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A History of Giving

Upholding Arthur’s values and legacy

A History of Giving

Here at Guinness®, we invest as much care in our people as we do our beer. And we’ve been doing this since day one, when we set things off to a good start offering wages 20 percent higher than the Dublin average.

We were one of the first companies in Ireland to provide pensions  not just for staff, but for their widows too (they also received preferences when job vacancies came up and free dinners for their children once a week to encourage them to attend school). And, in 1870, we opened a medical dispensary to provide free doctor’s consultations and medicines for the sick.

“We were one of the first companies in Ireland to provide pensions – not just for staff, but for their widows too”

Then there’s housing  another area we’ve always given top priority. From 1872, Edward Cecil Guinness began building houses for his employees to rent.

Then in 1890, the Iveagh Trust (originally the Guinness Trust) was established to provide homes for the poor in both London and Dublin. 

All of which was on top of the extras employees received during the working day. These included three meals in the dining room, a two-pint beer allowance or script that they could exchange for goods at the Co-operative store and  for those with wives who had recently given birth  free ‘snipes’: small bottles of Guinness with a vitamin B-rich yeast sediment for nutrition.

Guinness employees enjoying a meal together in the dining room
Guinness employees enjoying a meal together

And it’s no surprise that, as brewers of one of the world’s best-loved beers, we’ve always had a knack for bringing people together.

Even as far back as the early 1900s Guinness employees received social benefits: free train tickets for trips to the countryside, a Guinness Athletic Union for sports, a bi-centenary center with a theater and swimming pool. And this history of philanthropy doesn’t end there.

Guinness is a brand with people at its heart, and we’ve been taking care of those people for over 200 years. We’re constantly seeking out new ways to uphold Arthur’s values, and his legacy, one that the Guinness family is proud to uphold.

The theatre in the bi-centenary centre Guinness founded for its employees
The swimming pool in the bi-centenary centre Guinness founded for its employees