A Guinness a day keeps the doctor away!
Perhaps Ireland’s most famous export, Guinness has become one of the most popular beer brands across the world. As such, the Guinness Factory, where it all started, has become one of Ireland’s top attractions.
Address: St James’s Gate Brewery, Dublin 8, Ireland
The building was formerly a functioning brewery for Guinness where they would ferment the beer. However, it shut down in the late 90s to be reopened as the Storehouse in the early 2000s, a visitor attraction where people could experience the history of Guinness and the process of making it.
It’ll be very clear on how to get to the factory, as you cannot miss the other tourists, the signs, or the giant glass observation deck. Once you get there, you will be directed into line by one of the workers and you can ask for a regular ticket, or enquire about the Connoisseur Experience. The cost for the regular ticket is 18.50 Euros online or 25 at the counter.
The Connoisseur Experience is an hour and a half long tasting experience with a Guinness expert. It takes place in a gorgeous private bar and is limited to only 16 people who have to be over 18 years old. The ticket for that is 41.50 Euros more, resulting in 65 Euros (students and seniors are 5 Euros cheaper).
Hours: 9:30 – 5 (you can stay in the Factory until 7)
Inside the Warehouse
The Ground Floor
Guinness is a self-guided tour with stops along the way, so to start, pass by the large store (you can come there at the end), and head towards the giant start sign to start the experience. On this floor, you’ll learn about the ingredients of Guinness and a bit on how its made.
Tip! – It’s a great place for pictures, just be sure to take the dark lighting into account (which I didn’t).
A bit of info – Guinness beer is a stout beer, made with yeast, barley (the roasted barley gives the dark color), and hops. However, you can’t just mix all that together and expect a Guinness, there’s a long process that goes into it, explained through gorgeous visuals and interactive displays.
The First Floor
Here, you learn more about the history of Guinness and how it all began with their founder, Arthur Guinness. Then you see a bit about how the beer became popular and how it’s transported all over the world. Take a trip through time and see how the legacy continues today!
The Second Floor
This is the tasting floor, where a couple different rooms offer different experiences! This is where I learned that Guinness sometimes tastes like coffee… or chocolate.
In other words, this is where the buzz begins. Pace yourself, because you have four more floors to go!
The Third Floor
Probably most the unique floor, the third floor shows the history of advertising at Guinness and how creative advertising is a big key to their success.
All those marketing and business folks out there… take notes!
The Fourth Floor
Welcome to the Guinness Academy, where you’ll pour your own pint of Guinness (and get to keep it) and receive an official certificate to show your training!
The Connoisseur Experience is also on this level, offering an additional, more extensive, tasting service (for a higher price, shown above). If you’re not in a rush, or with family members, I highly recommend participating!
A Note – You can take your glass of beer up to the other floors but you have to take the stairs (too many spilled beers on the escalators I assume).
Below, the Connoisseur Experience
The Fifth Floor
The food floor, as most people call it. Here there are three different options to choose from:
- Arthur’s Bar – this is a traditional Irish pub, complete with live music. This option has only a few food offerings available, but has many different beer pairings with knowledgable bartenders.
- 1837 Bar and Brasserie – this is more of a restaurant feel where you’ll want to sit and relax for a while. There are a plethora of options to choose from, mainly Irish-influenced but with some worldly touches.
- The Brewer’s Dining Hall – this is an open kitchen/sit down. They offer Irish cuisine and Guinness-influenced foods. For a quick bite, this is probably the best option!
A Note – For those misbehaved travelers out there – the Guinness glass you get with your free beer is supposed to be returned, but I did see (and of course I didn’t do this myself…) a couple of people going into the bathroom on the fifth floor and rinsing it out so they could put it in their purse to take home. Now, I’m not recommending this, but I’m just saying it happens…
The Seventh Floor
Yes, the sixth floor is skipped. Instead, take the long staircase (or glass elevator) up to the observation deck and bar! Here you’ll find a 360 view of Dublin and the hills beyond, with a drink in hand from The Gravity Bar of course.
Try some weird Guinness concoctions on this floor, like The Black Velvet, seen in my hand above, which is a mixture of Guinness and Champagne! Tastes surprisingly good, who knew?
Tip! – Look for the Wicklow Mountains and plan on taking a trip to “the garden of Ireland”.
For more information about Wicklow, click the link below!
As Guinness is a self-guided tour, you can stay as long as you want and double back to any floor – keeping in mind that the escalators only go up.
But if you are done, head down to the Guinness Retail Store on the ground level. It’s a great place to get some memorabilia – including hats, shirts, and sweatshirts of course, but also keychain bottle openers (my buy), advertising slogan posters, and Guinness flavored treats.
The Guinness wall on this floor is also popular for pictures, if you’re so inclined.
Tip! – If you’re from overseas and don’t want to lug around merch, Guinness will send your purchases home for you!