I had always heard that Guinness beer tasted better in Ireland. The truth is that I do not like that beer very much, but I love its eccentric marketing, which has nothing to do with the brand. If you visit Dublin, you must try the flagship beer of the country and that’s what I did. And it’s true, it does tastes better!
It seems that the difference in taste is not a myth, but a reality. The Institute of Food Technologists did a study to see if there really was a difference in taste. 33 cities in 14 countries participated and concluded that it does tastes better in Dublin.
The main brewery of Guinness is located in St. James Gate’s in the city of Dublin. The unfermented Guinness herb extract is shipped from Dublin and mixed with locally brewed beer. The amount of alcohol varies by country. You can buy beer in more than 100 countries worldwide, but it is only prepared in 50.
The countries that drink the most Guinness are the United Kingdom, Ireland, Nigeria, the United States and Cameroon. 40% of the brand’s beer is produced and sold in Africa.
How Guinness should be served
There are several factors that can influence the flavor, including the fact that the company sends its representatives to the affiliated pubs every three weeks to ‘wash the lines’. If the line is clean, beer tastes better. To serve the perfect beer you have to follow the six step process taught in the brewery tour. This double serve was invented by the mathematician-brewer Michael Ash. But you must be patience because a perfect serve takes 119.5 seconds.
You must put the pint glass under the tap at 45 degrees and fill 3/4 of the glass. Let it rest before you serve again to fill the glass completely. This also works if you are serving a Guinness bottle or can.
Many think that the beer is black, but if you look closely it really is a dark ruby red color. This occurs because of the roasted barley, which gives it its distinctive color. In addition the beer has malted barley, hops, yeast and water. The top part is white because of the nitrogen in the beer.
Michael Ash also invented putting nitrogen in beer in 1959. The bubbles made by nitrogen are much smaller than those of carbon dioxide and give it a creamier flavor. This explains why the Guinness tasted malted to me.
Visit Guinness Storehouse in Dublin
On my visit to Dublin, I took the Hop On Hop Off tour bus that stops at the Guinness factory. The beer complex is very large but you will only enter the Storehouse which is a 7-story building built in 1904. The top floor has the gravity bar which is the highest bar in Dublin, with a 360 degree panoramic view of the capital of Ireland. To get to the top you must first do the whole tour.
Guinness Storehouse was opened in the year 2000. When you enter you will see a huge circle with a copy of the contract signed by Arthur Guinness, founder of Guinness, to rent the space for 9,000 years at a cost of £45 per year. In 1769, they began exporting to the United Kingdom and in 1778 they began selling dark beer called ‘porter’.
On the first floor they will explain all the ingredients used to make the beer. If you are hungry you can go to the fifth floor to eat typical Irish dishes that use beer in their preparation.
The peak of the company was in the 1930s, when it employed more than 5,000 workers. With automation they now employ 600, but still produce 2.5 million pints of stout per day.
Of course, they will make you serve the perfect pint at the Guiness Academy that includes a certificate.
Beer fans can buy souvenirs in the gigantic souvenir shop. Even if you’re not much of a fan, you will probably get something from the store. I bought some of those bags to take to the supermarket, a shirt and a magnet for the fridge.
Very unusual marketing
They were not always marketing geniuses. Before 1930 it was pure word of mouth, but its sales dropped and they had to start making themselves known.
Benson S.H. was in charge of advertising at that time which was drawn mainly by the artist John Gilroy. He used animals that were not from Ireland, such as kangaroo, ostrich, seal, lion and notably a toucan. Artwork was simple, using phrases like “Precious day for a Guinness” and “Guinness makes you strong”.
Over the years they have won many awards for their advertising that although it is very creative, has little to do with the product, such as Coca-Cola. There is a full section in the Guinness Storehouse that shows the evolution of marketing.
If you think where else you’ve heard the name Guinness, surely the world record book comes to mind. It is not a coincidence, since the idea was created in 1955 by Sir Hugh Beaver, then the managing director of the brewery.
Diageo, the company that bought Guinness, recently launched a plan to renovate the historic buildings that are inside the brewing complex. 5 hectares will be developed, including the first “vat house” of Guinness, built in 1798, and room n.°2, which was the largest brewery in the world at the beginning of the 20th century.
This urban space will include a mix of residential (including social interest), commercial and vacational. The project has been called “Guinness City” by the locals.