The black stout is synonymous with Ireland, so ubiquitous that it is presented to every visiting dignitary including President Obama and even Queen Elizabeth II. But despite its international success, Guinness' domestic reputation has taken a hit of late.
Today is the fifth anniversary of an unofficial Irish national holiday born from a Guinness marketing brainwave: "Arthur's Day," a play on words referencing Guinness founder Arthur Guinness and "Our Thursday." Roughly 1,000 music acts from around the world will play in 500 pubs to tens of thousands of fans.
First held to commemorate the 250th anniversary of the founding of the Guinness brewery, the festival has gone from strength to strength. Until now. This year's celebration is facing stiff opposition.
After scenes of reckless drinking in previous years there is a growing movement against what critics say is a festival promoting alcohol abuse. Guinness owner Diageo counters that it supports responsible drinking and the festival is about celebrating live music and the company's heritage. Critics disagree. The Labor party's Alex White, junior minister responsible for alcohol and drugs, condemned Arthur's Day as a "contrived" "pseudo-national holiday" designed to sell alcohol to young adults, noting a 30 percent increase in ambulance calls during the 2012 event.