Pints raised to Pat as he prepares to bow out as last of Guinness draymen
Dubliner Pat Cole is about to bow out as one of the last Guinness drivers to deliver the black stuff to the pubs of the capital.
For the past 17 years, Pat (49), from Palmerstown, has worked as a drayman for the company -- delivering the drink around the capital by truck.
However, parent company Diageo is now outsourcing the operation and hiring contractors instead.
But Pat and three other draymen will be redeployed within the brewery -- and for Pat, this will keep his family's long traditional association with Guinness alive.
He told the Herald that his great-grandfather, Paddy Mitten, held the record as the employee with the longest service in Guinness over 100 years ago.
"My great granddad was 51 years, eight months, and five days doing it. I have his records in the house, and he was only out of work for two days, with a sprained wrist."
He added: "We are the last draymen, as they call it, to be in the Guinness brewery since 1759. And from November 1, we're inside in the brewery itself."
Pat described his job as "the best job in the world" and he has posed for countless photos for tourists.
"I must have had thousands of photos taken, especially in Temple Bar. I've met some famous people, like Ian Botham, the famous cricketer, and Fergal O'Brien, the snooker player."
Pat adds that it's a sad twist of fate that he's changing jobs just after he has just celebrated Guinness' 251st birthday.
"It's sad that I'm leaving now, since Arthur's Day is only just over, and it's 251 years old, and now we're the last drivers to deliver Guinness on the streets of Dublin.
"I absolutely love it. We get to meet lots of different people when we're out on the road. I'd say I know thousands of people after being in the beer trade. Over the years, you get Christmas boxes and people want to bring you in for dinner."
Pat and his colleagues are celebrating the end of an era, though he says he's looking forward to his new position, which will be dealing with export trucks.
"Now they're letting all the contractors do our work, so there'll be no more original Guinness drivers on the road. We delivered to the pubs, clubs, and restaurants, and anyone who had beer taps. There were only four of us left, and only one truck."
Pat is also full of praise for Guinness for helping him raise funds for the Marie Keating Foundation, and in particular he wants to thank the managing director of the Guinness Storehouse, Paul Carty, for making donations for functions he's held in aid of the charity.
A spokesperson for Diageo pointed out that the company had been outsourcing its distribution duties to third-party drivers and driving companies for many years.