Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Arthur Guinness


On this holiest of days, St. Patty's Day, we honor the father of the Guinness Beer, Arthur Guinness, as a Hero of Capitalism.

Arthur Guinness (1725-1803) was born in Celbridge, County Kildare. He first learned the art of brewing from his father who worked as a land steward for Dr. Arthur Price. In 1755, Guinness leased his first brewery in Leixlip where he specialized in brewing ale.

Shortly after he opened this brewery, he left his brother in charge and moved to St. James Gate Brewery in Dublin. Guinness signed a 9000-year lease in 1759 with St. James Gate Brewery for an annual rent of £45. The site was only four acres and was in disrepair, but it had a good water supply.

When Guinness began his brewery, there were over 70 similar small breweries in Dublin. Guinness began work to make his brewery unique. While he started brewing ale, Guinness also began brewing a new type of dark English beer, porter. His porter was so successful that he decided to specialize and in 1799 stopped brewing ale. His young company began exporting beer to England within 10 years of its founding and the English quickly embraced his new porter. He was also made the master of the Dublin Corporation of Brewers in 1767.

Guinness and his wife Olivia Whitmore had 21 children, 10 of whom survived to adulthood. The Guinness Brewery was managed by a Guinness for six generations. His dry stout is the best selling alcoholic drink in Ireland of all time.

Today we honor Guinness not only for brewing a fantastic beer, but for recognizing the benefits of specialization, for successfully exporting his product even when the taxes of the time favored breweries in England, and for creating a company that is still thriving today.

Sources:
Guinness Storehouse History
Wikipedia: Arthur Guinness

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