15 Little-Known Facts About Guinness Beer
If you are one of the millions of people that like beer, then you are likely familiar with the world famous Guinness brand. Although it is a beer that originated in Ireland, you don’t need to go to Ireland to sample the great taste. Guinness is sold throughout the world which means that people everywhere can appreciate its unique flavor from the tap, from a bottle, or from a can.
Guinness beer has been brewed for over 250 years. It started out with one man’s vision and has gone on to become a multi-billion dollar business. Guinness Draft is the main product but there are many others. This stout is dry and is characterized by its dark appearance and foamy white head. The beer contains about 4.2% alcohol by volume and is wildly popular in its home of Ireland as well as in Britain and many other countries. Guinness Dublin Porter, Guinness West Indies Porter, Guinness Golden Ale, and Guinness Hop House 13 Lager are a few of the many different types of Guinness beer.
There are a few things that are commonly known about Guinness beer, but with its long and illustrious history, there is probably a lot that you don’t know. Here are 15 little-known facts about Guinness beer.
15. Guinness Is A Generous Employer
Employers were not well-known for being overly big-hearted with benefits and other perks in the early parts of the 1900s but Guinness was one rare exception. In 1928, Guinness began to offer free medical and dental care to their employees. As nice as that gesture was, there was even more. Employees were also given a couple of free pints after each workday. Perhaps the most surprising perk was the pay. Employees were paid about 20% more than those who worked at competing breweries. Did we mention that Guinness gave their employees full pensions too?
In recent years, Guinness was forced to lay off about 140 workers after closing down a plant. The displaced workers’ severance packages included a nice chunk of cash, health care, scholarships and 14 free bottles of beer every week for the next ten years.
14. You Could Die of Thirst Waiting for a Pint
This is a bit of an exaggeration but you will still find yourself waiting at the bar for over 2 minutes while the bartender fills your glass. According to the Guinness Storehouse Fact Sheet, there are six steps involved in pouring the perfect pint. The person dispensing the tasty beverage must take a cool and clean Guinness glass, hold the mug at a 45-degree angle under the tap, pull the tap handle until it’s horizontal, and then fill the mug about ¾ of the way. Under no circumstances should the spout ever touch the drink.
Now, the beer needs to settle in the glass for 119.5 seconds before the bartender tops up the glass until the foamy head is slightly higher than the rim. The pint is then handed to the customer without any spillage.
13. What? It May be Good for You?
One of the 15 little-known facts about Guinness beer is that drinking it may have some health benefits. Of course, like with anything else, the key to this is moderation. To start with, a pint of Guinness contains just 198 calories which is lower than what you would find in equal volumes of low-fat milk, wine, or many other light beers. The flavonoids in Guinness beer can lower the risk of a heart attack and blood clots. Pregnant women in Ireland were, at one time, actually urged to drink a glass each day in order to strengthen themselves and their expected child. Some health professionals still argue that nursing mothers should drink small amounts to stimulate prolactin production.
The slogan “Guinness is good for you”, which was created in the 1920s, may have some truth to it.
12. The Guinness Family Gives Back
Arthur Guinness’s vision included sharing his wealth and making life better for others. This vision has been passed down through the generations. The family has set up various charities over the years and they built houses in response to severe overcrowding in Dublin. One family member even moved himself and his new bride into a Dublin slum in order to bring about awareness of the poor. He did this after receiving ₤5 million as a wedding gift. During World War 1, Guinness guaranteed the jobs of every worker that went off to fight. The families were paid ½ of the employee’s salary while they were away fighting. The Guinness family has restored historic cathedrals and libraries, donated vast amounts of property, gave a grant to set up the Lister Institute for Preventative Medicine, and built hospitals.
Sure, when you drink a Guinness you are making rich people even richer but you are also indirectly helping others. Raise a glass!!
