Jim Duffy has a job that makes him the envy of any beer lover. Duffy works for Guinness. He began his career with the brewer working on the lines and installing taps in Ireland, but in 1996 Duffy was chosen for a special project team that involved coming to the US for just three weeks. More than 20 years later and the Belfast man is now the Quality Manager for Diageo Guinness USA.
Speaking to IrishCentral, Duffy explained that although this might sound like a dream job and involve drinking a lot of Guinness what his role boils down to is “making sure that every pint of Guinness is as good as it can possibly be,” in New York, Boston and Philadelphia.
From the wholesalers, to the glasses, to the display at the bar, Duffy points out, “you only get to make your first impression once” and it’s his job to make sure that impression is world class, exactly what people have come to expect from Guinness.
Education is also paramount to Duffy’s job – making sure that bartenders and wholesalers know everything they need to know about pouring the perfect pint of Guinness. Duffy said, “Often in Ireland you meet barmen who are lifelong barmen, that were apprenticed at a young age and know about the beers and Guinness, but here the barmen I meet are just jobbing in bars to make a few bob.” This is where Duffy steps in to make sure that they know how to pour Guinness correctly.
Despite the myth that Guinness tastes different outside Ireland Duffy maintains, “If I blindfolded someone and gave them a pint from Manhattan and a pint from Dublin, the heart of Ireland, I would say they wouldn’t know the difference.”
“People do say that the best Guinness they’ve had is at the Storehouse in Dublin, but there’s a feel good factor there too. You’re in Ireland, in the home of Guinness, but I have to say that you can get as good a pint in New York, Boston or Philadelphia.”
He continued, “What’s great is that no matter where you are in the world there are people who are excited by Guinness and by the idea of Irishness. Guinness really is a symbol of Ireland and there’s a great pride that comes with working for Guinness.”
“When I got the job I remember my Ma was so proud I thought she was going to call the TV stations. And it’s true most people who get a job with Guinness stay in the company.
“I always say if you can’t have fun working for a beer company, and obviously keeping in mind that you should always drink responsibly, then you’re in the wrong job.”