Monday, September 14, 2009

The 9,000 Year Lease

It's time to bring up an event that is close to my heart: beer. Well, I shouldn't say beer because I'm a beer snob and have a favourite kind which would be Guinness stout. It only figures after all, I'm of Irish descent AND Guinness is a product of the eighteenth century! Yes, that 1759 on the label is a proclamation that you are drinking the same beer our enlightened friends once did, and you don't even have to go to a historical reenactment tourist trap to drink it either! God bless that maverick Arthur Guinness!

In 1755 Arthur took a risk and opened up a brewery outside of Dublin with £100 that was bequeathed to him in his godfather's will. The brewery was such a success that he decided to take an even bigger risk and move his business to the capital. He found a nice little plot in the west of the city and signed a 9,000 year lease at £45 a year. This was St James Gate and Guinness is still brewed there to this day. St James Gate itself, is full of history. It was the western gate to medieval Dublin and the starting point for Irish pilgrims. A brewery was put in in the late 17th century and that is where Arthur would establish his Guinness brewery.

250 years later and we are still enjoying the iconic stout. Can you believe it's been 250 years since that lease was signed? Well, not quite yet. September 24 will be Arthur Day which marks when he signed the lease for St James Gate. So at 17:59 GMT you must raise your pint of Guinness for a worldwide toast to the enlightened entrepreneur. Cheers!


  1. I so agree with you, I love Guinness!
    I was wondering: do they still pay a rent of 45 pounds a year, or whatever its equivalent in euros is, as Ireland is a euro country, isn't it?

  2. There used to be a cute bartender at my twenty-something hangout that could manipulate the tap for Guinness so that it embossed a four leaf clover on top of the head. Ah, the beer days....
    Now I'm on a strictly cocktail diet, but Guinness is always good!

  3.'s my favorite beer, too. Though I am a proud cocktail girl and love my Hendrick's. I recently tried a Murphy's Stout, however. Pshaw! A pale (no pun intended, though it would be true) imitation.

    I, too, wonder about the lease.

  4. @Ingrid, I was wondering the same thing but I couldn't find any information on it! When I went to the Guinness storehouse it was the day after St Paddys Day a few years ago so my memory def fails me!

    I'm a cocktail girl too but I do tend to end my night with a Guinness, mmm. Polonaise, if you go to Cork you have to give Murphys another try. Since that is where they brew it, there's no Guinness but the local Murphys tastes divine!

  5. good post and very enlightening...where on earth would we be if he'd never started making Guinness?
    it just doesn't bear thinking about!

  6. Oh please, don't even allow me to begin to imagine!