11. Guinness Beer for Cooking
Are you looking to try out a new recipe? Do a Google search of “beef and Guinness” and you will see loads of creative recipes that all call for Guinness beer to be used. The famous beef and Guinness stew, beef and Guinness pie, Guinness-braised pot roast, Guinness corned beef and cabbage, and beef and Guinness casseroles are just the tip of the iceberg. Try the same search using lamb, chicken, or pork instead of beef. You can also make a tasty Guinness beer batter for your fish and chips.
And for dessert? How about chocolate Guinness cake, black and tan brownies, or a piece of malted chocolate and Guinness layer cake? There are hundreds of different recipes out there that are sure to satisfy your taste buds. There are even a few Guinness beer breakfast recipes!!
10. St. James Gate Brewery’s 9,000-Year Lease
Arthur Guinness, who is the founder of this famous brand, must have had a lot of confidence in his product. On December 31st, 1759, Mr. Guinness signed a 9,000-year lease on the then empty St. James Gate Brewery which sat on a 4-acre lot in Dublin. Amazingly, the agreed upon lease payments was ₤45 per year and came with free access to water. He turned it into the largest brewery in the world by 1886. While it has since lost its status as the world’s largest brewery, it is still the biggest exporter of stout on Earth. The brewery is also one of the most technologically modern breweries on the planet. It even has its own power plant.
The company bought the brewery outright many years ago and it is now a very impressive complex that sits on over 50 acres of land.
9. They Fund The Guinness Book of World Records
We are all familiar with the Guinness Book of World Records but not everyone knows why it was created or how it came into being. Most of us have found ourselves in a bar having a few drinks with friends when a disagreement breaks out over some piece of trivia. This is exactly what happened in 1951 when Sir Hugh Beaver, the Guinness Brewery M.D., made a claim about the golden plover being the fastest bird in the world. He was unable to find a reference book to prove himself correct so he decided to make his own. With a lot of help, the first edition was published in 1955. The Guinness Book of Records was distributed to pubs so that customers could refer to it if they found themselves debating some piece of trivia like what the fastest bird on Earth is. By the way, the grey-headed albatross is the fastest bird at level flight while the peregrine falcon is the fastest diving bird.
8. How to Properly Drink a Guinness
We have already learned that just being able to pour a Guinness is a bit of an art form but did you know there is a proper way to drink your pint of Guinness? Well, it turns out that there is. When you get your Guinness, you will notice that it has a thick creamy white head. Do not scrape or blow it off and don’t slurp it away. It’s there for a reason. It is created by nitrogen bubbles and carbon dioxide reacting when the beer is poured and the foam essentially guards the beer against outside elements. It also lends to the beer’s intended texture of being mildly carbonated without being flat. The head has a bitter flavor that will change the taste of the beer if you were to slurp it off. It is also recommended that you take healthy gulps as opposed to little sips.
One of the 15 little-known facts about Guinness beer is that they invented the widget. We’re not talking about those computer software widgets or applets that you use on your computer or smart phone. We’re talking about a plastic gizmo that is placed inside every can of Guinness Draft. The widget, which sits inside the can atop the can’s contents, is filled with a bit of beer and some nitrogen. When you crack open the can, the widget is forced open and its contents quickly spread throughout the entire beer. This process results in the same thick creamy head as you would get in the pub when you get a Guinness Draft on tap. This means that when you pour your beer, as perfectly as you can, the head will do what it is intended to do so you can enjoy your Guinness beer as it was intended to be enjoyed.
6. Arthur’s Day
If you recall, Arthur Guinness signed his famous lease on St. Jame’s Gate Brewery on December 31st, 1759. Since that historic moment, Guinness beer has become wildly successful and an Irish icon. Arthur Guinness is so revered that he was honored with his own special day. The first Arthur’s Day, which marked the 250th anniversary of Guinness beer, was held on September 23rd, 2009. Live broadcasts took place in Dublin, Lagos, New York, Kuala Lumpur, and Yaounde where events were organized and €6 million was raised for the Arthur Guinness Fund. Celebrants raised their glasses of Guinness and toasted ol’ Artie at 17:59, referencing the year the company was established.
