Harp Lager

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Harp Lager
Harp Lager
Launch year 1960
Company Diageo
Website Diageo.com: Harp lager
Pale lager

Harp Lager is an Irish lager created in 1960 by Guinness in its Great Northern Brewery, Dundalk. It is a leading lager brand in Ireland, and is also popular in Canada, Africa and the United States.


Harp Lager was first produced in 1960 as a bottled beer by the Guinness company (now Diageo), in response to the trend among drinkers in Britain and Ireland towards continental lager. Guinness converted its Dundalk brewery into a modern lager production plant with the guidance of Dr. Herman Muender, a distinguished German brewer.[1] Various names were considered for the brand, including Atlas, Cresta and Dolphin, before Harp was chosen.[2] The brand was marketed with the Brian Boru harp as its emblem.

The manufacturer states that Harp is made with pure water from the Cooley Mountains, Dundalk.[3]

By 1961 a consortium of brewers, Courage, Barclay & Simonds, Scottish & Newcastle, Bass, Mitchells & Butlers and Guinness, grouped together as Harp Lager Ltd to brew and market the beer.[4][5] Courage's Alton Brewery, where Courage Director's had been brewed, was rebuilt to produce the lager in Great Britain.[2]

By 1964, the product was being sold on draught and led in its category for sales. Members of the Harp consortium changed over the years, with Courage and Scottish & Newcastle leaving in 1979, but becoming franchisees.[6] Currently available on draught, and in 330ml and 500ml bottles, its top markets are Ireland, Australia, Canada, Africa, United States, according to Diageo.[3] In 2005, Harp saw a makeover. Diageo Ireland separated the brand from Guinness.

Today, Harp is brewed in the Dundalk brewery for Ireland and Hydes Brewery for Great Britain. In Australia, distribution is handled by Carlton & United Breweries.

As of the Autumn of 2010, Harp continues to be brewed in Dundalk but tankers are sent to Dublin to be kegged for the on trade market. Cans and bottles are packaged by IBC in Belfast. On 9 May 2008, Diageo Ireland announced that it would close the Dundalk Brewery along with the Kilkenny Brewery over a five-year period.[7]

Today, Harp sold in America is brewed in Canada by Guinness Canada and is typically brewed at the Moosehead Brewery in New Brunswick. [8]


For many years the slogan "Harp stays sharp" was used in advertisements. It was written by the advertising executive Rod Allen.[9] Recently it has used the slogan "Look on the Harp side".


  1. ^ "Harp medal-winning lager – Diageo Ireland". replay.waybackmachine.org. Retrieved 2011-03-12. 
  2. ^ a b "The Grand Union Brewery - History of Lager". www.siteset.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-03-12. 
  3. ^ a b Brewing in Dundalk – Diageo Ireland
  4. ^ Lawrence A. Wenner, Steven J. Jack. Sport, beer, and gender: promotional culture and contemporary social life. Peter Lang, 2009. p. 60. Retrieved 2011-03-12. 
  5. ^ Alcohol and temperance in modern ... - Google Books. books.google.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-03-12. 
  6. ^ "Dundalk grows and develops"archive link September 2006 (Wayback Machine), Diageo
  7. ^ RTE news: closure of two Diageo breweries
  8. ^ This one is Irish Canadian
  9. ^ "Rod Allen – Obituary". The Times. Retrieved 2011-03-12. 

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