Castlemaine XXXX Draft Lager ‘The Aussie cricket XI wouldn’t give a XXXX for any other lager’ Ian Botham Poster


In 1871 M. Quinlan and N. Donnelly formed Quinlan, Donnelly & Co., and traded as general merchants and shipping agents. They started with modest capital, but business quickly expanded with the development of the rich pastoral, farming and mining districts of Queens­land.

By the late 1870s the business had become quite substantial, and the partners considered opening a brewery in Brisbane. They began negotiations with the Fitzgerald brothers, Edward and Nicholas, of the well-known Castlemaine Brewery in Victoria, a wise choice for a partner since Castlemaine breweries were already successfully established in Castlemaine, and also in Melbourne, Sydney and Newcastle.

Meanwhile, there were changes to the Quinlan & Donnelly partnership. Donnelly had sold out to Quinlan, who died soon after, and his widow, Kate, took in George Gray as a partner. They traded as Quinlan & Gray, and went ahead with the brewery proposal. In 1877 Fitzgerald, Quinlan & Co. was formed. The partners were Edward and Nicholas Fitzgerald of Victoria, Robert Prendergast of Sydney, and Kate Quinlan and George Gray of Brisbane. The newly-formed company purchased the Milton Distillery (established in 1870) from Robert Forsyth in September 1877, and they built the Castlemaine Brewery on land adjoining the distillery.

The first batch of beer was ready for sale on 13 September 1878. It was called Castlemaine XXX Sparkling Ale, and was described by the Brisbane Courier as ‘a delicious ale of the brightest amber, pleasant to the taste’. The company’s advertisement read: ‘Ale and Porter, equal in general quality to the famed Castlemaine Ale so popular for many years in the southern colonies’.

In 1880 the company was the first in Queensland to install a telephone line, which linked their brewery at the suburb of Milton to their city offices in Queen Street. The business, frequently referred to as the Milton Brewery in the early years, was highly successful, and on 5 August 1887 the Castlemaine Brewery & Quinlan, Gray & Co. (Brisbane) Ltd was incorporated, with shares being oversubscribed by 60 per cent. The new company, generally called the Castlemaine Brewery for simplicity, acquired the assets of two businesses: Fitzgerald, Quinlan & Co., which owned the brewery, and the well-established wine-and-spirit business of Quinlan & Gray. In 1888 the Milton Distillery, which had operated alongside the brewery for ten years, was closed.

In 1889 the Castlemaine Brewery became the first brewery in Queensland to produce lager beer, which retailed for sixpence per bottle. In 1893 the Phoenix Brewing Co. Ltd in Chester Street and the liquidated Bulimba Ferry Brewery were purchased and closed. On 3 December 1894 the well-known XXXX trade mark was applied for.

After surviving the financial crisis of the 1890s and the disastrous flood that followed, the company decided to off-load its general trading business in 1914 and to concentrate on brewing and the wine-and-spirit agencies it had acquired over the years.

During 1916 the continental method of storage was adopted. Instead of three weeks’ storage, three months became standard, resulting in improvement in the quality of the beer. Castlemaine XXX Sparkling Ale had been in production since the company first started in 1878, and in 1916 an extra X was added and XXXX Sparkling Ale was put on the market. The famous Castlemaine XXXX Bitter Ale, with a yellow label, the name in red, and a picture of the brewery in the background, was first introduced in February 1924, and the label style has continued with little change since that time.

1 August 1928 marked the formation of Queens­land’s largest brewery, Castlemaine Perkins Ltd, with the takeover of Perkins & Co. City Brewery Brisbane by the Castle­maine Brewery & Quinlan, Gray & Co. (Brisbane) Ltd. 

The new company was listed on all eastern states stock exchanges, and the acquisition of Perkins & Co. included their two breweries, the City Brewery in Mary Street, Brisbane, and the Downs Brewery at Toowoomba. Included in the purchase agreement was the trade of nineteen freehold hotels and fifty leasehold hotels. The City Brewery was closed, but the Downs Brewery continued to operate at Toowoomba until 1958.

In November 1979 Castlemaine Perkins Ltd merged its operations with those of the Sydney-based brewer, Toohey’s Ltd, to form Castlemaine Tooheys Ltd. Six years later, in August 1985, the new company was taken over by Bond Corporation Holdings Ltd, owner of the Swan Brewery in Perth, and the business then traded as Bond Brewing Queensland Ltd. The company then owned the Swan Brewery in Perth, Toohey’s Brewery in Sydney, and Castlemaine Perkins Brewery in Brisbane. All of these breweries were taken over from Bond Corporation by the New Zealand brewer, Lion Nathan, in October 1990.

Another change of ownership took place on 21 October 2009 when the Japanese company, Kirin Holdings Co. Ltd acquired all the assets of Lion Nathan. Irrespective of the changes in ownership, Castlemaine XXXX Bitter Ale remains one of Australia’s most popular beers and the name and product are very much a part of Queensland’s heritage. XXXX Gold, a spinoff brand, is now (2023) the largest selling Australian beer brand by volume.


This is a fantastic Australian brewery poster to compliment any wall. These prints
are highly collectable and a refreshing way to bring colour and verve onto any wall.
Our high quality art prints come professionally printed on art paper stock which
allows for a vivid image with exceptional colour vibrance and print quality. You will
not be disappointed with the quality and workmanship. We have an extensive
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