Thursday, 13 April 2017

Beer History: Kilkenny Porter - An Alternative Reality Perhaps?

An experienced porter brewer and accomptant who for some years has brewed for, and conducted the business of two eminent breweries in the City of Dublin, well knowing the great advantage that must certainly arise to the person brewing of porter in Kilkenny or its vicinity, from the great consumption of the article there, and the decided preference he must get, on account of the material difference between the present price, and that which he would be able sell it for, will engage to brew porter equal, if not superior to any manufactures in Dublin, at a very trifling addition to the capital that may be at present employed in business by the proprietor.
Ample security will be given for the perfecting any engagement he will make. Application to be made to John Gorman Kennedy, esq. Porter Brewer, No. 28 King-street, Stephen's Green, before the 3d of April next. 
March 18, 1791
(Finn's Leinster Journal -  March 1791)

A bold claim by a Dublin brewer to be able to produce quality porter in Kilkenny, which was seemingly consumed in large amounts in and around the city. My reading of the advert is that, he is implying that no porter is being produced there and he feels that there is enough consumption to justify taking out said advert - in the top left of the front page!   Why else would he be offering his services if he - as an accountant/brewer (what a combination!) - didn't think it a lucrative plan? If his offer had been taken up (Assuming it wasn't of course!?) perhaps Kilkenny would now be synonymous with porter, and those micro and macro brewers that tout their Irish Red Ales might be pouring pints of the black stuff?

Or perhaps Mr. Kennedy was engaging in some clever marketing himself ... it's only ink on paper after all?

An interesting side note is that according to internet sources John Gorman Kennedy, a brewer from Dublin was to be transported from Ireland for his part in the 1798 rebellion at the same time as John Sweetman, the more famous Dublin brewer. (I have already discovered that allegedly a Carlow brewer was forced to sell up and leave the country before he suffered a similar fate.)

I can't find out where J.G.K. ended up but wonder did he continued to brew porter somewhere...


{With thanks as usual to the local history room in Carlow library}

1 comment:

The Beer Nut said...

Smithwick's certainly brewed porter until 1921. In that year there was a strike at the company and Guinness helped them fill some outstanding orders. The price was simply that they never make porter again, which they didn't. It's mentioned in Iorwerth Griffiths's book on Irish beer.