All of the corned beef and cabbage eaten over the next few weeks to celebrate St. Patrick will probably be washed down with many pints of Guinness, Ireland’s favorite beverage.
Guinness is one of the most successful beer brands world wide with billions of pints consumed each year.
Made from roasted unmalted barley, Guinness has a distinctive burnt flavor, with a tang that either appeals or doesn’t appeal to the palate. I must confess, I have never learned to love the national beer of my homeland, but that does not stop me from cooking extensively with it and from admiring the genius behind the company and it’s exceptional marketing.
Beer was first brewed at the St. James’s Gate brewery in Dublin in 1759 by Arthur J. Guinness. He first sold dark porter or Guinness stout in 1778.
Growing up in Ireland in the 1960’s and 70’s we heard over and over that:
“Guinness Is Good For You.”
Back then advertising beer was not illegal and Guinness emphasized it’s supposed medicinal qualities.
It was highly recommended, even by doctors, for it’s iron and vitamin content. I always remember watching Irish centenarians on television who were asked their secrets to longevity. Many spoke highly of their daily pint of Guinness, no more, no less. A single pint is the way to go seemed to be the motto.
When ordering a pint of Guinness an Irishman often asks for a pint of “the black stuff.” Another favorite term is a “pint of plain.”
In the 1930’s Guinness’ London advertising agency first introduced the image of a toucan in their marketing efforts.
What exactly the links may be between a toucan, Guinness and Ireland is a mystery to me.
But let’s face it! Some of the most memorable Guinness signs feature our favorite toucan.
I love this Toucan wall art from a bar in Indiana.
Over the years Guinness has created some eye-catching posters and advertising. Masterful graphics seem to be a constant.
This Guinness sign is from a drinking establishment in Temple Bar in Dublin.
In County Tipperary, Ireland’s horse country, this pub’s mural is very appropriate.
So whether or not you like a pint of plain, there is no denying the power of Guinness imagery, the lure of a friendly pub and the promise of good music and good company.
Wishing you all happy cooking and a little taste of Ireland, this St. Patrick’s Day.
Slan agus beannacht leat!
(Goodbye and blessings)
Irish American Mom