In late 18th century Ireland, large quantities of of porter were being imported from England while none was being produced in the country.
In 1792 Richard Beamish and Arthur Crawford seized the opportunity of getting into the porter brewing business. The two men formed a partnership and bought an old brewery in Cramer’s Lane, Cork. The brewery was situated in the heart of what was the medieval city. Originally one of the old city gates stood nearby, as did the Cork jail. In fact a stone from the jail, upon which the severed heads of the executed prisoners used to be displayed, stood outside the counting house door at the brewery.
Beamish & Crawfords’ Cork Porter Brewery prospered and by 1805 it had become the largest brewery in Ireland. The production or porter had grown from 12,000 barrels a year in 1792 to a staggering 100,000 barrels a year in 1805.
In 1901 the business was incorporated as a limited company and began a period of expansion, acquiring a number of local breweries in the early 1900s.
Between 1920 and 1960 the products of the brewery were stout, porter and ale. Ale brewing was phased out from 1929 following a decline in demand as a consequence of the withdrawal of British troops from Ireland.
In 1962 Beamish & Crawford Ltd. were taken over by Canadian brewer Carling O’Keefe Ltd. In 1987 Elders IXL purchased Canadian Breweries, which included Beamish & Crawford. In 1995 Elders sold the brewery to Scottish & Newcastle. Following the takeover of Scottish & Newcastle, the brewery passed into the hands of its main Cork-based rival Heineken International.