Tuesday 23 April 2019

Last orders for Beamish as row over site brews

Ralph Riegel

TIME will finally be called on Ireland's oldest brewing site today when Beamish & Crawford closes its doors after almost three centuries.

The remaining staff -- who now number less than a dozen -- are openly emotional at the closure of one of Cork's most famous operations.

Beamish was purchased last year by Dutch brewing giant Heineken, and the decision was announced last Christmas to consolidate all brewing operations at Heineken's site on the opposite side of Cork city.

Production of Beamish's core products has already been shifted to Heineken's former Murphy's brewery.

Last night, Heineken corporate affairs manager, Declan Farmer, said that Beamish's proud legacy would live on through its brands.

Mr Farmer paid tribute to Beamish workers for their vast contribution to the brand.

He also presented the Beamish archives from the 1700s to Cork city archivist Brian McGee.

"The legacy of Beamish and Crawford will always be with us underpinned by the very exciting plans for the future," Mr Farmer said.

More than 130 jobs were lost as a result of the consolidation -- and a battle has now erupted over the fate of Beamish's historic brewery site on South Main Street.

Heineken had been urged to consider a proposal to transform the historic site in Cork into a heritage centre and micro-brewery.

Brewing at the Beamish site can be traced back to the 17th Century and its mock-Tudor counting house is a protected structure.

The National Conservation and Heritage Group (NCHG) argued that the existing Beamish site offers an opportunity to create a tourism-heritage complex similar to the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin.

But Heineken has since indicated it intends to sell the site on the commercial market, effectively ruling out a heritage-style development.

The Lord Mayor of Cork, Cllr Brian Bermingham (FG), had endorsed proposals for a heritage or tourism complex at the Beamish site, stressing that its city centre location would be ideal.

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