The SA Brain Brewery in Cardiff: the second largest brewery in Wales.

Beer in Wales can be traced to the 6th century. Since the 2000s, there has been a growing microbrewery industry in Wales.


At least as early as the 6th century, the Druidic legendary person Ceridwen is associated with cauldrons and intoxicating preparations of grain in herbs in many poems of Taliesin, particularly the Hanes Taliesin. This preparation, Gwîn a Bragawd, is said to have brought "science, inspiration and immortality".[1]

The Welsh Triads attribute the introduction of brewing grains barley and wheat to Coll, and name Llonion in Pembrokeshire as the source of the best barley, while Maes Gwenith in Gwent produces superior wheat and bees.[2]

The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle for 852 records a distinction between "fine ale" and Welsh ale, also called bragawd.[3] Bragawd, also called braggot, is somewhat between mead and what we today think of as ale. Saxon-period Welsh ale was a heady, strong beverage, made with spices such as cinnamon, ginger and clove as well as herbs and honey. Bragawd was often prepared in monasteries, with Tintern Abbey and the Friary of Carmarthen producing the beverage until Henry VIII dissolved the monasteries in 1536.[4]

In the Laws of Hywel Dda, meanwhile, a distinction is drawn between bragawd and cwrwf, with bragawd being worth twice as much. Bragawd in this context is a fermented drink based on cwrwf to which honey, sweet wort, and ginger have been added.

Welsh beer is noted as a distinct style as late as 1854, with a recipe made solely from pale malt and hops described in a recipe book of the time.[5]

Wales, along with the rest of Britain, came under the influence of the temperance movement, along with a burgeoning Welsh moral code based on Presbyterian and other Non-conformist beliefs in relation to alcohol. This rested against a background of places where there has historically been a lot of heavy industry such as coal mining in south Wales and the north east.[citation needed] This has given some people[who?] the impression that all Welsh beers have been very weak. However, as with beers all over Britain, alcohol percentages vary.

Wrexham was one of the first places in the UK to brew lager.[6] Homesick German immigrant brothers from Saxony started the process in 1882. Its demise came in 2000, when the site of Wrexham Lager was sold and subsequently demolished.

Investment by the Welsh Development Agency has helped establish a large number of breweries in Wales in recent years.[7][8]

In the 1930s, Felinfoel Brewery was the first brewery in the UK to produce and sell beer in cans. [9]

The largest brewer and packager of beer in Wales by far is the Budweiser Brewing Group (BBG) Brewery in Magor. The brewery was built in 1979 by the Whitbread brewing group and is now operated by the Budweiser Brewing Group, part of AB-InBev the world's largest brewer. The brewery is one of the largest in the UK producing over 5 Million hectare litres every year.[10]

In 2012, CAMRA predicted that the number of microbreweries in Wales is set to carry on rising as the pub industry deals with continued closures.[11]

Tiny Rebel brewery won CAMRA's 2015 Supreme Champion Beer of Britain for its Cwtch Welsh Red Ale.[12]

List of notable Welsh breweries

This is a dynamic list and may never be able to satisfy particular standards for completeness. You can help by adding missing items with reliable sources.

