The Guinness Store attracts hundreds of tourists every day to what’s promoted as “Ireland’s #1 visitor attraction”. Arthur Guinness began brewing stout at St James Gate Brewery in 1759. Within a century this complex was the the largest brewery in the world, and it still brews 10 million pints a day (although today the Guinness brewery in Nigeria is larger than its Dublin counterpart, and the Coors Brewery in Golden, Colorado is now the largest single site brewery in the world).
The admission fee of about 15 Euros includes a self-guided tour of the old fermentation plant (everything is very well labeled and illustrated) and, when you’re done, a free pint of Guinness. The old plant was refurbished in the late 20th century into the facility that today gives tours and promotes its product very efficiently. You’ll enter into a large glass atrium; embedded in its floor under plexiglass is the original 9,000 year lease Arthur Guinness signed for the rate of 45 pounds/ year (note: this lease no longer valid as the brewery has since purchased the land). The tour takes you up through seven stories and along the way tells the story of how Guinness stout is made from water, barley, hops and yeast. All phases of production are discussed and illustrated, up to its bottling and shipping.
At the very top of the building you’ll find the Gravity Bar which offers great views of Dublin all the way to the Irish Sea. It’s a good place to cash in the free Guinness coupon you paid for with your admission and try a pint of Arthur’s stout. Stout is not everyone’s drink and is not my favorite, but I have to admit the Guinness draft in Ireland is much better than what we can get in North America (at least to my palate). Not sure if that’s because the product doesn’t ship well or because local franchisees just haven’t perfected the Guinness process.
I’ve uploaded 2 brief videoclips on to our YouTube channel which you can listen to above, and some photos of the attraction and the views it affords of Dublin’s skyline.
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