Cork has long been a centre for brewing and distilling – with famous brands and a worldwide reputation, going back to the 19th century, of exporting our best beers, ales, whiskeys and gins to the four corners of the world.
In recent years, the city and county has seen a renaissance in the art of brewing and small-scale distilling, a reviving of a tradition which is centuries old, but now very much of the moment.
However, if you visit a pub or café in Cork and you wish to drink like a local, two of our longest-standing beer brands, family names which are known all over the world, are the classic Cork stouts brewed by Murphy’s and Beamish & Crawford – you will find them in any respectable pub in Cork, and they represent the authentic taste of the City & County.
Order a “pint of Beamish, please” in any pub in Cork and you are following in a tradition that harks back to 1792, when local merchants Richard Beamish & Richard Crawford established the famous Beamish & Crawford brewery, on the river in the heart of Cork city.
Beamish has been the stout of choice for city-folk, especially, since it was first brewed in Cork in the late 18th century. A dark stout with a distinctive rich-roasted flavour and dark, chocolaty undertones. It’s a true Cork classic.
The more globally famous stout of the pair, some say it’s sweeter tasting, a testament to the sweet tooth of James J. Murphy, who founded the brewery in Cork in 1856.
A rather racy legend says that the family fortune started with the famous beauty Marie Louisa Murphy, known to French society as “La Belle Morphise”, who became a mistress of King Louis XV of France in the 1750s. Marie-Louise was said to have borne the king a daughter, and was granted a huge pension from the grateful monarch. As the story goes, some of that fortune made its way back, through her descendants, to Cork, to fund the brewery that bears the Murphy family name.
So if you are drinking a pint of Murphy’s you might raise your glass to the memory of the Irish woman who won a King, La Belle Morphise.