Guinness 1886-1939: From Incorporation to the Second World War
For most of the period 1886-1939, Guinness was the largest and most successful brewery in the world. It was easily the leading international enterprise in what is now the Irish Republic, dominant in the home market, a key player in the British, and increasingly significant in the pre-war overseas trade. Its remarkable growth in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries owed much to its differences from other large breweries. Unlike them it concentrated on a single product - - stout --, and had no capital locked away in tied houses. It also gained from the lengthy, shrewd family management of the first Lord Iveagh and from investing early in scientific inquiry, barley and hop research, and the employment of scientists as its managerial caste. The First World War produced a more hostile climate for the company, for many reasons but chiefly by changes in excise duty, as well as difficulties of maintaining sales as the post-war depression approached. The step that Iveagh had long resisted - -advertising - - had at last to be adopted. Characteristically Guinness leapt to the front immediately in this field too. This is the story of the company's rise to high prosperity and subsequent struggle to hold its ground in an increasingly inimical environment. It is also the story of a company unique in its recruitment, welfare, and industrial relations systems, which insulated Guinness to a remarkable degree against the vicissitudes of Dublin life in the stormy years between the heyday of Home Rule and Hitler's precipitation of world conflict in 1939
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