Today is the birthday of Edward Fitzgerald (March 19, 1820-March 19, 1896). He “was an Australian brewer and founder of the Castlemaine Brewery.” According to his short Wikipedia page. “Edward was born in 1820 in Galway to parents Francis Fitzgerald and Eleanor Joyes. His family owned and operated a distillery establishment at Nun’s Island, Galway. In 1854 Edward Fitzgerald migrated to Australia during the Victorian gold rush and established a brewery in the gold field town of Castlemaine.
In 1859 his brother Nicholas Fitzgerald emigrated to Australia and joined him in the brewery business. By 1871 the name Castlemaine Brewery had been adopted, in 1875 the brothers opened a brewery in South Melbourne, and in 1885 the enterprise was turned into a public company. Breweries were opened right across the country and the brothers were involved in the establishment of the Castlemaine Perkins brewery in Brisbane which is home of the XXXX brand and is still brewing to this day.”
Unfortunately, while there are photos of his brother, I couldn’t find any of Edward, or any specific biographical information about him that wasn’t related to the brewery.
In 1877, brothers Nicholas Fitzgerald and Edward Fitzgerald bought the site of a failing distillery and created a brewery, which they named after an existing brewery that they owned in Castlemaine, Victoria in the Victorian goldfields. They began to brew beer there in the following year and the brewery continues production to this day. The first beverage was called XXX Sparkling Ale.
In 1866, Patrick Perkins started the Perkins Brewery in Toowoomba. In 1872, he later extended his operations to Brisbane with the purchase of the City Brewery in 1872.
The company restricted its operations entirely to brewing by 1916. XXXX was introduced with new advertising campaign in 1924 after the brewery employed German brewer, Alhois William Leitner. The advertising included a depiction of a little man wearing a suit with a smile, a wink and a boater hat. The so-called ‘Fourex Man’ soon became one of the most recognised symbols in Queensland.
In 1928 (long after the death of Patrick Perkins in 1901), the Perkins brewing company was bought by the Castlemaine Brewery with new company being known as Castlemaine Perkins Limited.
Castlemaine Perkins was acquired in 1992 by drinks conglomerate Lion Nathan.
The Castlemaine or Milton Brewery was established at Milton, Brisbane, in 1878 by Fitzgerald Quinlan & Co. The brothers Nicholas and Edward Fitzgerald had established brewing interests at Castlemaine in Victoria, and then in Adelaide, Perth, Sydney and Newcastle. In Brisbane, Quinlan Gray & Co. had taken over the interests of the Milton Distillery that was established on the site at Milton in 1870. The first brew by the new Milton Brewery was called Castlemaine XXX Sparkling Ale and was made to the same formula as the beer brewed by Castlemaine Brewery in Victoria. (Information taken from: Public Affairs Department, Castlemaine Perkins Limited, comp., History of the Castlemaine Perkins Brewery, 1877 – 1993, 1993).
This drawing of the brewery depicts some laden wagons in the street in front of the three-storey building. A worker stands alongside. The signage reads: Castlemaine Brewery, Fitzgerald, Quinlan & Co.
The Castlemaine Brewery at Milton, Brisbane, 1879, from the State Library of Queensland.