Although the Swan Brewery commenced in 1857, the acquisition of the Emu Brewery in 1928 gave the company a lineage that dated back to 1837 when it had been founded by James Stokes as the Albion Brewery. It changed to the Stanley Brewery in 1848, and to the Emu Brewery in 1909.
On 7 September 1887 the Swan Brewery Co. Ltd was floated on the Melbourne stock exchange. The new company now owned the brewery and several cottages, all on 5 acres of land facing the Swan River. It also owned hotels and other freeholds, and had absolute rights to supply its ale to twenty-four hotels.
Much of the company’s expansion was due to acquisitions. The Lion Brewery was taken over on 25 May 1888, the Castlemaine Brewery, Fremantle, in 1927, and the Emu in 1928. The Kalgoorlie Brewing & Ice Co. Ltd was acquired in February 1945, giving Swan a strategic base to the east. By the end of 1932 Swan owned fifty-two hotels; and by the late 1960s the company owned more than 120 hotels spread throughout the state.
Following the acquisition of the Redcastle Brewery in 1951, Swan changed the name of that brewery to the Stirling Brewery Ltd, and began marketing Stirling Lager, while retaining Redcastle Stout.
On 18 March 1978 the first bottles of beer rolled off the line at Swan’s newly completed brewery and packaging plant at the Perth suburb of Canningvale. The Emu Brewery continued to operate until 1980. On 1 April 1982 the Swan Brewery became a subsidiary of Bond Corporation Holdings Ltd, changing to Bond Brewing W.A. Ltd in June 1987. In October 1990 the New Zealand-based Lion Nathan group acquired the interests of all the Bond breweries: Swan in Perth, the Castlemaine Brewery in Brisbane, and Toohey’s in Sydney.
Australian cricketer Rod Marsh who learnt his cricketing basics during innumerable backyard Tests with his elder brother, Graham, who was later to become an outstanding professional golfer. Both represented the state at schoolboy level before pursuing careers in their chosen sport. Graham features on this poster.
On 21 October 2009, the Japanese company Kirin Holdings Co. Ltd took over all the assets of Lion Nathan, including the Swan Brewery. The business continued to produce the same popular brands of Swan beers. In 2012 Lion Nathan (Kirin) announced that it would cease its brewing operations in Canning Vale and transfer production interstate.