All I want for Christmas is to brew: Guinness celebrates the holiday season

Grainne Wafer, Guinness’ Global Brand Director, looks at the brand’s long and special relationship with Christmas.

Feature

In the St. James’s Gate Brewery staff magazine – The Harp – in 1959 they wrote “the Christmas spirit is as much part of the atmosphere of the brewery as the warm scent of malt.”

Snowy Guinness kegs

View of the Cooperage Yard at Guinness Brewery, St. James’ Gate, Dublin in the 1950s

And it’s not just in our breweries, in pubs around the world there’s nothing quite like that first pint or bottle of Guinness in the festive season with friends and family.

At the Home of Guinness in Ireland, our iconic ‘Christmas Card’ TV ad has run every year since 2004 and for many in Ireland, its first airing each year signals the start of the holiday season and anticipation of moments to savour over the period.

We know that Christmas will be different for many again this year which is why our Good Things Are In Our Grasp campaign, to inspire hope, optimism and a sprinkle some Guinness magic, is more important than ever.

In Great Britain, we’ve seen this come to life through the launch of #LightUpYourLocal and the lighting up of 22 pubs across the country with a dazzling Christmas light display. It continues to be an incredibly tough time for hospitality, and we wanted to do all that we can to support them and celebrate the role pubs play in bringing local communities together.

Our hugely popular Welcome Back advert has also returned with a Christmas twist. We’ve brought together 30 publicans and bar staff to form the new Guinness Pub Choir and record a beautiful rendition of Always on my Mind as the soundtrack.

Guinness’ affinity with Christmas doesn’t end on 25th December. Arthur Guinness signed the lease on the St. James’s Gate Brewery in Dublin on 31st December 1759 and each year, as the clock strikes midnight, we change the year above the famous black gates.

2021 has been one of our biggest ever years of innovation, not least because of the global roll out of our first ever non-alcoholic beer, Guinness Zero. It also saw the launch of Guinness MICRODRAUGHT – new cutting-edge technology which means Guinness Draught can now be served on tap in 12,000 more pubs, bars, and restaurants around the world. We even introduced a limited-edition home version for Christmas which flew off the shelves in Great Britain.

Also flying off the shelves was the new Guinness Nitrosurge. Once connected to the top of the can, the innovative device uses ultrasonic technology to create the iconic two-part pour at home, time after time.

Arthur Guinness built a brewery and brand with people at its heart and that’s a value that runs deep through everything we do today and will do tomorrow. In Africa, for example, Guinness has had a special place in the hearts of Africans for almost two centuries and this year we launched our first new Pan-African campaign in five years – Black Shines Brightest . Inspired by the bold and unique black beer of Guinness stout, the campaign brought passionate and creative individuals together to celebrate the spirit of Guinness and its home.

Arthur Guinness was also an optimist (he signed a 9,000-year lease!) and as we step into 2022, our heritage and deep-rooted values give us a sense of surety that there is so much to look forward to. The world around us is changing at a pace quicker than ever before, and in ways we couldn’t have predicted, but at Guinness, we believe that good things really are in our grasp and that the best is yet to come.