Founded in 1759, the St James Gate Brewery is where the finest draughts ever brewed originate. The genius behind the brewery was none other than Arthur Guinness, a man considered by many to be worthy of a sainthood. Indeed, Arthur Guinness is responsible for that delicious brew which takes his name. Any pub across the globe that is worth its salt will be able to serve a pint of Guinness.
A landmark almost lost
This famous brewery was nearly lost to the world. In 2007, many an Irishman suffered from severe heart palpitations when it was announced that Diageo, the company who currently own the Guinness brand, intended to sell off the brewery and put the property on the market. Days of intense, nail-biting speculation went by. Workers were fretting that they would be laid off. It was awful.
The Dublin City Council took the brave initiative and put forward a motion which would prevent any development of the site. This would make it difficult for Diageo to sell off the property to residential developers. Then, in May of 2008, and to the relief of millions, Diageo announced the brewery at St. James Gate would remain open, but that it would undergo several renovations.
It’s huge, it’s refreshing, and it’s fun
The brewery at St James Gate was at one stage the largest brewery in the world. By 1886, it was producing over 1.2 million barrels of Guinness per annum. To this day, the St. James Gate Brewery remains the largest brewery of stout in the world. The sheer scale of the operations makes a visit to the brewery, or more specifically to the Guinness Storehouse, well worth the effort.
The Guinness Storehouse is the home of Guinness. It has become one of Dublin’s top tourist attractions, and with good reason. It was originally the fermentation plant, but has been remodelled to provide a seven-storey experience for thirsty visitors. The Guinness Storehouse is where you get to learn some of the secrets that go into making every pint so delicious and refreshing. Shaped around a giant pint, which if filled would contain 14.3 million pints of Guinness, is a magical place where you will learn some of the history behind this famous brand and how it became Ireland’s top export.
Just stop and think about that for a few moments. 14.3 million pints of Guinness, all in a single giant ‘pint’ glass. That is roughly the size of an Olympic swimming pool, filled with the most delicious draught ever brewed. The standing joke would be: “My uncle drowned in a giant pint of Guinness. Several attempts were made to rescue him, but he fought his rescuers off with bravery and determination each time.” If you drank 5 pints per day, it would take over 7 835 years to finish that giant pint. If you had three mates helping you, it would take roughly 1 950 years for the four of you to empty it.
Taste, enjoy, tour, then party!
The Storehouse offers a tasting experience like none other. From draughts to stouts, you will be privy to a taste sensation that many dream of, yet few can claim bragging rights to. Although you won’t get to see the beer being brewed directly in front of you (trade secrets need some protecting) the Guinness Storehouse does offer several vantage points from where you can see the grain silos, the keg yard, vats etc.
Some really interesting brewery memorabilia, which covers more than 250 years of excellence, is on show and forms part of the museum experience. Many items may seem foreign or peculiar to the lay person. A Guinness guide will be able to explain their purpose as part of the brewing process. The guides are exceptionally knowledgeable, providing anecdotes that are quite funny. A good laugh is usually had by all.
Stop off at the Guinness Academy and learn to pour the perfect pint. Check out the latest exhibit, the fabulous world of Guinness Advertising, before heading on up to level five. Level five is where you get to line your stomach before the party really starts. A restaurant serving typical Irish cuisine is the ideal place to relax and enjoy a superb meal. Take my advice. Eat something. The food is good and you still have the seventh floor to contend with. Having something in your tummy will make life so much easier later on.
At the top of the Guinness Storehouse, situated on level seven, is where you will find the symbolic head of the pint. This is where you will find the Guinness Gravity Bar, possibly the highlight of your experience. It provides unparalleled panoramic views of Dublin and is where you will get stuck into the best thirst quenching black stuff that money can buy. Your first pint will be on the house. So lads, bottoms up and we flip a coin for who pays the next round?
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