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Beamish and Crawford

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Title: Beamish and Crawford  
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Subject: Scottish & Newcastle, In the news/Candidates/May 2009, Cork (city), Cork Local Government Review, Éamonn Grimes
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Beamish and Crawford

Beamish and Crawford
Industry Alcoholic beverage
Founded 1792
Founder William Beamish and William Crawford
Headquarters Cork, Ireland
Area served
Ireland and USA
Products Beer
Owner Heineken International

Beamish and Crawford, and its flagship Beamish stout product, is a brewing brand associated with Cork, in Ireland. Established in 1792 by William Beamish and William Crawford on the site of an existing porter brewery,[1] Beamish and Crawford operated until 2009. As the longest-established brewery in the city, the brewery had a number of owners over the centuries, including Carling O'Keefe, Elders IXL, Scottish & Newcastle and, most recently, Heineken International.[2][3] While the original Beamish and Crawford brewery was closed in 2009, Beamish products are still manufactured in the city at a nearby Heineken operated facility.[4]


The Counting House, part of the brewery complex in central Cork, Ireland

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).[2] 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.[5]

Beamish Stout, 1919 advert for the noted Cork brewers

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 & Newcastle.

With the 2008 takeover of Scottish & Newcastle, the brewery passed into the hands of its main Cork-based rival Heineken International.[6]

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.[4][7]

The brewery buildings (including the Tudor fronted "counting house")[8] are still situated in the heart of Cork's medieval city, close to the site of the city's South Gate. The original brewery facilities are subject to planning permission for use as a visitor and events centre.[9]


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.

In 2009, after just over two years of being reintroduced to the US market,[10] owners Heineken decided to stop distribution of Beamish products outside Ireland.[11]


  1. ^ R. Protz, Classic Stout & Porter, London: Prion, 1997, p. 61
  2. ^ a b Cork Heritage – Commercial Buildings – Beamish and Crawford
  3. ^ Irish Examiner – Heineken calls time on Beamish abroad – March 30, 2009
  4. ^ a b "Heineken to close historic Beamish & Crawford brewery". Irish Times. 2008. 
  5. ^ Cork City and County Archives
  6. ^ – Breaking News – Beamish to change hands in S&N deal
  7. ^ "Heineken calls time on historic Beamish brewery". Irish Independent. 5 December 2008. 
  8. ^ – Cork – Beamish & Crawford Brewery, Cork
  9. ^ "Council plans to compulsorily buy Beamish and Crawford brewery site". Irish Examiner. 31 October 2014. 
  10. ^ Barkeeper – Carlsberg USA to distribute Beamish stateside
  11. ^ Irish Examiner – Heineken calls time on Beamish abroad – 18 June 2009
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