Creator(s): Arthur Guinness Son and Company Limited
Administrative History ↴
Arthur Guinness was born in Celbridge, County Kildare in 1725. It seems that Arthur first learnt the art of brewing from his father Richard, whose job as a land steward included brewing beer for workers on the estate of Dr. Arthur Price, later Archbishop of Cashel. In 1759, at the age of thirty four, Arthur Guinness signed a 9000-year lease for the St. James's Gate Brewery, Dublin, at an annual rent of £45. The Brewery was only four acres in size, disused, and had little brewing equipment. But in only ten years, despite competition from imported English beers, Arthur began to export his beer to England. Arthur began by brewing ale, and in the 1770s started brewing 'porter', a new type of dark English beer. Arthur's porter was so successful that in 1799 he stopped brewing ale. By the time Arthur died in 1803, he had built a successful brewing business, with a promising export trade. Arthur married Olivia Whitmore, and had twenty one children, ten of whom survived into adulthood. When he died, his son Arthur Guinness II took over the Brewery. In all, seven generations of the Guinness family were directly involved in the brewery management. Arthur Guinness II developed the business, expanding the export trade, and brewing a new beer 'Extra Superior Porter'. By the 1830s, St. James's Gate Brewery was the largest brewery in Ireland. In 1855 Arthur II's son, Benjamin Lee Guinness, took over. Under Benjamin, the first trade mark label for GUINNESS® stout was introduced in 1862. When Benjamin died in 1868, his son Edward Cecil took over. Under Edward's leadership the brewery became the largest in the world. In 1886 the business was floated on the London Stock Exchange and Edward became Chairman. By the end of the 19th century the brewery had grown to sixty acres, sales of GUINNESS® Stout were over 1.2 million barrels a year, and GUINNESS® Stout was available across the world. In the 20th century the Guinness family continued to lead the business. Edward Guinness died in 1927, and his son Rupert became Chairman. Rupert's grandson Benjamin became Chairman in 1962, and was the last member of the Guinness family to hold this position, which he resigned in 1986. In 1929, the first advertising campaign for GUINNESS® was launched. More product innovations took place including the launch of GUINNESS® Draught in 1959. GUINNESS® Draught in Can was launched in 1988 thanks to the 'widget' – a groundbreaking invention in beer packaging technology. From the 1940s to 1980s a major overhaul of brewing machinery took place, making the brewery one of the most technologically advanced in the world. In 1936 the first overseas GUINNESS® Brewery was opened. It proved successful and was followed by four more in Nigeria (1962), Malaysia (1965), Cameroon (1970), and Ghana (1971). Licences were also issued to brewers in other countries so that GUINNESS® could be brewed locally. By the end of the 20th century, GUINNESS® was brewed in over 40 countries, and sold in over 150. In 1997 GUINNESS Plc merged with Grand Metropolitan Plc in a £24 billion merger. A new company was formed called 'Diageo' Plc. Today, 10 million glasses of GUINNESS® are enjoyed daily around the world.
Archival History ↴
The Guinness Archive was established in 1998 and at this time all historical papers relating to the Company were transferred to the Guinness Archive.
Immediate Source Acquisition ↴
Content & Structure
Scope & Content: Arthur Guinness Son and Company Limited ↴
Company Secretary Trade Papers relating to Ireland. The Company Secretary department was responsible for all issues relating to trade, returned porter, trade sampling, complaints of beer, instructions to traders, cask matters, prices and terms, retail prices, trade stores, agencies, foreign trade, customer relations, travellers, suspected fraud. This series reflects the Company Secretary’s responsibilities relating to trade matters specifically in Ireland with particular reference to: correspondence with individual trade stores in Ireland, discussing personnel issues, housekeeping and maintenance; comparisons of sale figures of other beers; effect of political situations on trade with particular reference to: 1916 rising, War of Independence , Civil War, incidents of of boycotts, raids and the robbery of consignments; correspondence concerning effects of strikes on trade with particular reference to Irish Railway Strike, the Seamen’s Strike, Tramway and Transport Worker’s Strike, Postal Strike and the Great Northern Railway Strike, 1913 Lockout; correspondence and appointments of Irish agents, traveller reports; trade analysis of GUINNESS Extra Stout, Porter; sales reports of GUINNESS in Ireland; analysis of attested samples; trademark agreements with Irish customers.
Appraisal Destruction ↴
The series is arranged by the provenance and responsibilities of the Company Secretary’s Department. Arranged by indiviudal trade stores and within the series arranged where provided by original code.
ISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description. 2nd ed. Ottowa: International Council on Archives, 2000.
Date of Descriptions