When Diageo asked us to create a world-class visitor experience at the Guinness Storehouse, we saw a way to make brewing the greatest show on earth.
Drinks giant Diageo asked us to help them bring the Guinness brand to life for the one million-plus people who visit the Storehouse in Dublin every year.
In one major section of the attraction, the focus would be on the unique brewing process that gives Guinness its world-renowned colour and taste. We needed to develop a fun and interactive experience that was appropriate for a wide international audience.
We turned the making of Guinness into performance art, creating a multi-sensory experience that allows visitors to truly immerse themselves in the process behind the iconic black and white stout.
Using a combination of interactive exhibits, spatial design and lighting, along with film footage and photography, we designed a space to be enjoyed by everyone: fun and immersive for the novice, with depth and discoverable content for aficionados.
The experience begins with an in-depth look at the roasting process, arguably the most important stage. The barley is roasted at exactly 232 degrees C. Any less and it doesn’t achieve the right flavour and colour profile, any higher and the barley catches fire.
The space was designed to include charred woods and amber lighting to reflect these searing temperatures, aromas were created and pumped into the space to provide a multisensory experience.
“It was a tough, complex brief and LOVE were superb - I really think they nailed it and delivered the concept to a world class standard.”
We wanted our storytelling to incorporate some of the vintage machinery that was once used to make Guinness. An old mash vessel was opened up to house the next phase of the journey: an exploration of mashing, milling and the importance of hops.
A corridor of illuminated pipes leads visitors to the Fermentation section of the experience. These pipes mirror the path taken from the Brew House to the Fermentation Plant, feeding into a series of light boxes, dials and gauges, each explaining a different stage of the process.
This is the point where visitors learn about Guinness Yeast, which is held under lock and key at St James’s Gate. The pipes feed into a large-scale 4K video wall, where a super-HD animation reveals how the yeast turns sugars to alcohol, CO2 and flavour intensity.
Every pint of Guinness contains 30 million bubbles, which give the drink its celebrated velvety smooth texture. This is achieved by a process called Nitrogenation, famously developed by Michael Ash. To bring it to life, we created the immersive ‘be the bubble’ experience: thanks to a complex system of two-way mirrors and specialist lighting, visitors find themselves surrounded by thousands of bubbles.
The experience finishes with a tribute to the incredible quality control regime that ensures every pint of Guinness is as perfect as the last. This includes a huge clock permanently set to 10am, the time each day that the latest batch of Guinness is sampled by specialist tasters before it receives the stamp of approval.
The Tasting Time clockface provides a backdrop for visitors to share their experience on social media.