10 shocking facts about Guinness

Credit: Sinead McCarthy

Guinness is undoubtedly Ireland’s most famous drink! There are many myths and stereotypes surrounding the black stuff, many true and many untrue. We have compiled a list of facts that are less known and some that may blow your mind!

1. Although everyone thinks Guinness is Black, it is actually a very dark shade of Ruby! It’s not black. It’s not even brown. Hold your beer up to the light – or, hey, maybe try drinking someplace that isn’t so dimly lit. You’ll see that Guinness is actually a deep, dark red, a colour the company attributes in part to the roasting of malted barley during the beer’s preparation.

2. It is a known fact that the Irish love to travel around the world but did you know that Guinness is brewed in more than 150 countries? These include Nigeria and Indonesia.

3. Most Guinness isn’t sold in Ireland, but Nigeria! WHAT? Yes, that is correct. Ireland is actually the third largest market for Guinness. Nigeria is second, and Britain is first. Though the Irish obviously love a pint of plain, 40 percent of all Guinness is sold in Africa. Who would have thought that in such a hot climate it would go down so well!

4. Arthur Guinness was a Protestant and Unionist. Arthur Guinness was born into the Irish Protestant Guinness family, claimed to descend from the Gaelic Magennis clan of County Down. Recent DNA evidence however, suggests descent from the McCartans, another County Down clan, whose spiritual home lay in the townland of “Guiness” near Ballynahinch, County Down. Many sources claim he was not a supporter of the United Irishmen’s 1798 Rebellion.

5. Guinness has allegedly discriminated against Catholics in the past. Before 1939, if a Guinness brewer wished to marry a Catholic, his resignation was requested. According to Thomas Molloy, writing in the Irish Independent, “It had no qualms about selling drink to Catholics but it did everything it could to avoid employing them until the 1960s.”

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6. Guinness has its headquarters in London, not Dublin! Guinness has had its headquarters in London from 1932 onwards.

7. Guinness is owned by an English company! The company is owned by Diageo plc which is a British multinational alcoholic beverages company headquartered in London, England. Therefore, some argue that makes Guinness an English company!

8. Guinness considered re-branding as an English drink, disassociating itself from Ireland. In terms of branding, the company was considering disassociating itself from its Irish reputation as recently as the 1980s. Worried about the impact on sales of the IRA’s campaign during the Troubles, Guinness came close in 1982 to re-launching the brand as an English beer brewed in west London. However, as Northern Ireland’s situation improved in the 1990s, the company’s marketing strategy changed again towards marketing the drink as Irish, aiming its product at tourists in Ireland and the estimated 70m people of Irish descent living around the world.

9. The Guinness Harp appears with it’s straight edge to the left, this is the opposite to the symbol of the republic of Ireland!

10. Many say Guinness is a heavy drink. In-fact it is lighter than most light beers! A pint of Guinness contains only 198 calories. That’s less than most light beers, wine, orange juice or even low fat milk!

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  • Duncan Neil Crawford

    During the rebellion, early 1900s Guiness used their Metal Vats, cut gun slits in them, attached them to their lorries and transported British troops to and through hot spots, where they could shoot at the rebels while being safe in “Armoured Lorries”

  • Paul C. Shugrue

    Interesting? Absolutely. Shocking? Don’t be daft!

  • tuigim

    When you visit there site online or in person you will find options in many languages but no Irish language option anywhere. SHAME!
    Ba chóir go mbeadh náire orthu ach feicim anois go bhfuil stair leis an scéal.