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Arthur Guinness Son & Co., founded 1756, produces a dark stout (a type of beer), known widely as Guinness, brewed at St. James's Gate, Dublin, Ireland since 1759. It is also brewed under licence internationally - the resulting beer is, from all reports, significantly different. Guinness is available in a number of varieties and strengths, which include: Draught Guinness is considered at its best flavor when served cool and poured slowly; half is poured, and left to settle, before the rest is added. Recent advertising campaigns state that "it takes 119.5 seconds to pour the perfect pint" of Guinness. While this method of pouring (slow) is done in Ireland, American bars seem to ignore the requisite 'slow pour'.

In addition to the slow pour, it is a tradition in Ireland for the bar person to etch a shamrock in the head—in a well poured pint, the shamrock will remain visible when the drink has been finished.

The Guinness brewery also makes the "Harp" brand of lager beer.

The Guinness company also produced the Guinness Book of Records, which originated as a method of settling bar bets. After merger with the firms of Arthur Bell and United Distillers, the resulting Guinness PLC, no longer headed by a family member, combined with Grand Metropolitan to form Diageo PLC and the Book of Records was among the operations sold. Its new owner, Gullane Entertainment Ltd, was purchased in 2002 by Hit Entertainment.

Draught Guinness and its canned namesake contain nitrogen as well as carbon dioxide. CO2 dissolves in water to create carbonic acid. This explains the smoothness of draught guinness. "Original Extra Stout" tastes quite different - it contains only CO2.

The grandson of the original Arthur Guinness, Sir Benjamin Guinness, was Lord Mayor of Dublin and was created a baronet in 1867 and died the next year. His eldest son Arthur, 1st Baron Ardilaun (1840-1915), sold control of the brewery to Sir Benjamin's third son Edward (1847-1927), who became 1st Earl of Iveagh. He and his son and great-grandson the 2nd and 3rd Earls chaired the Guinness company into the 1980s, at which time non-family chief executive Ernest Saunders became chairman as part of the merger with leading Scotch whisky producer United Distillers. After Saunders was forced out following revelations that the United stock price had been illegally manipulated, the family presence on the board declined rapidly, and no Guinness remains on the board of today's Diageo.

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