Beer in Wales

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The SA Brain Brewery in Cardiff: the largest brewery in Wales

Welsh beer is beer brewed in Wales.


At least as early as the 6th century, the Druidic legendary person Ceridwen is associated with cauldrons and intoxicating preparations of grain in herbs in many poems of Taliesin, particularly the Hanes Taliesin. This preparation, Gwîn a Bragawd, is said to have brought "science, inspiration and immortality".[1]

The Welsh Triads attribute the introduction of brewing grains barley and wheat to Coll, and name Llonion in Pembrokeshire as the source of the best barley, while Maes Gwenith in Gwent produces superior wheat and bees.[2]

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle for 852 records a distinction between "fine ale" and Welsh ale, also called bragawd.[3] Bragawd, also called braggot, is somewhat between mead and what we today think of as ale. Saxon-period Welsh ale was a heady, strong beverage, made with spices such as cinnamon, ginger and clove as well as herbs and honey. Bragawd was often prepared in monasteries, with Tintern Abbey and the Friary of Carmarthen producing the beverage until Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries in 1536.[4]

In the Laws of Hywel Dda, meanwhile, a distinction is drawn between bragawd and cwrwf, with bragawd being worth twice as much. Bragawd in this context is a fermented drink based on cwrwf to which honey, sweet wort, and ginger have been added.

Welsh beer is noted as a distinct style as late as 1854, with a recipe made solely from pale malt and hops described in a recipe book of the time.[5]

Wales, along with the rest of Britain, came under the influence of the temperance movement, along with a burgeoning Welsh moral code based on Presbyterian and other Non-conformist beliefs in relation to alcohol. This rested against a background of places where there has historically been a lot of heavy industry such as coal mining in south Wales and the north east.[citation needed] This has given some people[who?] the impression that all Welsh beers have been very weak. However, as with beers all over Britain, alcohol percentages vary.

Wrexham was one of the first places in the UK to brew lager.[6] Homesick German immigrant brothers from Saxony started the process in 1882. Its demise came in 2000, when the site of Wrexham Lager was sold and subsequently demolished.

Investment by the Welsh Development Agency has helped establish a large number of breweries in Wales in recent years.[7][8]

In the 1930s, Felinfoel Brewery was the first brewery outside the US to sell beer in cans.[9]

Welsh local historian Deiniol ap Dafydd claims Arthur Guinness used a Welsh recipe from Llanfairfechan near Bangor for his stout[10]

In 2012 CAMRA correctly predicted that 'The number of microbreweries in Wales is set to carry on rising as the pub industry deals with continued closures'.[11]

Tiny Rebel brewery won CAMRA's 2015 Supreme Champion Beer of Britain for its Cwtch Welsh Red Ale.[12]

List of Welsh breweries[edit]

