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Guinness: The 250 Year Quest for the Perfect Pint Hardcover – October 5, 2007

4.5 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"This book is telling of the legends of Guinness - the stout, the men and the mythology."  (Retail & Leisure International, December 2007)

"...should be on the shelf of anyone who professes to want to learn more about the last 250 years of brewing"  (What's Brewing, December 2007)

"...an absorbing tale, brilliantly handled."  (New Imbiber, December 2007)

"This is a thoroughly enjoyable, complete chronicle of a great been business."  (World Business, December 2007)

From the Inside Flap

For millions of beer lovers the world over, a properly poured pint of Guinness Stout is as close to perfection as beer gets. Each year, fans of the legendary black liquidation enjoy two billion pints of the beer known for its distinctive creamy head and rich drinkability. Ireland's most famous export, Guinness Stout—and the people who have brewed it—hold a unique place in the history of beer, business, and Ireland itself.

They say that good things come to those who wait. When you wait on a perfectly poured pint of Guinness Stout, you know you're getting something good. It's more than just a pint of beer; it's a mouthwatering visual presentation of the quality and taste you're about to enjoy. And millions wait patiently for their pint every day. To find out why, famed beer and beverage writer Bill Yenne talks to everyone from Guinness's master brewer to typical pubgoers about the beer they hold dear. Whatever magic makes it so delicious, it's powerful enough to soothe the souls of beer lovers from Dublin to Boston to Buenos Aires to Lagos, and everywhere in between.

But Guinness is more than a delicious beverage, it's also the name of the remarkable family of brewers and entrepreneurs whose story is worthy of legend, and who occupy a prominent place in Irish history. In Guinness, Yenne traces the 250-year tale of the family and its namesake beer. Beginning with Arthur Guinness, the entrepreneur patriarch who first began brewing at St. James's Gate, Dublin, in 1759, the story follows succeeding generations of the Guinness family through the years. Yenne follows not just the fortunes of the family Guinness, but also the development of the brand and the beer—from Arthur's earliest porter to the beer that is enjoyed in 150 countries today.

For Guinness aficionados, this tale offers an inside look at a legendary brewing company and the craftsmanship and pride that go into every keg. For anyone who hopes to keep their business vibrant and dynamic for the next few centuries, the book offers important lessons on continuity, quality, and innovation. For everyone who loves a good beer story, Guinness offers a perfect pint more than two centuries in the pouring.

Sit back and enjoy.


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley; 1 edition (October 5, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0470120525
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470120521
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.1 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,104,562 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Walter H. Bock on November 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent story of the development of a business over a period of more than two centuries. It's a fascinating read whether you're interested in the brewing of beer or in adapting a business to changing times and situations.

In addition to brewing one of the great beers of the world, Guinness also proved adept at developing markets and distribution systems, marketing their beverages in changing times, adapting products to the realities of markets, and using technology to improve both products and distribution.

Brewing was an industry that could achieve economies of scale before the Industrial Revolution. The Guinness family understood that. But they also understood that achieving great scale was worthless if you didn't also develop markets where people could drink your product and distribution systems to get it there.

Throughout the history of the firm, Guinness has been willing to adapt products to the need of the market. India Pale Ale, for example, was a hoppier product and one higher in alcohol content than other products so that it would withstand the ocean voyage to India. When lagers became popular, Guinness began producing lagers.

The story of Guinness, like the story of every successful and long-lived business is a story of good decisions and bits of good luck. It was a good decision, for example, to make a strong effort to establish Guinness as a brand in the days when the more dominant brands were local bottlers.

But luck also kicked in at various times in the company's history. In England in the 19th Century most pubs were "tied" houses, meaning that they were tied to a specific brewery.
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Format: Hardcover
After reading the outstandingAmbitious Brew: The Story of American Beer by Maureen Ogle, I was interested in reading about beer history on the other side of the pond, so I picked up Bill Yenne's "Guinness: the 250 Year Quest for the Perect Pint". What I found was more of an unsatisfying PR piece than a thoughtful history.

In short, the book lacks depth. Bill Yenne claims to have spent many weeks in the Guinness archives, but it seems that he didn't spend time anywhere else to either back up or add color to his factoids. The book alternates between heroic tales of the Guinness family to long recitals of sales figures. It seems as he uncritically accepted and repeated whatever he ran across, and did not consult any sources outside of the Guinness archive. Everything is rosy in his world of Guinness. I would like to have seen what this book would have turned out like in the hands of an author like Maureen Ogle or James B. Stewart (Disney War)

The book is a pretty easy read. I was able to finish it in a few nights, although I had to struggle to stick with it, because it was so unrelentingly shallow.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
In some ways, this book is an eye-opener: if you didn't know how deeply beer reaches into society, this story of a corporation and its effect on the city and country around it would an interesting surprise. But The Quest for the Perfect Pint is more than that-it's a long loving praise and appraisal of one of the world's best-known brands. If you needed a reminder of the unique place of this quirky, delicious, light-bodied beer in the bars and dining rooms of the world, this is it.
Lynn Hoffman, author The Short Course in Beer
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Format: Hardcover
I just love the cover!

How often does one wait for a writer to confirm what we already know. I knew Guinness beer was magical, and Author Bill Yenne confirms it in his new book. This easy read is a must for anyone with an interest in beer, or the Guinness company. "Guinness" takes you from the simple beginnings of Guinness brewing at St. James Gate in Dublin, Ireland, through it's 250 year history.

Read about the Guinness brewing family, and their relationship to beer and modern Irish history. Consider the observations of the Guinness world "Travelers" of 100 years ago, and the rattly thing in today's can of Guinness, simply called a "widget".

This was a fun book for me. I must admit, I believe in the perfect pint, and this seems like the perfect book.
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Format: Hardcover
As Yenne says in this wonderful book, "Whenever someone asks me to name my favorite beer, I tell them, "The one I have in my hand right now.' But when they ask me what is the GREATEST beer, I have to say 'Guinness'". It's a subtle distinction, but one whose import becomes clear through this amazing tale.
For example, what other brand of beer (or brand of *anything* for that matter) can claim a 250 year pedigree, has been a staple of the Royal Army's "critical" supply chain around the globe for centuries, owned it's own railroad AND shipping line, treats malaria as well as the common cold (allegedly, but who's checking?), AND comes from the same family as the Guinness Book of World Records?
I knew none of these things before picking up this book (except how much I loved Guinness). Now I know enough to make my trips to the local pub not only gastronomically satisfying, but culturally and intellectually satisfying as well.
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