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Guinness's Impact on Irish Culture

Seminararbeit 2016 10 Seiten

Kulturwissenschaften - Europa



1. Sayings about Guinness® beer

2. Arthur Guinness: Biography
2.1 Childhood and Beginnings
2.2 Business Life

3. Influence on the life of Irish population
3.1 Pub
3.2 Lifestyle of the population
3.3 Social aspects
3.3.1 Religion
3.3.2 Employees
3.3.3 Charity
3.4 Parliament

4. Influence on the world
4.1 Guinness® World Records
4.2 Consumption worldwide

5. Conclusion

1. Sayings about Guinness® beer

Nowadays the word Guinness or rather the beer is a common word and product and stands for one of the largest breweries in the world. Over ten Million pints Guinness® a day are sold worldwide. Not only in Ireland, where it evolved, but also in the rest of the world, the slogans such as Guinness is good for you and My Goodness, My Guinness are widespread and probably often used as an excuse to drink a lot of beer. In the Irish culture, there are many sayings about alcohol and especially about beer. A lot of times there are toasts like “Here's to a long life and a merry one. A quick death and an easy one. A pretty girl and an honest one. A cold beer and another one! “[1] Even Peter O´Toole, a famous Irish actor said: “My favorite food from my homeland is Guinness. My second choice is Guinness. My third choice - would have to be Guinness.”[2]

These sayings wouldn´t have been that famous and important, if Guinness hadn´t been so successful with his beer and if he hadn´t been after the idea of bringing beer closer to the population as an alternative to whiskey and other strong drinks.

But how did he get this brewery to evolve from a small local business to one of the most successful in the world and how did a seemingly ordinary beer have so much influence on Ireland and later on the world?

2. Arthur Guinness: Biography

2.1 Childhood and Beginnings

At the time Arthur was born, to the begin of the 18th century, it was very common for families to brew their own ale due to the uncleanliness of the water. The proletariat could mostly only afford whiskey or homemade poteen, which led to a lot of drunkenness among the Irish. Arthurs Grandfather started brewing ale (historically, the term referred to a drink brewed without hops)[3] in his family and even bought a license for selling it. For the family, it was better than whiskey because children are unable to process alcohol. The low- alcohol ale could be stored for a short time, as the alcohol killed any germs. „Brewing ale was [also] an ancient Irish skill, improved by the later addition of hops. “[4]

Arthur was born around the 24th of September 1725 in Celbridge, Ireland, where he also grew up. His parents Elisabeth Read (whose father brewed ale and where she also learned that skill and passed it onto her children) and Richard Guinness were normal, hardworking people who tried to provide the best future for their three children. Arthurs father worked for the protestant dean of Kildare and earned a good amount of money to support the family. As Arthur got older he helped with the book keeping and was also his Registrar. That´s how he probably had access to a library where he could read which helped him shape his mind for understanding the wider world.[5]

There were several family links in the Dublin commercial world, to whom they only needed less than a day´s travel from his hometown. Those connections were maintained by his father whenever he was in Dublin. Compared with the most of the rural Irish people, the contacts to the city gave Arthur another unusual advantage.

As mentioned before, a lot of ale was brewed in the household of the Guinness’s, and so Arthur also took up these skills. Between 1752 and 1755 he also helped out brewing in the inn of his father´s second wife. He enjoyed working there and thought about the aspect to maybe someday open his own brewery since he had a talent for brewing and already knew then, that he wanted to help people.[6]

Beer had taken almost a moral quality of its own at this time. Starting in London, where many of the very poor had become dangerously addicted to cheap gin, a mixture of tax policy and encouragement in the 1740s had led to beer being seen as the weaker, healthier, safer alternative. […] The underlying message supported Arthur throughout his career.[7]

2.2 Business Life

Most of the people know the story of Arthur leasing the St. James Brewery for 9000 years, with an annual cost of only forty- five pounds. But only few have heard about the long journey before his most famous highlight of his work. At the time his big project launched in 1759, he was already thirty- four years old. Before that, he grew hops as a young man and so it seems likely that he therefore also brewed ale, helping his mother in their home in Celbridge.[8] As already mentioned, he helped in the background of the White Hart Inn of Richard Guinness´ second wife and with thirty years, in 1755 he took on a brewery in Leixlip, about eleven miles west from Dublin.[9]

1799 he stopped brewing ale, started brewing porter and concentrated on improving his beer creation that developed from the porter beer.


[1] Popik, Barry. “Here´s to a long life and a merry one… (toast)”. The Big Apple. Barry Popik. n.d. Web. 01.11.2016.

[2] BrainyQuote. „Peter O´Toole Quotes “. BrainyQuotes. BrainyQuotes. 2001- 2016. Web. 01.11.2016.

[3] Bendbrewfest. “About Ales” BEND BREWFEST. BEND BREWFEST. 2016. N.d. Web. 22.03.2016.

[4] Guinness, Patrick. Arthur´s Round: The life and times of brewing legend Arthur Guinness. (London: Peter Owen, 2008) (whole paragraph). 19.

[5] Guinness, Patrick. (whole paragraph). 31ff.

[6] Guinness, Patrick. (whole paragraph). 53f.

[7] Guinness, Patrick. 54.

[8] Guinness, Patrick. (whole paragraph). 43 + 45.

[9] Guinness, Patrick. (whole paragraph). 53 + 59.


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Guinness impact Ireland



Titel: Guinness's Impact on Irish Culture