The Franciscan Well Brewery, founded in 1998, is now one of the oldest craft brewers still operating in Ireland. It’s built on the site of an old Franciscan monastery and well dating back to 1219. During the 1940s, the site was the location for bottling Guinness for the people of Cork.
The brewery also has its own brew pub, boasting one of the best beer gardens in Cork city. The pub carries an extensive range of craft beers, both from their own brewery next door as well as from other Irish and international microbreweries.
They also host beer festivals throughout the year, such as the Winter Ales and Cask Ales Festival and the Easter Beer Festival.
Early in 2013, Molson Coors UK Ireland bought the Franciscan Well Brewery, becoming the first major producer to acquire an Irish microbrewery. Molson Coors plans to significantly increase the Franciscan Well’s output and capacity by building an additional 150,000-keg brewery elsewhere in Cork city, with a view to exporting the beer to the UK, Canada and the US. Shane Long, the brewery founder and current chairman of the Irish Craft Brewers Association, will retain control of product development.
There are five beers in the core range: Friar Weisse, an unfiltered wheat beer; Blarney Blonde, a Kolsch-style ale; Rebel Red, an Irish red ale; Rebel Lager, a premium lager; and Shandon Stout, a creamy, Cork-style dry stout. They also recently started making a limited edition stout aged in Jameson whiskey casks.