The Search for God and GuinnessNovember 19, 2009
The Search for God and Guinness: A Biography of the Beer that Changed the World
On the website, Guinness.com, there is the slogan, “Pure beauty. Pure GUINNESS”
The history of Guinness is pure beauty. Stephen Mansfield does a great job capturing the essence of the history that surrounds this beer, and the family that built up the empire of Guinness.
I was surprised to read that beer was a huge part of the Christian tradition until the early 1900′s. The author shows in the first chapter how the Christian tradition was rooted in brewing beer. Mansfield states, “This theory is supported by the facts that beer is so intertwined with the history of the Christian faith that it is tempting to believe that Christians discovered it.” The author moves on to add Reformers of the faith like Luther, and Calvin into the history of beer and Christianity. Even stating that Luther’s wife was a master brewer before leaving the convent to marry Martin Luther. The Christian perspective changed in 1917 when the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union formed in America and led the country to prohibition. Because of prohibition this led to the increasing numbers of Americans drinking hard liquor rather than the more moderate and healthy beer. This also led the Church to take a hard stance on alcohol because of the addiction to alcohol that rose out of the early 1920′s.
The beauty of this book is the history of the Guinness family. After all the generations the men and women from Guinness either ended up as missionaries, or being apart of the business. Arthur Guinness, the founder of Guinness Beer saw a problem with the harsh alcohol gin. Arthur’s thought was that gin destroys lives while beer is healthy and safe, enhancing rather than eroding good society. Arthur also was a political powerhouse in Ireland and helped change the views in society towards Catholics and Christians. Arthur was an innovator, and someone who was the foundation for the generations to come in his family in how to live a life of business and use your influence to further the kingdom of God.
This book is a great look at Guinness and how they as a family helped use their business to change Dublin, England, Europe, and the world.