Born in 1725 near Celbridge county Kildare, Arthur received £100 from his godfather, Archbishop of Cashel, and with this money he established a small brewery near Dublin. In 1759, aged 34, he left this brewery to his younger brother and set to try his luck in the capital city of Dublin.
On December 31 December 1759, Arthur signed a 9000 year lease on what was then a small, disused and ill-equipped brewery at St.James’s Gate, Dublin. The premises at the time comprised of four acres with a copper, a kieve, a mill, two malthouses, stabling for twelve horses and a loft to hold 200 tons of hay. Within eight years he had risen to become Master of the Corporation and signed his signature, as a new brewer, in the Minute Book of the Dublin Brewers and Maltsters Corporation.
To start with Arthur brewed ale, but by the 1770s a new drink, a strong black beer called porter, was being exported from London to find favour in Dublin. Arthur decided to brew this new beer himself and in 1799 he made the momentous decision to stop brewing ales and concentrate solely on porter - history has shown he made the right choice.
Right into his seventies Arthur continued to be active in supervising his business at the Brewery, now assisted by three of his sons. Arthur had married an heiress, Olivia Whitmore, and had 21 children, 10 of whom survived into adulthood. When he died in 1803, left a considerable personal fortune of about £23,000 and an extremely flourishing business which later generations of his family were to develop, following the example of initiative and enterprise set by its founder.
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If you have any further questions about the history of Guinness please get in touch with:
Guinness Archive, GUINNESS STOREHOUSE®
St. James's Gate, Dublin 8
Telephone: +353 1 471 4557
Opening Hours: Mon – Fri 09:30 to 17:00 by appointment
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