Get To The Pint: Why Guinness Is Only Just Getting Started

Find out why many mistake Guinness for a Nigerian brand, what Irish chefs are using it for in the kitchen, and why theres more of the Black Stuff to be made!
Author Headshot
Johnny Garmeson
Jul 7
3 mins
Jul 7
3 mins

It’s hard to imagine what the world will look like in the distant future, let alone what humans will be eating and drinking.

But amongst the soilent green, energy capsules and synthetic meat, you will still be able to wash your meal down with a pint of Guinness... if the creator of the black stuff has anything to say about it.

That’s because in 1759, Arthur Guinness signed a lease on an abandoned brewery in the outskirts of Dublin which stated he can brew his signature porter beer there for the next nine thousand years! All for the agreeable sum of £45 a year.

Almost three hundred years later, Guinness is the most popular alcoholic drink in Ireland, and has become a symbol of the country, more iconic than almost any other brand.

But what makes this famous beer so special? Where is Guinness brewed around the world? And what other uses are there for Guinness?

Your Guinness Is As Good As Mine

Guinness is now sold around the world, so no matter the country, if there’s an Irish pub there, you can be certain Guinness isn’t far behind.

But many cultures have adopted Guinness as their own entirely, and nowhere else is this more keenly felt than in West Africa.

As the British Empire spread around the world in the early 19th Century, Arthur Guinness grew his trade as well, gaining a particularly fond market in Nigeria and Cameroon.

Guinness was bottled and shipped to the African countries, but it was always brewed in Britain and Ireland. That is, until the fall of the British Empire, when demand in Nigeria just couldn’t be met.

In 1962, two years after Nigerian independence was declared, Guinness opened their first brewery outside of the United Kingdom, setting up shop in Lagos.

Today there are 13 different breweries across Africa, and Nigeria is the third largest Guinness market in the world.

Historian Bill Yenne even wrote in his book ‘Guinness: The 250 year quest for the perfect pint’ that many Nigerians are unaware the beer is even Irish stating:

“They wonder why Guinness is sold in Ireland. You can talk to Nigerians in Lagos who will tell you as many stories about their perfect pint as an Irishman will.”

The Midas Toucan

Obviously the beautiful flavour, and smooth texture was enough to make Guinness a household name in Ireland 50 years after Arthur first paid his lease at the St James’ Gate Brewery.

However, part of what made the Black Stuff so successful in finding a market around the world was its iconic advertising.

From slogans like ‘Guinness is good for you’ and ‘Guinness gives you power’ in the 1960s, up to the modern ‘good things come to those who wait’ - the brand has always known that the simplicity of their iconic image is what people gravitate towards.

Yet one aspect of the Guinness marketing mystique is still up for debate - liable to split pub goers into factions:

Is the two pour necessary?

Now for those of you uninitiated to the process, Guinness claims that to achieve the perfect pint, the pourer must fill their glass on a bias, til it is approximately two thirds full. They must then wait 119.5 seconds (yes really) for the head to settle, then fill up the rest of the glass.

We’ll let you be the judge as to whether the two pour is fact or fiction...

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A Fresh Stout

Known for its coffee-caramel flavour, dark colour and creamy texture - Guinness is a far cry from your standard lager.

Even in the brewing process it sets itself apart, with the recognisable smooth fizz and whipped white head coming from nitrogen bubbles rather than carbon dioxide.

This float of creamy foam sits on top of the recognisable dark ruby body, which gains its colour by a portion of the barley being roasted before brewing.

While it doesn’t necessarily have the health benefits the marketing campaigns would have you believe (yikes) Guinness is remarkably nutritious and relatively low in calories compared to many other beers - but above all else it has a truly unique flavour.

This is why Irish chefs have long used the black stuff in braises and stews, giving the broth a rich body as well as a deep mineral flavour.

However, modern Irish chefs have taken this time honoured ingredient and started to explore new avenues with it -  from French toast and Marmite, to baking and desserts.

Given its range of flavour notes it can pair well with deep flavours such as dark chocolate, but it can also be balanced out well with more tangy lactic flavours like sheeps yoghurt.

300 years after it was first brewed, Arthur Guinness could have scarcely believed what people would start using his namesake beverage for.

Who knows what we’ll use it for over the next 8700 years...

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