The Guinness beer: brand and symbol of a nation
One activity that we liked the most of the trip with Travelling Languages was the tour to the Guinness Storehouse. With over 4,000,000 visitors, according to its owners, it is the most visited monument in Ireland. Today we want to share with you how the experience was and all the things that we learned during the visit.
When we entered the staff offered us the audio guide in any language. Obviously, after two weeks of the course we didn’t need this option, and all the question we had, we could ask our fantastic Tjs. The first thing we appreciated in the ground floor was the copy of the lease of the St James’s Gate brewery by Arthur Guinness in 1759. It had been abandoned for 10 years until Arthur decided to sign the contract for 9,000 years (no mistake about the zeros) for45 pounds annually!
We went to the first of the rooms where it were explained the four main ingredients of Guinness. A curious fact is that the water use comes from the Wicklow Mountains, one of the places that we also visited during the program.
In another room, there were some giant paintings portraying people who spoke to us! They told us things we didn´t know about Arthur Guinness. The Guinness family and heirs have always shown their commitment to the city of Dublin performing countless charitable giving and investing heavily in infrastructure, for example, St. Stephen’s Green park or for the reconstruction of the Cathedral of St. Patrick in the nineteenth century. In fact, when we visited the Cathedral of St Patrick, in one of the glass windows we could read this: “I was thirsty and you gave me drink …” Coincidence?
On the second floor we saw the old advertising campaigns. The Guinness is for Irish people a national symbol, which for years has maintained outstanding marketing campaign, with emotional adverts, campaigns for festives like St. Patrick’s Day, etc. which became in the identity of the country. Who hasn’t visited Ireland and bought a souvenir of Guinness?
We could play a harp with invisible strings. The harp, current symbol of Ireland is the registered trademark of Guinness, that when the government wanted to use it as a national symbol, they had to do it by placing in the reverse way. Had you realized?
More things that surprised us is that the Guinness Book of Records is related to the brewery being the idea of one of the managers. And where did the idea come from? Following a little quarrel about which bird could fly faster…!
Then we entered to the tasting room. We were taught posture and steps to appreciate all the flavours and pleasures of Guinness. And here began the fun part of the visit. Do you know how to pour a pint of Guinness? We received a master class where we all learned the steps and we received a certificate for how well we did. Tilt the glass 45 degrees, fill it to the top of the glass harp, wait between 1 minute and 90 seconds, and finish filling it with only foam. As the slogan says in one of their ads, “Good things comes to those who wait” The best was when we could drink the pint that we poured to ourself!
We took this opportunity to ask the teacher why do Guinness cans have a small ball inside. This is patented by the company so that when you open the can it release some of the gas introduced under pressure and thanks to the ball when you serve the beer it has the white foam on top and it looks like it was served from a barrel. Definitely a great invention by its simplicity!
Our Tj also told us that the fourth Thursday of every September is celebrated in Ireland “Arthur’s Day” in his honor. At 17:59 hours (to coincide with the foundation date) everybody toasts with a pint of Guinness with the words: TO ARTHUR! Did you know it?
The tour ended on the 7th floor of the building at the famous Gravity Bar from which we could contemplate a panoramic view of 360° of Dublin. Really spectacular!
This is only one of the visits we had enjoyed in the two weeks of the trip. All the activities have been really interesting. Next week I will tell you more! Until next time! 😉