Guinness Brewery in Dublin

© RicardMN Photography

© RicardMN Photography

St. James’s Gate Brewery (Irish: Grudlann Gheata Naomh Seamuis) is a brewery founded in 1759 in Dublin, Ireland, by Arthur Guinness. The company is now a part of Diageo, a company formed from the merger of Guinness and Grand Metropolitan in 1997. The main product of the brewery is Guinness Draught.

Originally leased in 1759 to Arthur Guinness at £45 per year for 9,000 years, St. James’s Gate has been the home of Guinness ever since. It became the largest brewery in Ireland in 1838, and the largest in the world by 1886, with an annual output of 1.2 million barrels. Although no longer the largest brewery in the world, it is still the largest brewer of stout in the world. The company has since bought out the originally leased property, and during the 19th and early 20th centuries the brewery owned most of the buildings in the surrounding area, including many streets of housing for brewery employees, and offices associated with the brewery. The brewery also made all of its own power using its own power plant.

There is an attached exhibition on the 250-year-old history of Guinness, called the Guinness Storehouse.

The main product is Guinness Draught, a 4.2% abv dry stout that is one of the most successful beer brands worldwide. For many years a portion of the drink was aged to give a sharp lactic flavour, although Guinness has refused to confirm whether this still occurs. The thick creamy head is the result of the beer being mixed with nitrogen when being poured. It is popular with Irish people both in Ireland and abroad and, in spite of a decline in consumption over recent years, is the best-selling alcoholic drink of all time in Ireland where Guinness & Co. makes almost €2 billion annually. The brewery also produces Guinness Original, a 4.3% abv version of the Draught, without the nitrogen; Kaliber, a low alcohol pale lager; Guinness Bitter, a 4.4% bitter sold in a can with a widget; and the 7.5% Guinness Foreign Extra Stout.

St. James’ Gate in Dublin was traditionally a main starting point for Irish pilgrims to begin their journey on the Camino de Santiago (Way of St. James). The pilgrims’ passports were stamped here before setting sail, usually for A Coruña, north of Santiago. It is still possible for Irish pilgrims to get these traditional documents stamped at St James’ Church, and many do, while on their way to Santiago de Compostella.

The Guinness Storehouse was erected between 1902 and 1904. It was built by Arthur Guinness Son & Co. Ltd for use as a fermentation house. Fermentation is the last stage of the brewing process where yeast is added to the boiled mixture of barley, water, hops and allowed to ferment.

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