making such a delicious pint,” Rory said.
In 1759, Arthur Guinness brewed the first pint of the stout, euphemistically known as the “black stuff”.
Dublin is the hub of the celebrations but glasses will be raised in every corner of the world.
The Guinness Storehouse, Ireland’s top tourist draw, featured singer Tom Jones as part of the celebrations, along with Boyzone’s Ronan Keating.
Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen marked the occasion with a speech before the festivities began in which he called Guinness a “global phenomenon”.
“The Dublin celebrations are, of course, special because this is the home of the black stuff and Guinness is an iconic Irish brand — one that we are very proud of.”
Some 10 million pints of Guinness are now downed every day in 150 countries.
Founder Arthur Guinness used a small inheritance to sign a 9,000-year lease on a run-down brewery in Dublin’s St James’s Gate and start one of Ireland’s biggest commercial success stories.
Six generations of the Guinness family were involved in managing the brewery. Lord Benjamin Iveagh, Rory Guinness’ father, was the last family chairman of the company which has been owned by the Diageo drinks giant since a merger in 1997.
Having a job with “Uncle Arthur”, as the firm was known in Ireland, came to mean security, a two pints a day free stout allowance, staff picnics and company health care and sports facilities, including a sports field and swimming pool.
In Ireland, the company still directly employs 2,200 and an estimated 20,000 indirectly.
[Based on a report by AFP.]