Dublin Export Department

Repository: Guinness Archive

Identity Statement

TitleDublin Export Department
Archive ReferenceIE GA/GDB/SA03
Web Link to this Entryhttps://iar.ie/archive/dublin-export-department
Creation Dates1934-1963
Extent Medium3 Series + 27 Sub series


Creator(s): Arthur Guinness Son & 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 & Company Limited ↴

    These are the surviving papers of the Dublin Export Department, created in connection with its export transactions.
    The records of the Dublin Export Department, which were kept in file form, fall into three distinct series of files and within their individual series are further divided into sub series. From the 1st April, 1938, the control of the English Trade changed to Park Royal. The Dublin Export Department was formed to `supervise the supplies of Stout from Dublin to Stores and to the direct customers in Great Britain`. (SA03.02/001). The functions of the new Dublin Export Department included supply of GUINNESS® brewed in St. James’s Gate to Stores and Foreign Bottlers.
    Each series documents their main area of responsibility: Dublin Stout Trade Files (GDB/SA03.01) document the management of supplies for British Trade in light of brewing and import restrictions during Second World War;
    Dublin Continental Trade Files (GDB/SA03.02) document the management of supplies for Continental Europe following World War Two with particular reference to the acquisition of import and export licences for Continental trade markets, investigation and negotiation of import licences, correspondence with ambassadors, Irish government officials, Coras Trachtala Eireann, Irish Department of Industry and Commerce particularly in relation to Trade Agreements including discussions on quotas, import and export duties for Continental trade. The sub series detailing supply of GUINNESS to individual countries document travellers reports to the country most notably reports of Bernard Trevelyan, monopolies, tied houses, trade agreements, appointments of agents, advertising and marketing, distribution and creation of market specific materials, marketing promotions, bottling, canning, including business arrangements with GUINNESS Export Bottlers Ltd., research into other brewers such as Amstel, development of business relationships with other brewers, visits to breweries.
    Dublin Foreign Trade Files (GDB/SA03.03) document the supply of GUINNESS Foreign Extra Stout to overseas territories, U.S.A., Canada, Irish troops in the Congo, French Territories overseas, Madagascar, Cameroon, Nigeria, Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, British West Indies following World War II. The series documents in particular the bottling of GUINNESS Foreign Extra Stout, correspondence with bottlers, suppliers of GUINNESS Foreign Extra Stout, A. MacFee & Co. Ltd, E. & J Burke Ltd, Guinness Exports Ltd; approaches, appointments of agents in overseas territories following World War II.

  • Appraisal Destruction ↴

    Permanent Retention
  • Arrangement ↴

    The papers within the Dublin Export Department have been categorised as such because they were created by Staff within the Dublin Export Department in connection with their export functions. The files are arranged numberically by original subject code and original country code, although some exceptions do occur. Each file is described in date order of the file, back cover to front.

    When noting the names of the authors of the files, their position within the Brewery, where possible, was also noted in brackets following their names. Once named in a description an author is then referred to thereafter in that description by their last name. The Guinness Company, in its various forms, is referred to as the ‘Company’ and the St. James’s Gate Brewery as the ‘Brewery’.

Conditions of Access & Use

Access Conditions On application to the Guinness Archivist
Conditions Governing ReproductionAt the discretion of Guinness Archivist
Creation Dates1934-1963
Extent Medium3 Series + 27 Sub series
Material Language ScriptEnglish. Some files are in French, reflected in the language field at item level.
Finding Aids Descriptive list Archive Web Link →

Allied Materials

There are no Allied Materials

Descriptive Control Area

Archivist NoteDeirdre McParland
Rules/ConventionsISAD(G): General International Standard Archival Description. 2nd ed. Ottawa: International Council on Archives, 2000.
Date of Descriptions40402