With St. Patrick's Day approaching, I wanted to look into 18th Century Ireland, and one of is most important national treasures! And what might that be? Well, its Guinness Stout! Though of as the "national" drink of Ireland, it brings the Irish together, with both men and women enjoying it, with rich and poor wanting a glass, said to have health properties, and administered in hospitals at one time as a source of vitamins!
The brewery's founder was Arthur Guinness, son of a land steward, who was employed by the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Cashel. Arthur most have made an impression on the cleric, because, upon his death, he left Arthur 100 pounds in his will! In 1755 Arthur invested the money in a brewery in Leixlip, and partnered up with his brother Richard.
By 1758, Arthur moved to Dublin to brew beer. He signed a 9,000 lease on St. James' gate Brewery for pounds per year. He was so successful that in 1766 he was named the master of the Dublin Corporation of Brewers.
In 1761 he married Olivia Whitmore, and had 21 children with her! Ten survived.
IN 1788 Guinness began producing a dark Porter beer, and had outlets for sale throughout all of Ireland. They say that during the Napoleonic Wars the sale of his Porter increased three-fold. The darker beer was so successful, that lighter ales were dropped.
During the political unrest in the 1790's, he was at odds with the United Irishmen because he supported the Union of Great Britian, and there was talk of a boycott of his black protestant beer. Arthur lived from 1725 - 1803, and was not only an entrepreneur but a philanthropist too.
His family is still held in the highest regard, and known for their charitable works done for their employees, Dubliners and Ireland in general. His descendents have been mayors of Dublin, baronets and peers. DNA testing reveals that the family is closely related to a branch of the MacCartin clan, in the baroney of Kinelarty.
This St. Paddy's Day, don't forget to raise a glass of Guinness. It's got wonderful particular flavor, said to be an acquired taste. I think it's a taste worth the acquiring.