Bompas & Parr

The Guinness Tasting Rooms

Conceiving the best place to taste Guinness in the world, where everyone can appreciate the nuance of its flavours.
The Guinness Tasting Rooms

Deconstructing the iconic Irish beer

Dublin, from 2013: The Tasting Rooms were designed to be the best place to taste Guinness in the world.

The series of chambers, at the heart St. James’s Gate Brewery, are visited by 1.4 million visitors a year and present an innovative new way to appreciate the taste of Guinness, with its uniquely bold and distinctive flavour that has thrived and prospered for over 250 years.

The Guinness Storehouse can lay claim to being the best place to drink Guinness, both as the original site of production as the source of global expertise on all-things Guinness. In addition to that, The Tasting Rooms are a specially designed drinking environment, in which Bompas & Parr has worked with flavour scientists to define and shape the environmental factors that can enhance taste perception.

This research places the taste of Guinness at the centre of every design decision, from the materials used in the Velvet Chamber, to the positive air pressure and its animated ethos, with the guest experience broken up into a number of set-piece moments.

In the first space, The Fountain of Truth, four Flavour Fountains present the key tastes found in Guinness as swirling vapours of beer, malt, roasted barley and hops. These four key flavours were selected in consultation with Fergal Murray, the Guinness Master Brewer, and represent the first time that powerful humidification equipment has been modified to generate a scented output and run indefinitely.

In the next tasting area, The Velvet Chamber, visitors learn the techniques to drink Guinness correctly. Here, the design language is more sensual and luxurious, to reinforce the taste and textural aspects of the liquid. The chamber is decorated with architectural adornments and embellishments drawn from around the brewery, alongside historic Guinness artefacts associated with taste. This includes barley grains from Tuankhamun’s tomb in Egypt, which were excavated in the 1920s and sent to Guinness, then the foremost cereals experts, for dating and analysis. This is the first time these grains have been displayed to all visitors to the Guinness Storehouse.

Catherine Keegan, then Visitor Experience Manager at the Guinness Storehouse, said: “The unveiling of The Tasting Rooms marks an exciting development into the realms of experiential and sensory tasting innovation. We’re thrilled to be bringing such a unique and alternative experience to visitors from both Ireland and across the globe.”

Photography by Donal Murphy and Guinness Store House