Friday, February 8, 2008

Guinness is good for you after all

Feeling OK? Have a 'pint'

The long-running ad campaign is well known
The old advertising slogan "Guinness is good for you", is being taken quite literally in Belfast.

A health group in Short Strand has come up with a tempting new way to talk to men about their health - over a pint of the black stuff.

The scheme is being run by the East Belfast Community Health Information Project which is taking its message right into local hostelries.

Organiser PJ Jones said the idea was to bring health matters to male attention and the only place they could do that was where men gathered - in the the pub.

"Men don't seem to go to the doctors, " he said.

"So, it's giving them an incentive to take a pint and come and get a small health check.

"It will be a social event as well. We didn't want to bring in the professional look - the doctors - because men stand back from that."

Researchers in the USA have said that a pint of the black stuff a day may work as well as an aspirin to prevent heart clots that raise the risk of heart attacks.

Last November, a team from Wisconsin University tested the health-giving properties of stout against lager by giving it to dogs who had narrowed arteries.

They found that those given the Guinness had reduced clotting activity in their blood and believe that "antioxidant compounds" in the Guinness, similar to those found in certain fruits and vegetables, are responsible for the benefits.

Health checks and a pint go hand in hand in BelfastThe Belfast scheme, part of a health awareness week, is a one-off idea and has never been tried in the area before.

However, there is a serious message to the fun side of the campaign which organisers are keen to highlight.

"It's usually the women that tell the men to go to the doctors," said Mr Jones.

"The simple message to men is prevention is better than detection. You need detection to get it sorted out. But if you can prevent it, it will save money on the health service."

He added: "If they (men) don't come to the surgery, we'll bring it to them."

Guinness has reportedly given the go-ahead for the east Belfast scheme.

Last year, a spokesperson for Diageo, the company that now owns the Guinness brand, told the BBC: "We never make any medical claims for our drinks."

Take a Tour of the Guinness Brewery on YouTube

Take a Trip through the Guinness Brewery

Guinness sales losing their froth

Guinness sales losing their froth
By Shane Harrison Dublin corrrespondent

Lent is now upon us, a time when many people in Ireland make a sacrifice until Easter Sunday.

Guinness sales are in decline in the Irish Republic

Quite a few forsake their visits to their local pub and give up drinnking alcohol for several weeks, though some do make an exception for St Patrick's Day on 17 March.

And that's not good news for Diageo, the owners of Guinness, Ireland's world-famous stout that was first exported in 1796.

In 1914 the Guinness brewery in Dublin was the largest in the world and the company was the biggest single employer in Ireland.

But times have changed.

Recent figures show that sales of Guinness are losing their froth.

The 2006 figures for Ireland and Britain show a drop of 7%, continuing a trend that began years ago.

Some people blame the trend on the Irish Republic's smoking ban in pubs; others say it has to do with a crackdown on drink-driving.

People are drinking more alcohol at home and are mainly choosing wine
But the truth is that even before the ban was introduced people were going to the pub less often and this was having an impact on sales.

People are drinking more alcohol at home and are mainly choosing wine.
Michael Patton, corporate relations director, Diageo Ireland, says company research shows the number of people remaining loyal to Guinness is stable.

"The problem is they are consuming less Guinness than before," he said.

Mr Patton puts the decline in sales primarily down to life-style changes. Six years ago, he says, 70% of all Guinness was consumed in pubs but now it has dipped below 50%.

He said: "The main issue for us and the beer market, in general, is changing life-style and the continuing shift from on-trade to off-trade consumption."

The continuing decline in Guinness sales has led to speculation that Diageo might be prepared to sell the brand but Michael Patton says that's not the case.

"We won't be getting out of beer. Diageo has a total beverage alcohol strategy and that means it will stay in beer."

Why Guinness tastes better in Ireland

Why Guinness tastes better in Ireland

According to the tour guide at the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, the belief that Guinness tastes better in Ireland is not just an urban myth. He offered two explanations for the phenomenon.

