The Perkins brothers moved to Queensland, after trying to make a ‘go’ down south, and built the Downs Brewery at Toowoomba in 1868. The business prospered, and Paddy went to Brisbane several years later, becoming involved in real estate, hotels and politics. Eager to expand their brewing interests into the large Brisbane market, in 1872 the brothers purchased the brewery of Stanbridge & Harrison, founded in 1869; they traded as Perkins & Co. City Brewery.
With their successful Downs Brewery at Toowoomba, and an already-established brewery in Brisbane, the brothers held a virtual monopoly in the beer trade for the whole of Queensland. There were no other breweries in Brisbane at that time, and only two others in country Queensland, both at Gympie. William Gooley was the manager of the City Brewery in 1876, and in the ensuing years he had much to do with the growth and success of the business. Included in their range of products was the popular Perkins XXX Bitter Ale.
Thomas Perkins died in 1879. Two years later the business was floated as Perkins & Co. Ltd. Paddy retained 25 per cent of the shareholding, and the breweries at Toowoomba and Brisbane were extensively upgraded. New brands of ale were released including Carbine Stout and by 1885 the City Brewery was arguably the largest and most profitable in Queensland. However, the depression years of the 1890s seriously affected the business, causing the company to be wound up and reconstructed in 1894.
Gradually trade and profit improved, and by 1901 the company was operating depots at Cairns, Townsville, Bowen, Mackay, Rockhampton and Bundaberg along the east coast. Inland, depots were located at Winton, Barcaldine, Charleville and Cunnamulla. Business was booming for the City Brewery, and a record was achieved for the month of December 1905 when the output of bottled beer reached 276,000 bottles.
By the 1920s business began to decline again. Fierce competition from the popular Castlemaine XXXX Bitter Ale contributed to the fall-off in sales, and Perkins City Brewery tried to upstage their competitor by putting out a XXXXX beer. On 1 August 1928 Perkins & Co. Ltd was taken over by the Castlemaine Brewery & Quinlan, Gray & Co. (Brisbane) Ltd. Carbine Stout was retained by the new company.