Arthur Guinness may have had the help of some liquid courage before he signed a 9,000-year lease on a brewery in Dublin in 1759.
But 250 years later, it's clearly worked out well. The brewery at St. James's Gate has helped make Guinness stout one of the most successful beer brands worldwide.
To celebrate what the company has dubbed "Arthur's Day," stout-lovers around the world lifted a glass of the foamy black brew to Arthur Thursday at 17:59 Greenwich Mean Time, or 1:59 EST. (See correction, below.)
Guinness parent Diageo PLC expects thousands to attend an invitation-only party tonight at the Dublin brewery, where musical acts Tom Jones, Kasabian and Estelle will play. Additionally, other artists will perform at events being held at four major music venues and 28 smaller pubs across the city.
Guinness may be distinctly Irish, but the celebration of its birth is happening all over the world; parties are being hosted in more than 150 different countries, according to the beermaker's website.
To mark the occasion, Diageo PLC has pledged to give (euro)2.5 million this year from the Arthur Guinness Fund to entrepreneurs.
The company says its founder was one of the first employers in Ireland to provide pensions and health care for workers, and the foundation aims to preserve that legacy.