Brew master

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 30 March, 2008, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 30 March, 2008, 12:00am

Guinness chief Fergal Murray has arguably the best job in the world

Did you hear the one about the genie who appeared before an Irishman and gave him two wishes?

For his first wish the Irishman asked for a refilling bottle of Guinness. The bottle appeared and after he drank the contents it immediately filled again.

The Genie then asked what his second wish was and the Irishman replied: 'Another one of them.'

Fergal Murray doesn't need to have a genie to make his wish come true. As brew master of Guinness he has a dream job.

The Dubliner is the main man when it comes to making sure every pint that comes out of St James' Gate brewery in Dublin is the perfect one.

When four million pints a day are pumped out of the brewery, quality control matters and Murray is the man for the job.

'As the brew master you are basically creating the great Guinness recipe by taking the natural materials like malt, barley, hops and yeast and putting it through our secret brewing and fermentation process,' Murray said.

'I have to make sure all this is done in the precise way to ensure every single pint of Guinness that is sold around the world is consistently perfect.'

Murray's career with Guinness began in 1983 when he was a research chemist and now as Brew Master he has an extra task to perform.

'Before any Guinness goes anywhere you have to taste the product,' he explains.

'Every day there's a team of people assessing how good it is. You can do all the laboratory tests you want but it comes down to two things: The taste and how it looks. That's what it's all about.'

It's a tough job but somebody has to do it and as it's the official beer of the Hong Kong Sevens, Murray will be keeping an eye out over the weekend to see how the Guinness goes down.

In fact, he'll not just be watching how it's going down but how it's being poured as well, for as any Guinness drinker will tell you, there's an art to pouring a pint of the black stuff.

'All over the world I tried to train bar staff to pour the perfect pint,' he said. The respect you get from the customer when you pour a pint of Guinness properly is like nothing else. You've made it as a bartender, you've got that badge of honour.'

So although there's no Ireland team taking part in this year's showpiece there will be a definite Irish flavour. 'Ireland haven't played here in a few years but with so much Guinness on show we've now got the next best thing,' Murray said.