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|Type||Irish red ale|
|Country of origin||Ireland|
|Variants||Kilkenny Cream Ale|
The Smithwick's brewery was founded in Kilkenny in 1710. It was acquired by Guinness in 1965, which is now part of Diageo. The Kilkenny brewery was shut down in 2013 and all Smithwick's and Kilkenny branded beers are now brewed in Dublin, while parts of the old brewery are now a "visitor experience"
Smithwick's Brewery was founded by John Smithwick in 1710. The brewery is situated on the site of a Franciscan abbey, where monks had brewed ale since the 14th century, and ruins of the original abbey still remain on its grounds. The old brewery has since been renovated and now hosts "The Smithwick's Experience Kilkenny" visitor attraction and centre. At the time of its closure, it was Ireland's oldest operating brewery.
John Smithwick was an orphan who had settled in Kilkenny. Shortly after his arrival, Smithwick went into the brewing business with Richard Cole on a piece of land that Cole had leased from the Duke of Ormond in 1705. Five years later, John Smithwick became the owner of the land. The brewery stayed small, servicing a loyal local following while John Smithwick diversified.
Following John Smithwick's death, the brewery temporarily fell out of family hands. John Smithwick's great grandson, Edmond bought the brewery land back freehold and worked to reshape its future. Edmond concentrated on discovering new markets and successfully building export trade. Drinkers in England, Scotland and Wales developed a taste for Smithwick's brews and output increased fivefold.
As a result of substantial contributions made to St Mary's Cathedral, Edmond became great friends with Irish liberal Daniel O'Connell, who later became godfather to one of his sons. Edmond Smithwick became well known and respected by the people of Kilkenny who elected him town mayor four times.
In 1800, export sales began to fall and the brewing industry encountered difficulty. To combat this, the Smithwick family increased production in their maltings, began selling mineral water and delivered butter with the ale from the back of their drays.
By 1900, output was at an all-time low and the then owner James Smithwick was advised by auditors to shut the doors of the brewery. Instead, James reduced the range of beers they produced and set out to find new markets. He secured military contracts and soon after saw output increase again. James' son, Walter, took control in 1930 and steered the brewery to success through the hardships of both World War II and increasingly challenging weather conditions. By January 1950, Smithwick's was exporting ale to Boston.
Smithwick's was purchased from Walter Smithwick in 1965 by Guinness and is now, along with Guinness, part of Diageo. Together, Guinness & Co. and Smithwick's developed and launched Smithwick's Draught Ale in 1966. By 1979, half a million barrels were sold each year.
In 1980, Smithwick's began exporting to France. In 1993, Smithwick's Draught became Canada's leading imported ale.
By 2010, Smithwick's continued to be brewed in Dundalk and Kilkenny with tankers sent to Dublin to be kegged for the on trade market. Cans and bottles were packaged by IBC in Belfast.
Production in the Kilkenny brewery finished on 31 December 2013 and Smithwicks brands are now produced in the Diageo St.James' Gate brewery in Dublin.
Official Smithwick's videos give the pronunciation as //. Due to the differing accent and dialects of Ireland, it is generally pronounced //, //, // or // there but never // or //. When ordering in the US, // or // is preferred, while // is the most prevalent pronunciation in Canada.
"In the Old Kilkenny Review, year unknown, Peter Smithwick, K.M., Solicitor, wrote that the tradition of Kilkenny is that Sullivan's Brewery was founded in 1702 ... Daniel Sullivan, allegedly a Protestant, bought the property in trust for Pierse Bryan of Jenkinstown, who was Catholic but prohibited by the Penal Laws from buying land ... Twenty years later a Protestant informer got a decree declaring himself the owner of the property ... The property was on the West side of High Street, 'standing backward in James' Street.' It is believed that this was the site of Sullivan's Brewery, the forerunner of Smithwicks."
- Smithwick's Draught is an Irish red ale and as the style suggests, has a red tone. It is produced using hops and roasted, malted barley. In 2004, Diageo PLC began distribution in the USA. Smithwick's had previously been marketed in Canada.
- Kilkenny Irish Cream Ale is similar to Smithwick's Draught; however, it has a cream head similar to Guinness, and it has a stronger and more bitter taste than Smithwick's. The Kilkenny name was originally used during the '80s and '90s to market a stronger version of Smithwick's for the European and Canadian market due to local difficulty in pronunciation of the word "Smithwick's", but it now refers to a similar yet distinctly different beer.
- Smithwick's Pale Ale was launched in 2011. The ale is made of pale ale malt, traditional Smithwick's yeast and Amarillo hops and has an ABV of 4.5%.
- "Kilkenny brewery set to be distilled into €3m visitor centre". 11 June 2013. Retrieved 17 March 2017.
- Diageo – Smithwicks
- "Smithwick's Ireland YouTube". Retrieved 25 December 2014.
- <While dining in the Restaurant Pierre Gilbaud, Lower Baggot St., Dublin, with then-US Ambassador to Ireland Jean Kennedy Smith, I asked her to attempt to obtain for me a piece titled "The Sullivans of Kilkenny." She was gracious enough to put her staff to work and forwarded the piece as partially quoted above.>