Company Secretary Trade Papers relating to Foreign Trade

Repository: Guinness Archive

Identity Statement

TitleCompany Secretary Trade Papers relating to Foreign Trade
Archive ReferenceIE GDB/CO05.02/05
Web Link to this Entry
Creation Dates1876-1969
Level of DescriptionSeries
Extent Medium5 sub series, 250 items


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 ↴

    Official Transfer

Content & Structure

  • Scope & Content: Arthur Guinness Son and Company Limited ↴

    Series of Company Secretary’s Trade Papers relating to Foreign Trade overseas. 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 combined responsibilities relating to trade matters overseas, referred to in the papers as ‘Foreign Trade’. The papers detail the introduction and expansion of GUINNESS stout overseas detailing the introduction of Guinness Extra Stout in Draught in markets, noticeably, United States of America; prohibition and the knock on affect on trade; supply, distribution of GUINNESS during World War One, the affect of the War on sales, increases in duty; correspondence with bottlers of GUINENSS Foreign Extra Stout; orders, supply, distribution to bottlers; analysis of trade in individual countries including analysis and samples of beer; applications by agents and bottlers overseas to bottle GUINNESS Foreign Extra Stout; discussions concerning use of fraudulent trademark labels; discussions concerning advertising, the introduction of advertising to specific markets, supply and distribution of advertising material to specific markets, discussion concerning content of propaganda film by GUINNESS, ‘Fit for a King’ in cinemas; discussions concerning the medical aspects of GUINNESS and distribution of leaflet in foreign languages; correspondence between individual foreign travellers, Company Secretary, and Directors; discussions concerning itineraries, reports of travellers while visiting individual countries; discussions concerning content of reports, proof reading of reports; sales figures and analysis of GUINNESS Foreign Extra Stout.

  • Appraisal Destruction ↴

    Permanent Retention
  • Arrangement ↴

    The series is arranged by the provenance and responsibilities of the Company Secretary’s Department. This series is arranged by subject and chronologically, trade in the USA, correspondence with individual bottlers, advertising, foreign travellers and individual general files on trade overseas. Where provided the original code is recorded. As there were so many papers on the USA it was deemed appropriate to create a sub series on this country alone.

Conditions of Access & Use

Access Conditions On application to the Guinness Archivist
Conditions Governing ReproductionAt the discretion of Guinness Archivist
Creation Dates1876-1969
Level of DescriptionSeries
Extent Medium5 sub series, 250 items
Material Language ScriptEnglish
Finding Aids Descriptive list Archive Web Link →

Allied Materials

Related MaterialGDB/CO05.02/01 GDB/CO05.02/02 GDB/CO05.02/03 GDB/CO05.02/04

Descriptive Control Area

Archivist NoteGuinness Archive
Rules/ConventionsISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description. 2nd ed. Ottowa: International Council on Archives, 2000.
Date of Descriptions2012