Beamish and Crawford
|Founders||William Beamish and William Crawford|
|Area served||Ireland and USA|
Beamish and Crawford is the longest-established brewery in Cork, Ireland. Established in 1792 by William Beamish and William Crawford on the site of an existing porter brewery, it has had a number of owners over the centuries. These have included Carling O'Keefe, Elders IXL, Scottish & Newcastle, and (most recently) Heineken International.
The brewery's flagship product is Beamish stout.
The Beamish and Crawford brewery was founded in 1792 by William Beamish and William Crawford. They purchased an existing brewery (from Edward Allen) on a site in Cramer's lane that had been used for brewing since at least 1650 (and possibly as early as 1500). Beamish and Crawford's "Cork Porter Brewery" prospered, and by 1805 it had become the largest brewery in Ireland and the third largest in the then United Kingdom as a whole. In 1805 its output was 100,000 barrels per annum – up from 12,000 barrels in 1792. It remained the largest brewery in Ireland until overtaken by Guinness in 1833.
In 1865, the brewery underwent a modernisation programme and was completely revamped at a cost of £100,000. Alfred Barnard, a noted brewing and distilling historian, remarked in his book Noted Breweries of Great Britain & Ireland in 1889 that:
- "The business of Beamish & Crawford in Cork is a very old one dating as far back as the seventeenth century and it is said to be the most ancient porter brewery in Ireland".
The company went public in 1901, issuing a share capital of £480,000. Further expansion was aided by the acquisition of a number of local breweries in the early 1900s. In 1962, it was purchased by the Canadian brewing firm Carling-O'Keefe Ltd, who embarked on a modernisation programme at the brewery. In 1987, Elders IXL purchased Canadian Breweries (incorporating Carling-O'Keefe). In 1995, Elders sold the brewery to Scottish and Newcastle.
In December 2008 it was announced that the Beamish & Crawford brewery was to close in March 2009 with the loss of 120 jobs. The production was moved to the nearby Heineken Brewery (previously Murphy's), with about 40 of the Beamish staff moved to Heineken.
The brewery buildings (including the Tudor fronted "counting house") are still situated in the heart of Cork's medieval city, close to the site of the city's South Gate.
Prior to the takeover and closure of the brewery, key products included:
- Beamish stout is Beamish and Crawford's flagship product, now brewed by Heineken at the Murphy's brewery.
- Beamish Red was a sweetish ale, made to resemble Kilkenny or Murphy's Irish Red. Production ceased immediately following the takeover. Several Cork pubs which once stocked Beamish Red replaced it with Franciscan Well Rebel Red.
In addition to their own produce, Beamish and Crawford brewed and distributed a number of internationally known brands of beer, with the Irish franchises for Fosters, Kronenbourg 1664 and Miller. Fosters has remained with the new owners, while Miller was transferred to a new distributor, importing the beer from SABMiller's Netherlands brewery.
- R. Protz, Classic Stout & Porter, London: Prion, 1997, p. 61
- Cork Heritage – Commercial Buildings – Beamish and Crawford
- Irish Examiner – Heineken calls time on Beamish abroad – March 30, 2009
- Cork City and County Archives
- ireland.com – Breaking News – Beamish to change hands in S&N deal
- Heineken to close historic Beamish & Crawford brewery
- Irish-Architecture.com – Cork – Beamish & Crawford Brewery, Cork
- Barkeeper – Carlsberg USA to distribute Beamish stateside
- Irish Examiner – Heineken calls time on Beamish abroad – 18 June 2009