Guinness brings soccer to the U.S. in style, breaking records along the way

When the folks at Guinness invited us to join them in Ann Arbor, Michigan for the weekend to drink some beer and watch Manchester United and Real Madrid battle it out at The Big House, we couldn’t decline. After all, how often do you get the opportunity to see two of the biggest soccer clubs in the world compete live, let alone on U.S. soil? For most people, it’s a once in a lifetime experience, and with United absent from this year’s UEFA Champions League, the chances that fans will ever see Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo share the stage again seems pretty unlikely.

So as the resident soccer fan on staff, I flew out to Detroit on Friday to meet up with fellow bloggers from sites like Made Man, Bleacher Report, Inside Hook and World Soccer Talk. After quickly checking into my room at the MGM Grand Hotel, I joined the rest of the group as we boarded a van headed for the home of the Michigan Wolverines to watch Manchester United and Real Madrid’s open training sessions. Both teams appeared to be relaxed but focused on the night leading up to the big game, engaging in the usual fitness drills and rounds of keep-away, while a few of the players even tried their hand at some football of the American variety by tossing the pigskin around with University of Michigan quarterback Devin Gardner.

Of course, it was all just a tease for the real festivities on Saturday, which began with miles of traffic on I-94 as tens of thousands of soccer fans flooded the college town of Ann Arbor for the big game. Thanks to some creative detouring by our driver, we arrived in plenty of time to enjoy a cold pint at the Guinness beer garden, who, as the main sponsors of the International Champions Cup, were allowed to serve alcohol inside the usually “dry” stadium, a rarity for the university and college sports in general.

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Tom Cruise and former Bond girl Olga Kurylenko in Dublin at Guinness Storehouse

Earlier today, the Guinness Storehouse (the Guinness brewery in Dublin, Ireland) rolled out the red carpet to welcome one of the world’s most famous actors in history, Tom Cruise. Cruise jetted into Dublin as part his worldwide tour for his latest movie, “Oblivion,” accompanied by director Joseph Kosinski and Cruise’s leading, lady former Bond girl Olga Kurylenko.

The group was treated to a private tour of the Guinness Brewery, and Tom received a one-on-one session with Master Brewer Fergal Murray to learn how to pour the perfect pint of Guinness.

Since opening its doors in 2000, the Guinness Storehouse has welcomed over 9 million visitors from around the world and is Ireland’s number one international visitor attraction. The building, a former fermentation plant in the legendary St. James’s Gate Brewery in Dublin, holds a seven story Guinness experience which allows visitors to gain an understanding of why Guinness has become one of the world’s most iconic and best loved brands.

  

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