Cheers to Guinness' marketing prowess

Cheers to Guinness’tourism experience
Cathy Bartolic
November 08, 2017
By Cathy Bartolic
 In the tasting bar, the room is filled with four aroma columns that break down the scents found in a pint of Guinness.
In the tasting bar, the room is filled with four aroma columns that break down the scents found in a pint of Guinness.
If I were giving out awards to businesses that offer an exceptional tourism experience, I would present one to the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, Ireland.


Earlier this year, I had the good fortune to spend a week in the Republic of Ireland visiting farms and on-farm markets, all in the name of research to find the perfect locations to create an international tour for direct farm marketers in April 2018.

Although Guinness is not an on-farm market, their tour has become Ireland’s leading attraction. There is much that can be learned and applied to agri-tourism businesses as well.

Guinness has been making stout beer in Dublin for more than 200 years. Arthur Guinness, the founder, signed a lease for 9,000 years in 1759, so the brewery won’t be moving anywhere, anytime soon. The lease is imbedded in the ground floor of the St. James Gate Brewery building and it is also where the tour begins.

The Guinness tour is self-guided but highly interactive. I spent more than two hours going through the seven floors of information.

The Guinness people have done a great job making certain that all your senses are heightened during this tour. The pictures are gorgeous and any written information is concise and to the point so that you don’t spend a lot of time reading. On the first floor – where the beer’s four ingredients (water, barley, hops and yeast) are introduced – there is an audio recording of running water that immediately makes you feel like you are standing beside a fresh, clear water creek.

In the tasting bar, the room is filled with four aroma columns that break down the scents in a pint of Guinness – truly a treat for your olfactory senses.

One of the displays is comprised of several picture frames that are triggered by someone walking by and starts talking about the founder and his family. The time periods in the pictures jumps from a town crier in the 18th century to a female doctor in the 21st century to a pub owner in modern times. Each person had his or her own opinion of Arthur Guinness and his family.

Another floor houses the Guinness Academy. Here, participants are invited to learn how to properly pour a pint of Guinness. Upon successful completion of the task, a personalized graduation certificate is presented.

During one part of the tour, old fashion photo booths are set up for participants to have some fun and create original photos behind the drawn curtain. Instead of printing these photos, there are tablets set up where your final picture appears. From there, you are free to email them to yourself or share them with your friends on social media. Each picture has a frame or background that links back to Guinness in some way.

The tour culminates on the seventh floor in the Gravity Bar, which is a circular glass room that allows you to look out over Dublin. The entire tour has been created in the shape of a pint of beer and the revolving tasting room represents the foam on top. The success of this tour can be linked back to the fact that every display, every activity is linked back to their one product – beer.


Cathy Bartolic is the executive director of Ontario Farm Fresh and does not drink beer on a regular basis but will make exceptions when touring a brewery.

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