Brewers in Wales
Brewery Town County Since
Axiom Brewing Company[13][14] Wrexham Clwyd 2014
Big Bog Brewing Company[15] Waunfawr Gwynedd 2011
Big Hand Brewing[16] Wrexham Clwyd 2013
Bluestone Brewing[17][18] Newport Pembrokeshire 2013
Borough Brewery[19][20] Neath West Glamorgan 2014
Boss Brewing[21][22][23] Swansea West Glamorgan 2015
Bragdy Lleu[24][25] Penygroes Gwynedd 2007
Bragdy Nant Brewery[26] Llanrwst Clwyd 2007
Brains Brewery[18][26] Cardiff South Glamorgan 1882
Brecon Brewing[22][27] Brecon Powys 2011
Breconshire Brewery[26] Brecon Powys 2002
Bryncelyn Brewery[26] Ystalyfera West Glamorgan 1999
Bullmastiff Brewery[26][28] Cardiff South Glamorgan 1987
Buzzard Brewery[29] Llandyrnog Clwyd 2012
Cader Ales
(Cwrw Cader)[30]
Dolgellau Gwynedd 2013
Caffle Brewery[31][32] Narberth Dyfed 2013
Castles Brewery[33] Portskewett Gwent 2013
Celt Experience[26][34][35] Caerphilly Gwent 2007
Cerddin Brewery[36] Maesteg Mid Glamorgan 2010
Coles Family Brewery[26][37] Llanddarog Carmarthenshire 1999
Conwy Brewery[18][26][38] Llysfaen Clwyd 2003
Crafty Devil[18] Cardiff South Glamorgan 2014
Cwm Rhondda Ales[39] Treorchy Mid Glamorgan 2015
Cwrw Iâl Community Brewing Company[18] Eryrys Clwyd 2013
Cwrw Llŷn[40][41] Pwllheli Gwynedd 2011
Cwrw Ogwen Bethesda, Gwynedd Gwynedd 2017
Cych Valley Ales[42] Abercych Pembrokeshire 2012
Denbigh Brewery
(Bragdy Dinbych)[43]
Denbigh Clwyd 2012
Deva Craft Beer[14] Deeside Flintshire 2015
Erddig Brewery[14][44][45] Wrexham Clwyd 2014
Evan Evans[18] Llandeilo Dyfed 2004
Facer’s Flintshire Brewery[26][35][45] Flint Mountain Clwyd 2006
Felinfoel Brewery[26][46] Felinfoel Dyfed 1878
The Friends Arms Brewery[47] Carmarthen Dyfed 2011
Geipel Brewing[18] Llangwm Denbighshire 2013
Glamorgan Brewing[30] Llantrisant Mid Glamorgan 1994
Gower Brewery[16][18][35][48] Oldwalls Swansea 2011
Great Orme Brewery[18][26] Llandudno Clwyd 2009
Grey Trees Brewery[22][35] Aberaman Mid Glamorgan 2011
Gwaun Valley Brewery[26][49] Fishguard Dyfed 2009
Gwynant Brewery[26][50] Aberystwyth Dyfed 2004
Hafod Brewing Company[51][52] Mold Clwyd 2012
Handmade Beer Company[18] Capel Dewi Dyfed 2013
Heart of Wales Brewery[26][53] Llanwrtyd Wells Powys 2007
Heavy Industry Brewing[16][22][38][54] Henllan Denbighshire 2012
Hopcraft - Pixie Spring Brewing[55] Pontyclun Mid Glamorgan 2013
Hurns Brewing Company Swansea Glamorgan 2002
Jacobi Brewery of Caio[26][35] Pumsaint Carmarthenshire 2007
Kingstone Brewery[18][26] Tintern Gwent 2006
Llangollen Brewery[56][57] Llangollen Denbighshire 2010
McGivern Ales[26][58] Ruabon Clwyd 2009
Monty’s Brewery[18][22][30] Montgomery Powys 2009
Mountain Hare Brewery[18] Pencoed Mid Glamorgan 2013
Mumbles Brewery[18][35] Swansea Glamorgan 2013
Neath Ales[18] Neath West Glamorgan 2010
Otley Brewing Company[18][26][30][35] Pontypridd Mid Glamorgan 2005
Pen-lon Cottage Brewery[18][26] New Quay Ceredigion 2004
Pipes[18] Cardiff South Glamorgan 2008
Plassey Brewery[26][59] Bangor-on-Dee Clwyd 1985
Preseli Brewery[26][60] Tenby Dyfed 2010
Purple Moose Brewery[14][18][22][30][35] Porthmadog Gwynedd 2005
Radnorshire Ales[18] New Radnor Powys 2012
Redstone Brewery[61] Llangors Powys 2013
Rotters Brewery[18] Talgarth Powys 2010
Rhymney Brewery[18][26] Blaenavon Gwent 2005
Sandstone Brewery[26][62] Wrexham Clwyd 2009
Seren Brewing[63][64] Rosebush Pembrokeshire 2013
Snowdonia Brewery
(Bragdy Eryri)[18][26]
Waunfawr Gwynedd 2004
Surfing Monkey Brewery[65] Cardiff South Glamorgan 2015
Swansea Brewery[18] Swansea Swansea 1996
Tiny Rebel Brewing Co.[12][18][35] Rogerstone Newport 2012
Tomos & Lilford Brewery[18][66] Llantwit Major South Glamorgan 2014
Tomos Watkin
(trade name of Hurns Brewing Company)
Swansea West Glamorgan 1996
Tudor Brewery[18][22][26][35] Llanhilleth Blaenau Gwent 2007
Untapped Brewing Company[16][18] Raglan Monmouthshire 2009
Vale of Glamorgan Brewery[18][35][67] Barry South Glamorgan 2005
Violet Cottage Brewery[18] Cardiff South Glamorgan 2012
Waen Brewery[16][18][35][54] Llanidloes Powys 2009
Warcop Ales[18][26][68] Wentlooge Newport 1999
Wild Horse Brewing[14][69][70] Llandudno Clwyd 2015
Wrexham Lager Wrexham Clwyd 2009
Zerodegrees[71][72] Cardiff South Glamorgan 2008