Brewers in Wales
Brewery Town/City Principal area Since
Beech Avenue Brewery Wrexham Wrexham 2020
Bluestone Brewing[13][14] Newport Pembrokeshire 2013
Borough Brewery[15] Neath Neath Port Talbot 2014
Boss Brewing[16][17] Swansea Swansea 2015
Bragdy Nant Brewery[18] Llanrwst Conwy 2007
Brains Brewery[14][18] Cardiff Cardiff 1882
Breconshire Brewery[18] Brecon Powys 2002
Bryncelyn Brewery[18] Ystalyfera Neath Port Talbot 1999
Bullmastiff Brewery[18][19] Cardiff Cardiff 1987
Cader Ales
(Cwrw Cader)[20]
Dolgellau Gwynedd 2013
Caffle Brewery[21] Narberth Pembrokeshire 2013
Celt Experience[18][22][23] Caerphilly Caerphilly 2007
Cerddin Brewery[14][24][25] Maesteg Bridgend 2010
Coles Family Brewery[18][26] Llanddarog Carmarthenshire 1999
Conwy Brewery[14][18][27] Llysfaen Conwy 2003
Crafty Devil[14] Cardiff Cardiff 2014
Cwrw Iâl Community Brewing Company[14] Eryrys Denbighshire 2013
Cwrw Llŷn[28][29] Pwllheli Gwynedd 2011
Deva Craft Beer[30] Deeside Flintshire 2015
Erddig Brewery[30][31] Wrexham Wrexham 2014
Evan Evans[14] Llandeilo Carmarthenshire 2004
Facer's Flintshire Brewery[18][23][31] Flint Mountain Flintshire 2006
Felinfoel Brewery[18][9] Felinfoel Carmarthenshire 1878
Geipel Brewing[14] Llangwm Conwy 2013
Glamorgan Brewing[20] Llantrisant Rhondda Cynon Taf 1994
Gower Brewery[32][14][23][33] Oldwalls Swansea 2011
Great Orme Brewery[14][18] Llandudno Conwy 2009
Grey Trees Brewery[16][23] Aberaman Rhondda Cynon Taf 2011
Hafod Brewing Company[34][35] Mold Flintshire 2011
Handmade Beer Company[14] Capel Dewi Carmarthenshire 2013
Heavy Industry Brewing[32][16][27][36] Henllan Denbighshire 2012
Hurns Brewing Company Swansea Swansea 2002
Jacobi Brewery of Caio[18][23] Pumsaint Carmarthenshire 2007
Kingstone Brewery[14][18] Tintern Monmouthshire 2006
Llangollen Brewery[37] Llangollen Denbighshire 2010
Monty's Brewery[14][16][20] Montgomery Powys 2009
Mountain Hare Brewery[14] Pencoed Bridgend 2013
Mumbles Brewery[14][23] Swansea Swansea 2013
Neath Ales[14] Neath Neath Port Talbot 2010
Otley Brewing Company[14][18][20][23] Pontypridd Rhondda Cynon Taf 2005
Pen-lon Cottage Brewery[14][18] New Quay Ceredigion 2004
Pipes[14] Cardiff Cardiff 2008
Plassey Brewery (Now Magic Dragon Brewing)[18] Bangor-on-Dee Wrexham 1985
Preseli Brewery[18] Tenby Pembrokeshire 2010
Purple Moose Brewery[30][14][16][20][23] Porthmadog Gwynedd 2005
Radnorshire Ales[14] New Radnor Powys 2012
Rotters Brewery[14] Talgarth Powys 2010
Rhymney Brewery[14][18] Blaenavon Torfaen 2005
Snowdonia Brewery
(Bragdy Eryri)[14][18]
Waunfawr Gwynedd 2004
Swansea Brewery[14] Swansea Swansea 1996
Tiny Rebel Brewing Co.[12][14][23] Rogerstone Newport 2012
Tomos & Lilford Brewery[14][38] Llantwit Major Vale of Glamorgan 2014
Tomos Watkin
(trade name of Hurns Brewing Company)
Swansea Swansea 1996
Tudor Brewery[14][16][18][23] Llanhilleth Blaenau Gwent 2007
Untapped Brewing Company[32][14] Raglan Monmouthshire 2009
Vale of Glamorgan Brewery[14][23][39] Barry Vale of Glamorgan 2005
Violet Cottage Brewery[14] Cardiff Cardiff 2012
Waen Brewery[32][14][23][36] Llanidloes Powys 2009
Warcop Ales[14][18][40] Wentlooge Newport 1999
Wild Horse Brewing[30][41] Llandudno Conwy 2015
Wrexham Lager Wrexham Wrexham 1882–2000
2011 (revived)
Zerodegrees[42] Cardiff Cardiff 2008

