Remembering Arthur Guinness, creator of 'the black stuff' on the anniversary of his death in 1803
Life & Style

Remembering Arthur Guinness, creator of 'the black stuff' on the anniversary of his death in 1803


On this day, 207 years ago, Ireland lost the mastermind behind the pint of the black shtuff.

Arthur Guinness, born 24 September 1725, started the muli-billion euro industry with a mere £100.

(Okay, not so mere when you consider that in today's money that would be worth around £20,000, but considering Guinness is worth over 40 billion euro today, it's still pretty impressive.)

Arthur was left the money in his godfather's will at the age of 27, and a few years later opened up his first brewery in Leixlip, County Kildare.

As the business grew, Arthur used the money he had earned to take out an incredible 9,000 year long lease on a disused brewery in St James' Gate in Dublin.

If that name sounds familiar, that's because it's the address of one of Ireland's most popular tourist spots, the Guinness Storehouse-- 200 years later and still doing exceptionally well.

The Guinness Storehouse is one of Dublin's most popular tourist spots

Despite being one of Ireland's most noticeable figures, Arthur was a firmly pro-British Unionist and was against Home Rule for Ireland, although he was in favour of the Catholic Emancipation which would have given Catholics more rights under British Rule.

But the legacy of Ireland's favourite drink prevailed past the entrepeneur's death in 1806-- you can get a pint of the black stuff all over the world, with an estimated 1.8 billion pints sold across the globe each year.

In 2009, to celebrate 250 years of Guinness, a worldwide event dedicated to its creator was celebrated: Arthur's Day.

Branches of the event were held in global cities such as Kuala Lumpur, New York, and-- of course-- Dublin, with music, entertainment, food and drink being offered to revellers.

As the succesful event became an annual celebration, it became tradition that people would buy a pint of Guinness and stand in the street, where they would hold up the drink and shout 'To Arthur!' at 17:59pm, referencing the opening of the Guinness Brewery in the year 1759.

Revellers in Cork celebrate Arthur's Day in 2012 (Photo by Samir Hussein/Getty Images for Guinness)

But what started as a popular, if not transparent, marketing gimmick, quickly became controversial when it was reported that ambulance services experienced a 30% increase in call-outs on Arthur's Day each year, and the day was eventually called to a halt in the year 2013.

Arthur Guinness died over 200 years ago, but the legacy of his creation could well outlast the 9,000 year lease at St James' Gate.