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Edward Davies (1809). The Mythology and Rites of the British Druids, Ascertained by National Documents. J. Booth. pp. 217–220. 
  2. ^ Red Book of Hergest 56, Peniarth MS 54 23
  3. ^ "that Wulfred should give the land of Sleaford to Meohamsted, and should send each year into the monastery sixty loads of wood, twelve loads of coal, six loads of peat, two tuns full of fine ale, two neats' carcases, six hundred loaves, and ten kilderkins of Welsh ale; one horse also each year, and thirty shillings, and one night's entertainment."
  4. ^ Brian Glover (2007). Brains: 125 Years. The Breedon Books Publishing Company Limited. ISBN 978-1-85983-606-4. 
  5. ^ Arnold James Cooley (1854). A Cyclopaedia of Six Thousand Practical Receipts, and Collateral Information. pp. 44–45. 
  6. ^ Brewers & Boozers Tour on Wrexham County Borough Council's website
  7. ^ Barry, Sion (18 December 2004). "Carreg brew is heading for Wales". Western Mail. 
  8. ^ "Much Cheer For Welsh Beer". Wales Business Insider November - December 2005. Insider Media Ltd. 
  9. ^ "Felinfoel Brewery beer can". Retrieved 23 December 2012. 
  10. ^ Cook, Jonathan (2000-03-12). "Wales claims Guinness as its invention". The Guardian. London. 
  11. ^ "Microbreweries 'the way forward' after 11 open in year". BBC. 
  12. ^ a b "Champion Beer of Britain". 
  13. ^ "The Axiom Brewing Co". 
  14. ^ a b c d e "North Wales micro-brewery explosion meets a thirst for real ales". Daily Post. 15 September 2015. 
  15. ^ "Home Page". 
  16. ^ a b c d e "SIBA Wales & West Region Beer Competition 2015". 
  17. ^ "Micro brewery wins business award". Pembrokeshire Herald. 16 June 2014. 
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af "24 cracking Welsh breweries whose beer you should sample as soon as you can". Wales online. 11 September 2014. 
  19. ^ "Borough Brewery Neath". 
  20. ^ "Borough Brewery a micro brewery with its heart in Neath". Welsh Country. 
  21. ^ "Home - Boss Brewing". 
  22. ^ a b c d e f g "CBOW Results 2016". gwbcf. 
  23. ^ "Meet the young woman making business success after launching a Swansea craft brewery". South Wales Evening Post. 13 August 2015. 
  24. ^ Design, Bilberry. "Bragdy Lleu". 
  25. ^ "Gwynedd's Successful Producers & Enterprises". Gwynedd Council. 19 February 2015. 
  26. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z "Welsh Assembly Inquiry into the Wine, Beer and Cider Industries" (PDF). February 2010. 
  27. ^ "Brecon Brewing". 
  28. ^ "Bullmastiff Brewery in conjunction with Website Designers Red Kite Digital Ltd launch new website". 
  29. ^ "Buzzard Brewery". 
  30. ^ a b c d e "Do you know your real ale from your craft beer?". BBC. 28 Aug 2015. 
  31. ^ "cafflebrewery". 
  32. ^ "Llawhaden brewery selected for London showcase". Western Telegraph. 1 August 2014. 
  33. ^ "Castles Brewery - A Regal Brew, Reserved For Royalty". 
  34. ^ "The Welsh brewery selling 1m bottles of beer". Telegraph. 
  35. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "CBOW 2015 Grand Champions". gwbcf. 
  36. ^ "Cerddin Brewery - Cross Inn - Real Welsh Ale - Carbon Friendly". 
  37. ^ "". 
  38. ^ a b "Hop to it: a craft beer tour of north Wales". The Guardian. 19 June 2015. 
  39. ^ "Welcome to Cwm Rhondda Ales". 
  40. ^ "Cwrw Llŷn Cyf – Llŷn Independent Brewery – Producers of real taste and legendary ales". 
  41. ^ "Cwrw Llyn: A brewery launched in a cowshed has become a 21st Century success". Wales Online. 17 February 2012. 
  42. ^ "country inn with good food and accommodation - Nags Head". 
  43. ^ "Bragdy Dinbych - Denbigh Brewery". 
  44. ^ "Fine Cask Ales - Guest Beers - Erddig Brewery, Wrexham". 
  45. ^ a b "The Glynne Arms commits to local Ales". Welsh Country. 
  46. ^ "Felinfoel Brewery - The oldest brewery in Wales". 
  47. ^ Beer in Wales on Facebook
  48. ^ "20 new jobs as Gower Brewery gets bigger". southwales-eveningpost. 
  49. ^ "Home". 
  50. ^ "The Tynllidiart Arms - Home". 
  51. ^ "Home". 
  52. ^ "The Beer List". Peldle Beer festival. February 2017. 
  53. ^ "Heart of Wales Brewery". 
  54. ^ a b "SIBA National Beer Competition 2016". SIBA. 
  55. ^ "Hopcraft Brewing". 
  56. ^ "Real ale from Llangollen Brewery North Wales". 
  57. ^ "Llangollen Brewery confident it has created 'perfect pint'". Daily Post. 20 July 2012. 
  58. ^ Ales, McGivern. "McGivern Ales". 
  59. ^ "The Plassey Micro Brewery". 
  60. ^ Beer in Wales on Facebook
  61. ^ "Locally crafted beer ... a great present! Redstone Brewery in Llangorse". talgarth. 17 December 2013. 
  62. ^ "Home". 
  63. ^ "Seren Brewing Co. - A Microbrewery in West Wales". 
  64. ^ "Why Brexit Could Mean Bad News for Your Favorite Beer". bravotv. 27 June 2016. 
  65. ^ Jenkins, Lee. "Cardiff Craft Brewery". 
  66. ^ "25th British Academy Cymru Awards". BAFTA Cymru. 
  67. ^ "Ever wanted to start your own brewery ?". Wales online. 16 February 2016. 
  68. ^ "Battle of the beer buffs". South Wales Argus. 18 November 2003. 
  69. ^ "Wild Horse Brewing Company". 
  70. ^ "Dave Faragher of Wild Horse Brewing". Business Wales. 6 January 2016. 
  71. ^ "Cardiff - Zerodegrees". 
  72. ^ "Top 10 craft beer pubs in Cardiff". the guardian. 14 October 2014. 

External links[edit]