See also


  1. ^ Edward Davies (1809). The Mythology and Rites of the British Druids, Ascertained by National Documents. J. Booth. pp. 217–220.
  2. ^ Red Book of Hergest 56, Peniarth MS 54 23
  3. ^ "that Wulfred should give the land of Sleaford to Meohamsted, and should send each year into the monastery sixty loads of wood, twelve loads of coal, six loads of peat, two tuns full of fine ale, two neats' carcases, six hundred loaves, and ten kilderkins of Welsh ale; one horse also each year, and thirty shillings, and one night's entertainment."
  4. ^ Brian Glover (2007). Brains: 125 Years. The Breedon Books Publishing Company Limited. ISBN 978-1-85983-606-4.
  5. ^ Arnold James Cooley (1854). A Cyclopaedia of Six Thousand Practical Receipts, and Collateral Information. New York, D. Appleton & Co. pp. 44–45.
  6. ^ Brewers & Boozers Tour on Wrexham County Borough Council's website
  7. ^ Barry, Sion (18 December 2004). "Carreg brew is heading for Wales". Western Mail.
  8. ^ "Much Cheer For Welsh Beer". Wales Business Insider November - December 2005. Insider Media Ltd.
  9. ^ a b Prior, Neil (12 July 2015). "Llanelli's Felinfoel brewery pioneered beer in cans". BBC News. Retrieved 20 December 2017.
  10. ^ "35 years in Magor". Monmouthshire Beacon. Monmouthshire Beacon. 1 September 2015.
  11. ^ "Microbreweries 'the way forward' after 11 open in year". BBC News. 13 September 2012.
  12. ^ a b "Champion Beer of Britain".
  13. ^ "Micro brewery wins business award". Pembrokeshire Herald. 16 June 2014.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag "24 cracking Welsh breweries whose beer you should sample as soon as you can". Wales online. 11 September 2014.
  15. ^ "Borough Brewery a micro brewery with its heart in Neath". Welsh Country.
  16. ^ a b c d e f "CBOW Results 2016". gwbcf. Archived from the original on 27 September 2016. Retrieved 25 September 2016.
  17. ^ "Meet the young woman making business success after launching a Swansea craft brewery". South Wales Evening Post. 13 August 2015.
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u "Welsh Assembly Inquiry into the Wine, Beer and Cider Industries" (PDF). February 2010.
  19. ^ "Bullmastiff Brewery in conjunction with Website Designers Red Kite Digital Ltd launch new website".
  20. ^ a b c d e "Do you know your real ale from your craft beer?". BBC. 28 August 2015.
  21. ^ "Llawhaden brewery selected for London showcase". Western Telegraph. 1 August 2014.
  22. ^ "The Welsh brewery selling 1m bottles of beer". Telegraph.
  23. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l "CBOW 2015 Grand Champions". gwbcf. Archived from the original on 29 August 2016. Retrieved 27 August 2016.
  24. ^ "Cerddin Brewery - The Carbon Friendly Brewery".
  25. ^ "The best pubs in Wales have been named". WalesOnline. 6 April 2018.
  26. ^ "".
  27. ^ a b "Hop to it: a craft beer tour of north Wales". The Guardian. 19 June 2015.
  28. ^ "Cwrw Llŷn Cyf – Llŷn Independent Brewery – Producers of real taste and legendary ales".
  29. ^ "Cwrw Llyn: A brewery launched in a cowshed has become a 21st Century success". Wales Online. 17 February 2012.
  30. ^ a b c d "North Wales micro-brewery explosion meets a thirst for real ales". Daily Post. 15 September 2015.
  31. ^ a b "The Glynne Arms commits to local Ales". Welsh Country.
  32. ^ a b c d "SIBA Wales & West Region Beer Competition 2015". Archived from the original on 22 November 2015. Retrieved 2 November 2015.
  33. ^ "20 new jobs as Gower Brewery gets bigger". southwales-eveningpost.
  34. ^ Yarwood, Sam (23 December 2014). "Flintshire's Hafod Brewing Company is a national hit after featuring on BBC programme". North Wales Live. Retrieved 9 August 2023.
  35. ^ "Hafod Brewing Company - Webshop - www.". Hafod Brewing Company Ltd. Retrieved 9 August 2023.
  36. ^ a b "SIBA National Beer Competition 2016". SIBA. Archived from the original on 11 August 2010.
  37. ^ "Llangollen Brewery confident it has created 'perfect pint'". Daily Post. 20 July 2012.
  38. ^ "25th British Academy Cymru Awards". BAFTA Cymru. 22 May 2014.
  39. ^ "Ever wanted to start your own brewery ?". Wales online. 16 February 2016.
  40. ^ "Battle of the beer buffs". South Wales Argus. 18 November 2003.
  41. ^ "Dave Faragher of Wild Horse Brewing". Business Wales. 6 January 2016.
  42. ^ "Top 10 craft beer pubs in Cardiff". the guardian. 14 October 2014.