Guinness toasts a million visitors this year

Guinness bosses today raised their glasses to a record one million visitors who have flocked to the home of the black stuff so far this year.

The iconic St James’ Gate brewery has undergone a massive €4.5m face-lift to handle the growing numbers of tourists.

And the credit crunch appears to have overlooked Ireland’s most popular attraction, with a further surge in visitors predicted in the coming months.

Managing director Paul Carty said developments in the Guinness Storehouse were created to improve guests’ experience and meet growing interest.

“I am very proud of the recent enhancements to the Storehouse which were essential due to the growing number of visitors,” he said.

“In the last 12 months, [it] has welcomed over one million visitors through its doors – a first for the Guinness Storehouse since opening in December 2000.

“We haven’t experienced the slowdown and we forecast that numbers will be up by 10% over the next year.”

Almost seven million visitors have crossed the threshold of the storehouse since its doors opened eight years ago to learn how the famous stout is brewed.

Its makeover includes a revamped entrance and exit, audio tour equipment, visitor media portals and an enhanced atrium shaped like a pint.

The attraction proved most popular with UK tourists in recent years, followed by the US, Italy, Spain, Ireland, Germany, Australia, France and Scandinavia.

The premises – built in 1904 in the style of the Chicago School of Architecture - housed the fermentation of the beer until 1988 before being transformed into a visitor attraction.

Brewing giant Diageo, which owns Guinness, announced controversial plans to sell off half of the 55-acre site as part of a €650m overhaul earlier this year.

It also cut production at the St James’ Gate site by a third to half a billion pints a year and revealed plans to build a new site which will produce up to one billion pints for export.

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