Guinness. It’s dark. It’s frothy. It’s creamy. It’s a beer classic. And this year, the Guinness brewery is celebrating its 250th birthday. Now, Guinness might not be the oldest beer in the world — I think I’ve got a bottle of Sam Adams Blackberry Witbier in my fridge that’s been there for at least 300 years — but Guinness is pretty damn old. The Thirsty Beagle saw a commercial last night advertising this fact, so I decided to pay a tribute to Guinness with a little history report for my readers.
-1725: Arthur Guinness is born.
-1752: Guinness inherits $147 (U.S.) in the will of his godfather.
-1759: Guinness signs a 9,000-year lease for a vacant brewery in Dublin, Ireland, for an initial cost of $147. The brewery starts producing a porter and ale.
-1769: Guinness beer is first shipped to England.
-1775: Arthur Guinness brandishes a pickaxe to fend off local officials who try to block off the river that provides his brewery’s water supply. The dispute is eventually resolved without violence.
-1801: West India Porter is first brewed. The beer is a precursor to modern day Guinness Stout.
-1803: Arthur Guinness dies. His son, Arthur Guinness II, takes over.
-1840: Guinness beer is first sent to New York.
-1862: Guinness’ famous harp label is introduced. It’s registered as a trademark in 1876.
-1914: Fifty percent of all Guinness is sold in the U.S.
-1940: Guinness brewery converts from wooden to metal brewing vessels.
-1963: The last wooden keg is filled at the brewery.
-1985: Guinness is sold in 120 countries.
-2001: The world drinks 2 billion pints of Guinness
-2009: Guinness brewery to celebrate 250th birthday.
You’ll probably see plenty of commercials in the coming months promoting the birthday. If you’ve got time to kill in September, perhaps you can plan to attend the brewery’s birthday party. It’s being called Arthur’s Day, obviously in tribute to the founder, and is planned for Sept. 24 in Dublin.
In the meantime, I think we as beer fans can all agree to raise a pint in honor of the dark, creamy stuff.