1. Freshness
Because Guinness is so much more popular in Ireland than elsewhere, kegs don’t last long. So your pint is more likely to be fresh.

2. Cleanliness
If you’re a pub owner in Ireland, you are affiliated with Guinness. One of the terms of that relationship is that every three weeks you’ll receive a visit from a Guinness representative who will flush the lines to your Guinness taps. Pub owners are supposed to do that on their own, but some are lazy about it and Guinness doesn’t want to take any chances. If the lines aren’t flushed, the brew will be compromised.
What a savvy business practice!

Guinness Barbecue Sauce Recipe

Guinness Barbecue Sauce

1¼ hours 10 min prep

4 ounces sweet onions, finely minced
1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
8 ounces Guinness Extra Stout (bottle)
6 ounces ketchup
2 tablespoons treacle (ok to substitute molasses)
2 tablespoons prepared pub mustard (or other spicey mustard)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 dash hot pepper sauce (I use Pickapeppa, but Tabasco or similar is OK)

Pub Mustard Ingredients
2 cups
dry mustard
1 cup
brown sugar, firmly packed
2 teaspoons
1/2 teaspoon
12 ounces Guinness, flat

To Prepare Pub Mustard:

Combine mustard, brown sugar, salt and turmeric in blender or food processor and mix well.
With the machine running, add beer in a slow, steady stream and blend until mixture is smooth and creamy, stopping frequently to scrape down the sides of the work bowl.
Transfer to jars with tight-fitting lids.
Store in cool, dark place.
Combine barbecue sauce ingredients, cover and simmer for 45 to 60 minutes.
Allow to cool slightly, taste and adjust spices to taste.
Store refrigerated in tightly covered container.

Guinness and Filet Mignon Chili

Guinness and Filet Mignon Chili

1½ hours 30 min prep

1 cup unsalted butter
5 lbs ground sirloin
1 lb filet mignon, cut into ¼ inch dice
2 cups onions, cut into ¼ inch dice
1 chili pepper, seeds and veins removed,cut into 1/8 inch dice
4 fluid ounces Guinness Extra Stout
1/4 cup flour
2 cups crushed tomatoes
1/4 cup no-salt added tomato paste
4 cups low sodium beef broth
1 cup cooked black beans
1 cup cooked kidney beans
1/2 cup chili powder
2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons white pepper
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

Heat up ½ cup of the butter in a large sauce pot over medium high heat until very hot.
Add diced filet and cook until seared and browned around the edges.
Add ground beef and cook until all of the beef is browned thoroughly.
Remove the meat and set aside, draining off ¾ of the fat (leave the rest of the fat in the pot).
Add the diced onions and chile pepper to the pot and cook until soft, about 3 minutes.
Add the meat back to the pot.
Add the Guinness and let boil for 1 minute.
Add the flour and stir constantly for 1 minute.
Add the crushed tomatoes, tomato paste and the beef stock and stir thoroughly.
Reduce the heat to a low simmer and add both of the beans, the chili powder, cumin, salt, white pepper and brown sugar.
Let the chili simmer for 30 minutes, uncovered, stirring occasionally.
Finish by stirring in ½ cup more of the butter and the shredded cheddar cheese.
Garnish or serve with any of the following: sour cream, diced red onions and pepper, shredded cheddar cheese, diced tomatoes, fresh chopped cilantro.

Serves 15 people!

Guinness Drink Recipe: Trojan Horse

Guinness Drink Recipe: Trojan Horse

The Trojan Horse is a simple mixed drink of Guinness Stout and cola. This a popular summertime drink in the UK and Northern Ireland and is a great way to add some "refreshment" to your Guinness.

1/2 pint Guinness Stout
1/2 pint cola (Pepsi or Coke)

Pour the Guinness into a pint glass or beer mug.
Top with the cola.