A Brief History of Ireland's Most Famous C-Store Product

Guinness

Arguably one of Ireland's most notable imports in U.S. convenience stores, Guinness has a rich and vibrant history that began (with the birth of its founder) more than 50 years before the American Revolution.

So, sit back, grab a pint and join us this St. Patrick's Day as we look at the history of the most festive beer in your cold vault today. 

Slainte!

 

1725

Arthur Guinness

Arthur Guinness was born in 1725 in Celbridge, County Kildare, Ireland. In 1752, Guinness inherited 100 pounds from his godfather, Archbishop Price, and set up his own ale brewery in Leixlip, County Kildare, Ireland. 

1759

9000-year lease

On Dec. 31, 34-year-old Guinness signed a 9,000-year lease on a small, unlikely property at St. James’s Gate in Dublin and began brewing ale.

1769

Guinness exports

In 1769, 6.5 barrels of Guinness beer left Dublin on a ship bound for England. The success of this first export was the first of many good things to come.

1801

In 1801, Guinness brewed his first West India Porter, a precursor to the Guinness Foreign Extra Stout in your cold vault today. Due to the growing popularity of the porter-style beers in general during this time, Guinness made the decision to stop brewing ales and concentrate on perfecting his porter 

1803

Arthur Guinness II

Arthur Guinness II took over his father’s brewery after his death in 1803. 

1817

On Oct. 16, 1817, eight barrels of porter were sent across the Atlantic to John Heavy in South Carolina.

1821

Guinness recipe

For the first time, instructions for brewing Guinness Superior Porter were recorded. It would eventually become today's Guinness Original and Guinness Extra Stout.

1850

Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness

Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness took over the brewery from his father, Arthur Guinness II, in 1850. 

1868

St. James’s Gate

In 1868, Edward Cecil took over for Sir Benjamin Lee Guinness and doubled the size of the family brewery. The new and improved St. James’s Gate included its own railway system, cooperage and barley maltings, as well as its very own medical department, fire brigade and canteens for staff.

1877

Guinness fleet

In 1877, the company commissioned a new fleet of custom-designed Guinness barges to transport its beer along Ireland’s River Liffey.

1927

Rupert Guinness, 2nd Lord Iveagh

Rupert Guinness, second Earl of Iveagh, took over as chairman of the company in 1927.

1939

British Expeditionary Force

In 1939, all British troops in the British Expeditionary Force in France received a bottle of Guinness to accompany their Christmas dinner.

1959

Michael Ash

Guinness was the first brewer to employ scientists to help create the perfect beer, according to the company website. Michael Ash invented Guinness Draught’s "surge and settle" effect and the world’s first nitro beer. By pairing nitrogen gas and carbon dioxide, the Guinness Draught was born. It soon established itself as the top-selling Guinness beer "with lightning speed."

1988

Guinness Draught widget

In 1988, Guinness released its first can with the widget, which nitrogenates canned Guinness so it retains its smooth and creamy taste.

1999

Guinness bottled draught widget

It wasn't long until the brewer employed the same technology in its bottled-beer products.

2014

Guinness Blonde American Lager was released in 2014. This light and floral beer has a distinct flavor of citrus. It is well-balanced with a lingering malt and biscuity finish.

2015

Guinness Nitro IPA

In 2015, the company released its Nitro IPA, which features a blend of carbon dioxide and nitrogen to balance out the profusion of hop flavors.