It began in Ireland in the mid-1700s. The water throughout Europe was poisonous and undrinkable. Widespread alcoholism triggered by gin and whiskey was devastating society. It was a disease-ridden, starvation-plagued age – when the first Arthur Guinness stepped into the ancient and interwoven history of beer and the Christian faith.
From the beginning, the Guinnesses lived out their conviction that “brewing could be done as a holy offering, as a craft yielded to the service of God. They did not see themselves as secular, but rather as called. They did not see themselves as apart from Christian ministry, but rather as ín the Christian ministry of industry and trade.”
Consider this snapshot from the 1920s (not a particularly enlightened time for corporate treatment of employees) when the brewery had the reputation as the best place to work in Ireland. Not only did Guinness pay wages 10%–20% higher than average, they also paid for their employees’ education and pensions. Employees and their families enjoyed full medical and dental care, subsidised meals, free music concerts, lectures and sports competitions, and could borrow from a dedicated fund to buy their own homes.
Now, 250 years and over 150 countries later, Guinness is a global brand consumed at a rate of more than 10 million glasses per day.
Yet there is even more to these men and women than their brewing fame and social impact – succeeding generations became bankers, writers, and preachers. Some influenced global high finance, others enabled the work of reformers and missionaries such as Thomas Barnardo, Hudson Taylor and John Wesley.
The Search For God And Guinness is the story of how one family changed the world.
It is actually three books in one – presenting a high-level history of beer, an edifying biography of the Guinness legacy, and personal commentary on the Christian doctrine of vocation.
Written by New York Times best-selling author Stephen Mansfield, it is an easy read with a lively pace. As R. Emmett Tyrrell Jr (founder and editor of The American Spectator) commented, “It’s a rare brew that takes faith, philanthropy, and the frothy head of a freshly poured Guinness and combines them into such an inspiring narrative. You’re in for a treat.”
Review by Lise-Marie Keyser