Unfortunately, the annual event was canceled 2013 as the celebrations turned into drunken animal shows. The event was replaced by Guinness Amplify which helps Irish musicians.
5. Out of Viagra? Have a Guinness!!
What can’t this beer do? It’s reportedly true. Apparently, many people swear that Guinness beer acts as an aphrodisiac. Advertising campaigns in some parts of the world even praise the beer’s ability to turn men into better lovers. Some experts claim that the phytoestrogens that are found in Guinness will make a man last longer before they experience the big moment of glory. Other experts say that the iron in the beer helps the circulatory system function better which gives a man a stronger and longer lasting erection. Guinness beer will also settle your stomach which is helpful if the thought of having a bit of nookie with your better half makes you a bit queasy.
Just be reminded that we’re talking about having one or two Guinnesses. The whole plan could easily turn into a complete disaster if you overdo it.
4. The Trademark Harp
The “Brian Boru” harp image that appears on the Guinness label was first introduced in 1862. Along with Arthur Guinness’s signature, the harp’s placement on the label was a way of protecting the brand overseas. It was actually one of the UK’s first ever trademarks. Ireland’s coat of arms bears an almost identical “Brian Boru” harp and this caused some problems for the Irish government when they wanted to register the image with the patent office as an official state symbol. We all know that businesses are very possessive of their trademarks and brand identities.
One of the 15 little-known facts about Guinness beer is that they came to an amicable agreement with the Irish government that stands today. The harp that is featured on Ireland’s coat of arms faces left and the Guinness logo faces right.
3. Michael Power – “Guinness always brings out the power in you.”
He’s a journalist and he’s an intrepid action hero. He’s part Duffman, part Popeye, part James Bond, and part MacGyver. He is the man behind one of Guinness’s most successful advertising campaigns. He’s Michael Power and he began appearing in short action films and radio spots aimed at the African market in 1999. The idea was that Power would be faced with all kinds of danger and adversity but he would always save the day thanks to his quick thinking and superhero-like qualities that were brought to life thanks to Guinness beer. The character catchphrase was “Guinness always brings out the power in you.” Clever, isn’t it? Well, Michael Power’s impact on the African beer market was a dramatic one as Guinness sales doubled by 2003. The successful campaign culminated with a full-length feature film called Critical Assignment in 2003.
2. Guinness Beer Cocktails?
Why not? You can do almost anything else with Guinness beer so why not use it in a cocktail? The Lady Guinness, Irish Car Bomb, Best Ever Bloody Mary, and the Drunken Leprechaun are just a few of the mouth-watering cocktails that one can easily make. These are a little more sophisticated than the simple Depth Charge.
With a bit of rum and some Guinness you can whip up a Backfire on the Freeway and if you have some cola, Kahlua, vodka, and Guinness, you could have yourself a Black Irish. Hundreds of Guinness beer cocktail recipes are found all over the internet. You can check out Guinness’s website to find out how to make a St. James’s Flip, a Dean Swift, a Guinness Black Velvet, or a Wilde Oscar among others.
1. Just How Much Guinness is Consumed Every Day?
Guinness beer is sold in over 150 countries and is brewed in 49. That’s a lot of beer being produced every day but the demand is definitely there. It is estimated that 10 million glasses of Guinness are consumed on a daily basis. The “black stuff”, which is actually ruby red, is very popular in Britain and Ireland but you may be surprised to discover that about 40% of sales are generated in Africa. Guinness has breweries located in Ghana, Nigeria, and Cameroon. The latter two countries being among the top 5 consumers in the world.
Most of us know that a lot of beer is imbibed on St. Patrick’s Day but you probably don’t know that revelers drink 13 million pints of Guinness every March 17th. The annual amount is literally staggering.
Sources: fortune.com, cnn.com, nrp.org, askmen.com, menshealth.com
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