9,000 year brewery lease

Posted on Monday, April 27th, 02009 by Alexander Rose - Twitter: @zander
link Categories: Long Term Thinking   chat 0 Comments

Over the weekend I heard a story on NPR that referred to Guinness having a 9,000 year lease on its brewery that started back in the 1700’s.  I made a mental note to look it up when I got home.  No sooner did I get online than I saw a note from Paul Saffo who had already done it:

Arthur Guinness started brewing ales initially in Leixlip, then at the St. James’s Gate Brewery, Dublin, Irelandfrom 1759. He signed (up to) a 9,000 year lease at £45 per annum for the unused brewery.

And indeed, here is the reference on the Guinness site:

And I found this reference in the time line on their product site with an image of the actual signed lease:

Thanks Paul!

  • Laura in our office brought up the most important question on this… Why 9,000 years?

  • I suspect they were avoiding a real estate tax by exploiting a loophole…but still, it seems like a 99 year lease, or even 999 would do plenty fine.

  • Scott Correy

    I got curious and searched around a bit but have found absolutely nothing on why they chose 9000 years. I’d love to know though… I’m thinking you are right on the tax loophole or something similar but 9000 years?

  • Scott Sanchez

    I’m forced to wonder, Who is receiving the money now – and what if no heir of Mr Rainsford (original landlord) can be located when it terms out?

  • George Cooper

    Re. Scott’s question – who receives the lease money now? I am a descendant of the Rainsford family and that concerns me also.

  • Kent

    The 1759 lease is no longer valid as the Company purchased the lands outright many years ago.

  • Kathryn

    Read “The search for
    God and Guiness”, this will answer a lot of questions,

  • To me it seems like all the previous comments ask the same question! Why 9000 years? This immediately suggests some kind of skulduggery, was Rainsford pissed on the day? Signed under duress? Tricked or conned?
    Mis-written or misheard? 99 sure, 999 known…but 9000? No chance. Perhaps another mystery of family billions gained in a not such an honest way? Or maybe perfectly honest but taking extreme unfair advantage. Perhaps we’ll never know.

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