TORONTO – The Toronto Esplanade’s Fionn MacCool’s recently played host to parent company, Prime Pubs’ “Passport to Party” contest. Held in conjunction with the venerable Guinness brand’s 250th anniversary, contestants from across the country were invited to the downtown pour house to regale those in attendance with their stories of the iconic brew.
“We saw the Passport to Party contest as a fantastic opportunity for us to partner with Guinness and to give one of Prime Pubs’ loyal beer drinkers a truly memorable experience,” says Grant Cobb, senior vice-president of Prime Pubs. “We are delighted by the response we got from both participants in the contest and guests who came to watch the finals. It was a true Irish evening – a packed pub, pints of beer and memorable tales.”
After 12 well crafted stories, Guinness Global Brewmaster Fergal Murray presented the grand prizewinner with the trip of a lifetime — four days in Dublin, the spiritual home of Guinness, to officially celebrate the 250th anniversary at the brewery, where Murray confirmed the product does taste just a little better. “Does Chianti taste better in Toronto or in Tuscany; champagne here or in the Champagne region of France? Need I go on?,” he joked when asked about the long held belief of Guinness aficionados everywhere.
Deborah McMillan from Burlington, Ont. was named the grand prizewinner by a judging panel comprised of representatives from Prime Pubs and Diageo. McMillan shared a story about her 22-year-old son’s love for Guinness, how he enjoyed climbing a mountain in Ireland with his siblings and toasting the view with Guinness and touring the St. James Gate Brewery in Dublin. When McMillan’s son passed away in November 2008, after an 11-month battle with a rare cancer, his family included a small vial of Guinness in his casket. Now they visit his grave regularly and toast all important occasions with Guinness — always pouring the last third of the pint on the ground for him.
Prime Pubs also used the “Passport to Party” finals as an opportunity to let guests sample appetizers from its new menu launching in all locations. New appetizers include Guinness poutine, with fresh Quebec cheddar curds, Yukon gold stuffed potato skins and short rib flatbread. Guests were also invited to sample the Smooth, Dark, Handsome — a Guinness-based cocktail that is also featured on the new menu.