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Bill Yenne - Guinness

Guinness is not likely to make many people's "best books I ever read list." There are a few enjoyable parts, but overall, drinking a Guinness is more satisfying than reading about one.

So what are those enjoyable parts? The first are the quotings from the guy with the dream job.

What is the dream job? Imagine yourself in 1900, being paid to travel around the world, sample beer, and then write reports back to your employer, Guinness, about the beer qualities, market conditions, etc. A guy had just such a job and his reports to Guinness make up much of one chapter.

The second enjoyable part is hearing about how the Guinness Book of World Records got started and turned into such a big success. Maybe I've been living under a rock or something, but I didn't even realize the book of records was related to the beer. Unfortunately, only a page in Guinness is devoted to the book of world records, a book I found quite fascinating when I was a kid.

The final piece that I liked in Guinness was reading about how a company that never advertised or marketed itself did a complete 360 and turned into an advertising power house in the 20th Century. How the company had to handle two world wars is also mildly interesting.

Other than those items, there is little that is noteworthy here. It's a short book as is but probably should have only been an article or essay instead. Who really cares to hear all of the names of people who ran the company or served as master brewer anyway? Yawn. Where and when they opened more factories? More yawning. When and who the company acquired and merged with? I'm asleep already.

By the end, you'll be wanting a pint far more than you'll be wanting to read more. 2009 will mark Guinness's 250th year in business. Mark it with a beer in your hand instead of this book.

from the publisher:
A perfectly poured history of the world's most famous beer.

Guinness Stout has a unique place in global beverage folklore. It's a beer with a long and colorful history and mythology that maintains a passionate following among beer connoisseurs the world over. Indeed, two billion pints are poured and enjoyed around the world each year. Guinness is also a remarkable family of brewers and entrepreneurs whose story is worthy of legend, and whose name is an integral part of Irish history. In Guinness, famed beverage and beer writer Bill Yenne traces the 250-year history of the family and the brewery. He follows the family from Arthur Guinness, the entrepreneur patriarch, who became a brewer at age 30, to his son and namesake, who penned the recipe for the legendary black stout. And then there was the third generation Benjamin Lee Guinness, the First Earl of Iveagh, who became the richest man in Ireland selling stout, and who built the family business into the largest brewery in the world. In Guinness, Yenne carries the story through the centuries, up to the present, celebrating the technology and craftsmanship of the brewery today.

Bill Yenne (San Francisco, CA) has written extensively on beer and brewing history for two decades. He is the author of more than 40 books, and a member of the American Society of Journalists & Authors and the American Book Producers Association. [an error occurred while processing this directive]