Guinness’s third annual Arthur’s Day toast is coming up and The Field Irish Pub is getting ready to raise a glass. But you might ask, “who is Arthur?” And, “why does he have his own day?”
Seventeen years prior to the US Declaration of Independence, Arthur Guinness signed a lease on St James’s Gate Brewery in the center of Dublin City, Ireland for £45 per year (roughly $73). He was certainly a great man with a vision and must have been confident that he was on to a winner as the term of that lease was a staggering 9000 years!
In that time St James’s Gate became the largest brewery in Ireland and also the world. Although now surpassed as the largest brewery in the world, Guinness continues to be the world’s largest selling stout. The history of Guinness is a long and impressive story, one which if you ever get the opportunity is best told by visiting the Guinness Storehouse which is a permanent exhibition in the old Guinness warehouse, where the grain was stored for the nearby brewery.
Baring all of this in mind I can’t say I was shocked when founder Arthur Guinness was finally given a day of his own celebrating his greatest achievement. I think it’s safe to say if he were here today he would be very proud indeed.
Arthur’s Day was first organized in 2009 to celebrate the 250th anniversary of Guinness. Music events were organized all over the world in the cities of Dublin, Kuala Lumpur, Lagos and New York on 24 September 2009. “An Post” – The Irish Post Office even released a commemorative stamp to honor the milestone anniversary. So a new tradition began and the third annual Arthur’s Day will be celebrated this year on Thursday, September 22, 2011. Arthur’s Day kicks off in Ireland with a toast to the man himself at 17:59 GMT in honor of the company’s founding in 1759. At this time all Guinness drinkers around the world are expected to raise a glass together in memory of Arthur.
Nostalgia however is not the only driving force of day, it has to be said that this is quite possibly one of the best marketing concepts ever devised and only entering it’s third anniversary the event is quickly becoming a national institution. The head of Guinness marketing, Tanya Clarke credits her entire team but above all the consumer for whole-heartedly embracing the idea and with sales soaring 25% in the UK alone on that day in 2009 to a whopping 1 million pints, it’s no wonder Tanya and her team are happy!
Again this year there are a series of intimate gigs by international and Irish music stars in select venues and pubs across Ireland. Though we can not be there to join in the festivities, we do pour a great pint and we will be raising a glass of the black stuff at The Field Irish Pub & Eatery at the slightly later time of 17:59 local time as I’m sure swilling pints of Guinness at lunchtime would not please your boss!