Monday August 3, 2009

The Guinness story

1759: Arthur Guinness signs a 9,000-year lease on a disused brewery at St James’s Gate, Dublin, for an initial payment of £100 and subsequent annual rental of £45 (including water rights). He begins brewing porter and ale.

1769: The first export of Guinness (six-and-a-half barrels) to England.

Arthur Guinness

1799: Arthur Guinness brews his last Dublin Ale, deciding instead to concentrate solely on the production of his increasingly popular porter.

1801: The West India Porter – the precursor to the modern-day Guinness Foreign Extra Stout (FES) is first brewed.

1803: Arthur Guinness dies and the business is inherited by his son, Arthur Guinness II.

1811: First shipment of Guinness to Lisbon, Portugal.

1815: Guinness becomes well-known on the Continent for aiding the recovery of a cavalry officer wounded at the Battle of Waterloo (the officer’s account of how Guinness helped him appeared in an 1930s advert that bore the headline, Guinness at Waterloo).

1820s: Shipments of Guinness reach Guernsey (a British dependency in the English Channel off the coast of Normandy), Barbados, Trinidad and Sierra Leone.

1821: Arthur Guinness II sets down precise instructions for brewing Guinness Extra Superior Porter – the precursor to today’s Guinness Original and Guinness Extra Stout.

1833: Guinness survives the post-war recession to become the biggest brewery in Ireland.

1840: First shipment to New York, the United States.

1850s: Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness, son of Arthur Guinness II, takes over the brewery on the death of his father. Sir Benjamin becomes a Member of Parliament for Dublin City and also serves as Lord Mayor of Dublin.

1858: The first export to New Zealand.

1860s: The first export of Guinness to South-East Asia.

1862: The trademark Guinness label is introduced – a buff oval label with the harp and Arthur Guinness’ signature. The Harp is registered as a trademark in 1876.

1868: Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness dies and his son Edward Cecil takes over. Edward doubles the size of the brewery to accommodate a cooperage, a racking shed, a maltings, new vathouse, a storehouse for fermenting vessels and even an internal railway system.

1886: The Guinness brewery becomes the first major brewery to be incorporated as a public-listed company on the London Stock Exchange. It is now the largest brewery in the world with an annual production of 1.2 million barrels.

1901: The first Guinness research laboratory is established, followed by an experimental Brewhouse and Experimental Maltings later.

1914: The output of the brewery reaches 30 million barrels a year. More than 3,240 people are employed at the brewery and about 10,000 people are dependent on the brewery for their livelihood – that’s 1 in 30 of Dublin’s population.

1929: First ever advertisement for Guinness with the slogan “Guinness Is Good For You” is published in the British national press. This was soon followed by advertisements featuring the cartoon characters created by John Gilroy. His famous series of posters of the distraught zookeeper and his mischievous animals carried the line “My Goodness, My Guinness”.

1949: Guinness Nigeria is set up to import and market Guinness in Nigeria, a big market for the stout.

1950-1975: New Guinness breweries open around the world in countries like Kenya, Trinidad, Cameroon, Mauritius, Ghana, Angola, Liberia, Seychelles, Jamaica, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Nigeria, Thailand, Cote D’Ivoire, Guyana, St Kitts, Singapore, Haiti, Bahamas, Indonesia, South Africa, Tanzania and Togo.

1963: The last wooden keg is racked at the brewery at St James’s Gate. From this date Guinness is stored and shipped in metal kegs.

1965: In August 1965, the first commercial brew of the Guinness Malaysian Brewery (Sungei Way Brewery, Selangor) is successfully completed, six weeks ahead of schedule. It is officially opened by Tunku Abdul Rahman on March 19, 1966. The same year, a joint venture is set up in Japan, with Sapporo selected to market imported Guinness.

1970s: In Malaysia, Guinness starts distributing and selling its own brands, adopting the Bulldog symbol across all products.

1988: The first “widget” beer, Guinness Draught in a can, is launched. Three years later it wins the Queen’s award for technological achievement.

1993: Guinness celebrates a century in Malaysia. A specially recreated commemorative classic bottle that carries the original 1965 Guinness Foreign Extra Stout label is produced.

1997: Guinness PLC & Grand Metropolitan PLC merge to form Diageo PLC.

1999: Guinness Draught in Bottles is launched using the new rocket widget.

2000: Overseas sales overtake sales in Britain and Ireland for the first time, accounting for 50.6% of total brand volume. A fermentation plant at St James’s Gate Brewery, Dublin, is transformed into the Guinness Storehouse – a new visitor’s centre that captures the heart and soul of the world’s favourite stout. The same year, brewing starts in Thippia, Nepal and Canada.

2003: Guinness global brand volume exceeds 10 million hectolitres for the first time (one hectolitre is equivalent to 176 pints). Over 5 million hectolitres are sold overseas.

2007: 10 million glasses of Guinness are enjoyed every day and the stout is sold in over 150 countries around the world.

2009: Guinness celebrates its 250th anniversary. – By S. Indramalar

Source: The official Guinness website

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