Guinness Storehouse - History and Facts | History Hit

Guinness Storehouse

Dublin, Ireland

Image Credit: Salvador Maniquiz / Shutterstock

About Guinness Storehouse

The Guinness Storehouse remains one of Dublin’s most popular tourist attractions and iconic sites.

History of the Guinness Storehouse

Guinness’ distinctive taste comes from malted barley and roasted unmalted barley, whilst the thick creamy head it is synonymous with comes from mixing the beer with nitrogen and carbon dioxide. It remains one of the world’s most successful drinks brands, and is available in 120 countries. Around 900 million litres are sold a year on average.

The site was first leased by Arthur Guinness in 1759: so confident of his new venture, Guinness signed a 9,000 year lease (at the cost of £45 per year), and the Guinness Brewery at St James’ Gate was born. The first exports went to England ten years later, and by the 1820s, Guinness was being shipped to America, the Caribbean, West Africa and Europe.

One hundred years later, the business had grown massively: it was worth over £1 million, and the site had grown from 1 acre to 64 acres. Arthur’s grandson Benjamin trademarked the Guinness harp and his success elevated the family’s position in Irish society: Benjamin became Lord Mayor of Dublin in 1851.

Controlling the quality of Guinness became a key part of the business, and remains one today. In 1886, Edward Guinness (Arthur’s great-grandson) sold 65% of the business for £6 million. The family continued to be heavily involved in the business, and prided themselves on treating their employees extremely well by contemporary standards: they were paid some of the highest wages in Dublin at the time, and received health insurance which was extremely unusual at the time.

Eventually Guinness was taken over by the drinks giant Diageo in 1997, although the Guinness family still own 51% of the brewery.

Guinness Storehouse today

The storehouse is an extremely popular site and it’s worth booking a timed ticket slot in advance to ensure you don’t miss out – all adult tickets come with a complimentary pint of Guinness at the Gravity Bar.

The storehouse charts the Guinness family brewing story, the history of Guinness advertising (one of the most successful branding exercises in the world), and how Guinness is transported and brewed elsewhere – both to the pubs in Dublin and mass exported (Nigeria remains the 3rd biggest consumer of Guinness in the world). St James’ Gate remains the site which brews all Guinness produced for Ireland and England still, and is highly commercially successful.

Getting to the Guinness Storehouse

The site is located slightly west of the city centre: the nearest Luas stop is James’ (Red line) and Heuston Station is a short walk away. Multiple bus routes stop very close to the Guinness Storehouse, and it is roughly a 25 minute walk from the city centre.