| A model sips Guinness beer in Dublin with contact lenses featuring the drink. (Reuters)
Dublin, Jan. 24 (Reuters): Two hundred years ago, the city of Dublin came to a standstill and thousands of mourners lined its cobbled streets to say goodbye to a brewing genius.
The bicentenary of the death of Arthur Guinness yesterday was a less sombre occasion, with Dubliners only too happy to raise a glass or two in his memory. “It’s a happy day tinged with sadness. I call Arthur my favourite uncle,” said John Mullins, aged 59, who worked at the St James’ Gate Dublin brewery for 40 years.
“He was a truly remarkable man. With a legacy of £100 he built an empire of unbelievable stature, which has become Ireland’s best-known brand,” Mullins said.
Ten million glasses of the distinctive black stout, with its creamy head, are served every day in over 150 countries from Finland to China.
To mark the anniversary, Guinness has commissioned a new television advertisement, Ode to Arthur, which relives the emotional farewell Dubliners gave the founding father of the “Black Stuff” in 1803.
“We are very fortunate that Arthur Guinness left behind a product that has stood the test of time and has grown into a brand which has become famous the world over,” said Mark Ody, marketing controller at Guinness.
“Who would have thought 200 years ago that Guinness would now be sold in over 150 countries'” When Arthur Guinness brewed his first pint, beer was almost unknown in rural Ireland where whiskey, gin and poteen (moonshine) were the favourite tipples. It was known as porter at the time because of its popularity with porters and stevedores.
After founding his own brewery in Leixlip on the outskirts of Dublin, Arthur moved to the capital city in 1759 and signed a 9,000-year lease on St James’ Gate. The first official export of Guinness consisted of six-and-a- half barrels of porter which left Dublin on a sailing vessel bound for England in 1796.
Today’s brew — a mixture of roasted, malted barley, hops, yeast and water — traces its roots to 1821 when the Guinness family refined Arthur’s recipe to create a stronger stout with a higher hop count. Its healing powers are legendary — Asian women have been known to bathe babies in Guinness, while the stout beer was once given out free in Britain to pregnant women.