Smithwick's Brewery Tour, County Kilkenny
Over 300 years ago in 1710, John Smithwick began brewing his first Ales - although the Smithwick’s story started long before then. He chose the site of an ancient monastery - St.Francis Abbey, to position his brewery. John was inspired by a tradition of brewing on this site, the foundations of which were laid four centuries earlier. Back in the 13th Century The Franciscans established an Abbey, with its own well, on the banks of the River Nore in Kilkenny. Whilst brewing and barley cultivation are recorded in Irish Annals from the mists of time, the strong brewing tradition that exists in Kilkenny started with these monks who would have brewed their own light ale for their visitors, using water from St. Francis' Well.
To this day the Abbey stands proudly at the heart of the brewery and continues to inspire the brewers. Smithwick's is a brand with years of heritage. Starting in 1641 with John Smithwick in Kilkenny, who was left orphaned in the Irish rebellion, his is a tale of courage, determination, loyalty and triumph over adversity. He dragged himself up by the bootstraps and started a successful family of his own which began brewing Smithwick's ale in 1710 with the brewery mainly serving the local community. It gave the Smithwick family a sense of what's important in life. The experience handed down through the generations has seen Smithwick's thrive against the odds and has created a brewing dynasty that has flourished for over 300 years.
To celebrate the 300 year anniversary, the St. Francis Abbey Brewery now offers exclusive brewery tours. These unique tours will take visitors through the working brewery in Kilkenny and include a visit to the remarkable 12th Century St Francis Abbey which is on the brewery site. Tours operate from Tuesday to Saturday (closed Sunday and Monday) The tour takes approximately 1 and a half hours and includes a complimentary tasting in the brewery’s Cellar Bar.
St Francis Abbey is primarily a production facility which unfortunately cannot cater for wheelchair users or persons with impaired mobility due to the structure and layout of our 300 year old site. Over 18s only. For your safety please wear appropriate footwear (No high heels or open toe footwear).
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