Remembering Arthur Guinness, creator of 'the black stuff' on his 297th birthday
Life & Style

Remembering Arthur Guinness, creator of 'the black stuff' on his 297th birthday

ARTHUR GUINNESS'S stout is arguably one of the best-known things to come out of Ireland.

But despite his ever-prevailing legacy, many things about Arthur's life remain unclear-- such as the date of his birth.

While many sources place his birthday squarely on 24 September, 1725, there is no definitive proof of this-- and in 1991, to end speculation regarding his date of birth, the Guinness Company announced his official birthday would be recognised as 28 September.

But while the details of his birth are disputed, the beginnings of his career and the steps he took to create Ireland's most popular drink are well-catalogued.

The only known portrait of Arthur Guinness, creator of 'the black stuff', who was allegedly born on 28 September

The grandson of poor tenants, Arthur Guinness began the multi-billion euro industry with just £100 at the age of 27, after being left the money in his godfather's will.

From that £100 -- around £20,000 in today's money-- he set up the first Guinness brewery in Leixlip, County Kildare, the first step in creating the industry which is worth over 40 billion euro today.

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-- still doing exceptionally well 200 years later, and with plans to expand and transform the area in the coming years.

The Guinness Storehouse in Dublin remains one of the most popular tourist spots in the country

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 entrepreneur'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.

October 26, 2013 in Jakarta, Indonesia. Arthur's Day sees fans come together to experience live music and cultural events all over the world in celebration of Arthur Guinness, the founder of Guinness brewing. (Photo by Robertus Pudyanto/Getty Images)

As the successful 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.

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.