For whatever reason, Guinness is one of those drinks that transcends the country it comes from and is globally famous much in the same way Coca-Cola is.
If you ask people here in Ireland why that is, they might mention the famous advertisements of the 1990s, the unique dark and creamy taste or that classic ruby red silhouette as the end result of every pint poured.
Whatever the reason, the branding and the logo has naturally become just as famous.
Walk down a street in Dublin, Sydney, New York or Bangkok and you’re just as likely to see the Guinness logo as anything else.
So what is that logo?
What Musical Instrument Appears on the Guinness Label?
The musical instrument that appears on the Guinness beer label and packaging is a harp.
The logo is so well known that Guinness have a Fact Sheet which explains the origins. Essentially the harp design is based on a famous 14th century Irish harp known as “O’Neill” or “Brian Boru”.
This harp logo has been used as a Guinness symbol since way back in 1862!
Since then it has changed and developed. It was first registered as a trademark in 1876 and the current design appeared almost 150 years later in 2005.
The Celtic or Irish harp has long been a symbol of skill, quality and that of the Gaelic ruling class.
Not only does the harp symbol feature on Guinness, one of Ireland’s most famous ever exports, it also sits proudly on the Coat of arms of Ireland.
These arms have represented Ireland, and the kings of Ireland, since as far back as the 13th century! The harp was also adopted as the emblem of the Irish Free State following partition in 1921 when the 26 counties of the Republic of Ireland separated from the United Kingdom.
Incredible to think that so much history can be connected to one small symbol, and that one small symbol features so prominently on one of the worlds most famous brands.
It’s fitting in a way that the Irish harp, a symbol that has represented Ireland for centuries, should still be so prominent today.
When you consider that St James’ Brewery in Dublin brews an estimated 2.5 million pints of Guinness every single day, and the fact that you can step into almost any pub in Ireland, north, south, east or west and get a pint of black, it truly is Ireland’s beer.
We might not admit it often, but most Irish people love the fact that something so local is so well known across the world. And if you haven’t had a pint of Guinness before, consider this your instruction to head out right now!
You’ll now be able to impress your friends with a few lesser known facts next time you order a pint of the black stuff!