For every religious and national festival, there is normally a food or drink that is synonymous with that day; Thanksgiving and turkey, Christmas and mince pies, Shrove Tuesday and pancakes, Easter and chocolate. However none of these foods seem to have the close relationship that Guinness has with St. Patrick's Day.
Practically a sponsor of Ireland's national day, Guinness is as prevalent on the day as the colour green and leprechaun hats, however the company has no official ties with the day itself despite the likes of Desmond Guinness, a direct descendant of Guinness Brewery founder Arthur Guinness, serving as the Seattle St. Patrick's Day parade's grand marshal this year and a proposition to make the day a federal holiday in the States. However St. Patrick's day is not like any other national day as it is is celebrated around the world, particularly in the US where people commemorate the day by, amongst other things, colouring rivers green. But wherever you are, there is one constant - the need to drink a pint of Guinness.
Brewed in 50 countries (including Ethiopia), the famous stout started in a family brewery in Ireland in the 1700s and from its humble beginnings around ten million glasses of Guinness are now enjoyed around the world every day and is sold in over 150 countries.
This global popularity culminates in the mass consumption that happens on one day more than any other, March 17 - St. Patrick's Day. For a start, it's a national holiday in Ireland and where better to salute their patron saint than down the pub with a nice cold pint of the black stuff. Add to this the thousands of festivals that happen across the globe, including many states across America, and you can begin to understand why Guinness shareholders look forward to this day so much.
As one of Ireland's most famous exports, Guinness has taken full advantage of its association with St. Patrick's day, producing t-shirts, hats and many other forms of memorabilia in order to cash in. You could be excused for thinking that St. Patrick brewed the stuff himself, hence his saint-hood.
"Guinness is Good For You"
But as this is a food publication, we should really discuss its less talked about credentials. "Guinness is Good For You" slogan is still used in many places worldwide. Some research does support Guinness has heart health benefits but the company itself now officially states they make no health claims.
Contrary to popular belief, Guinness contains only 198 calories per pint - that's less than most light beer or even wine.
So before celebrating St. Patrick's day with a pint of Ireland's finest, here's a list of things you didn't know about Guinness...
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