Monday, 1 March 2021

Strangman's 'Export' Ale - From Waterford to Christchurch

When we think of beer being exported from Ireland in the past we tend to only think of the strong stout porters that we exported to the West Indies, or those ubiquitous Guinness Stout advertisements that appear in papers from almost all corners of the world, but it is worth noting and highlighting that we also - unsurprisingly - had a trade in exported ale from a few Irish breweries, and quite recently I spotted the above advertisement for 'Strangman Irish Ale' in the Lyttelton Times published in Christchurch New Zealand on the 15th July 1863. (Davis, Strangman & Co. were a brewery based in Waterford City and you can read more about both the Strangman family and the brewery here in an excellent piece on the Waterford Whisky website, who are the company that currently occupies the property where the brewery was situated.)

A month later the following notice appeared in the same newspaper, now giving the brewery its full title and for 50 hogsheads of ale this time ... and what is of interest in this advertisement is the name of the reseller in New Zealand - a J. Strangman.

Following a little more research I found out that John Strangman was an agent and commission merchant for The Christchurch Company on Colombo Street North in the city. He arrived in Christchurch on a ship via Bristol in 1860 with his wife and family to set up a business there. His wife - a Marianne Fitzgerald from Tinnahinch in Carlow who he married in 1846 - and some of their children appear to have left again in 1862 on a ship bound for London but two sons at least remained an Augustus Fitzgerald and Gerald. John died in 1881 at the age of 72 and his death notice in the The Press (Christchurch) in that year states he was the son of another John Strangman from Summerland House in Waterford - which I am pretty certain cements that Waterford Strangman's connection to him without digging much deeper.

Davis, Strangman & Co. were a big brewery back in the 19th century with excellent trading connections and were practically situated on top of one of the largest ports in Ireland so it is not surprising to hear about something like this, but its still nice to see it in black and white. As to what type of ale it was it is hard to be certain, as advertisements in Ireland and elsewhere at this time or a little earlier just mention 'Waterford Ale', 'Sweet and Bitter Pale Ale' or superior ale, or equally vague mentions of beer, porter and brown stout.

I'd like to think that it was a nicely hopped, superior, Irish export pale ale - although it would be difficult to make a clever acronym from that description...


(All written content and the research involved in publishing it here is my own unless otherwise stated and cannot be reproduced elsewhere without permission, full credit to its source and a link back to this post.)

Newspaper image © The British Library Board - All rights reserved. With thanks to The British Newspaper Archive ( from whom I have received permission to display here). 

1 comment:

Martyn Cornell said...

Porter from Strangman's brewery was on sale in St John's, Newfoundland in November 1816 …