A Brief History of Australia’s Oldest Breweries
There are a lot of stories and history around beer and other alcohol, from the histories of your favourite drinks, to the stories of how
common pubs and bars were built, to how all of the other countries and nations of the world handle beer and alcohol.
Easily one of the best ways that you can explore the stories of a nation’s beer is to travel around the area and look at some of the oldest breweries. These are the places that have stood the test of time, and they are the places that you need to learn about, and also places that you need to go to!
Here’s where to start if you want to travel around Australia and start to sample the beers they have on offer!
The Cascade Brewery
This brewery is special for a few reasons. For starters, it is one of the oldest breweries in Australia and it was established in 1824, and it is still in operation today. It’s over 200 years old and it is still operating today.
The Cascade Brewery has various premium range beers available on tap, as well as other Pale Ales and stouts. Along with the Tasmanian range of beers that are only available in Tasmania where the beer is located.
For example, you will find the Cascade Draught which is the full strength lager and is also Tasmania’s best selling beer. Additionally, you might even find the rare Cascade Export Stout, which is filled with strong flavors. They also have quite a few beers that take advantage of spectrum’s impact on the brewing process.
The Cascade Brewery has quite a story behind it, filled with betrayal, crime, family squabbles, and a lot of good beer over its 200 year history. So don’t be afraid to stop in and experience the beers and the history!
Castlemaine Perkins Brewery
The Castlemaine Perkins Brewery is the home of the famous XXX Bitter beer, and with a name like that, you know that it needs to be a strong drink that will knock your socks off. It was bought in 1877 by two brothers, and plenty of different beers have been made at this location. The brewery is still active today, and it has won numerous awards.
For example, it features in the ‘Drink, Smoke, and Gamble’ section of the State Library of Queensland, and it was also named one of the QI50 Icons as part of Queensland’s 150th birthday celebrations in 2009.
It is a wonderful brewery that is something that will always be a part of Queensland History, and a place that you need to go to. They make wonderful beers with both old and new methods, and they know how to make the drinks that you will keep coming back for.
The Swan Brewery
While it turned into a brewing company over the years, it was once beside the Swan River in Australia, and was named not for the river, but for the common sight of black swans seen on the river. The man who built the brewery, Frederick Sherwood, had built the brewery on the river for a source of easy water, and hired prisoners to be cheap labor.
In the 1900’s, the Swan Brewery began taking over some of the other breweries in the area (including the Castlemaine Brewery) and now operates under the umbrella of the Lion Nathan Corporation. The old building that used to be the Swan Brewery is now a microbrewery that continues to serve out most of the drinks that they were famous for.
Honorable Mention: James Squire
This man isn’t a brewery, but without his story, the above breweries wouldn’t exist! James Squire was an Englishman who found himself repeatedly in trouble with the law, and was eventually sent to Australia on a convict ship. Of course, old habits die hard and he was arrested within a year for stealing hops to brew beer!
While he managed to escape execution, he was able to get a plot of land and start growing those hops and he would make them into beer.
After ten years of hard work, the Governor King of Australia gave him the title of Australia’s first and finest brewer. James would later become a district constable as well.
You can learn more about James Squire and his impact on the world of beer at Squire’s Landing, which shares his story as well as some of the finest brews you can find. It might not be the oldest brewery, but it is a part of the history of how beer came to Australia!
Don’t be afraid to learn the stories behind the people and the locations that make some of Australia’s best beers! Because it will make every beer you down taste all the sweeter!