Cairnes Ltd. - A Romance of the Brewing Industry

A message from Cairnes Brewery from 1939:

"Beside the storied River Boyne, in the historic, but progressive town of Drogheda in the County Louth, stands the extensive Brewery of CAIRNES LIMITED, far-famed for its ales and stouts.

Old in years, but modern and up-to-date in its methods, this brewing business has truly "moved with the times". One of the original pioneer firms of the brewing industry, the beginnings of "Cairnes Limited" date back to 1772 with the foundation of the Castlebellingham Brewery amidst ideal rural surroundings in the County of Louth. In 1825 Mr. Cairnes, who was related by marriage to the owners of the Castlebellingham Brewery, founded the brewery at Drogheda, though not until 1889 were the interests of the firms pooled. For years subsequent to this date the two breweries were worked independently, each supplying its own customers throughout Ireland and abroad.

The ale was very popular in America as this poster shows

In 1923 it was considered advisable to concentrate brewing operations at Drogheda owing to its more advantageous position, commercially, and as the brewing plant and premises there were more extensive. Actually the brewing plant of Cairnes Ltd. is one of the most up-to-date in Ireland and compares very favourably with that of breweries in the neighbouring island. The premises have grown with the years, they have been extended and modernised, yet combining in their "romance of industry" the mellowness of Yesterday with the progressiveness of today.

There are two supplies of water to the brewery. One is from the famous Tubberboice Spring, the property of the company, situated about two miles from the town of Drogheda. The other is from a deep Artesian well, bored some years ago at great expense, in the Brewery yard. The special properties of these springs help to produce the Company's far-famed Ales and Stouts, and with the best ingredients in finest of malted barley and hops, they combine to give to CAIRNES ALES their particular "sparkle", "verve" and "body" in a word, their charm and their strength.

Cairnes Ales have been the subject of hosts of testimonials as their qualities, at home and abroad, and they are worthy upholders of the great name Ireland fitly earned in the word of brewing.

the famous Stingo Ale
It s wonderful to see pioneers in any industry still "going strong" in these days of keen competition, amalgamations, monopolies - and, not least, heavy taxation - more particularly when unaided by tariffs and quotas as is the case of the Irish Brewing Industry. So one must admire this long-established concern. What changes it has seen in the 167 years since its inception at Castlebellingham! Today it goes forward, proudly, to add fresh laurels to the name of CAIRNES LIMITED and the fame of their products, those ales and stouts of which even Charles Lever and Thackeray wrote and enthused in the long ago, and which, now, as then, fill the connoisseur with the joy of having found perfection."

The brewery on the Marsh Rd, Drogheda


  1. Love this blog.

  2. It's really an informative and well described post regarding beer tax. I appreciate your topic for blogging. Thanks for sharing such a useful post.

  3. I have an old 1/2 pint bottle from the brewery. Any interest to anyone?

    1. Hi there,

      if you still have the bottle I would be willing to buy it.

      All the best

    2. Hi bottle still available? Thanks

  4. Can you get it up to the museum?