It is in 1860 that our story Begins
British Planter Sir Samuel Baker decided to establish a home brewery in the cool climes of Nuwara Eliya, although it was in 1881 that the facet of commercial brewing is evidenced, managed by Messrs Bremer and Pa Bavary. Ownership changed in 1884 to Murrey Brewery Company Rawalpindi, who later sold out to Ceylon Brewery, helmed by the pragmatic J B Hampson and later G W Lindsay White, who founded The Ceylon Brewery Limited in 1911.
Promoted widely under the brand logo of a stag head seven decades later, Ceylon Brewery became a subsidiary of diversified Sri Lankan conglomerate Carson Cumberbatch.
It was in the 1940s, that the company expanded its product portfolio, introducing Lion Lager, Pale Ale, Sinha Pilsner and Stout and twenty years later, to mark the Jubilee Annual General Meeting, the award winning Jubilee Ale was launched into the market. Having been honoured with a gold medal at the Monde Selection and gaining second place at the Brewers and Allied Exhibition in London, Jubilee Ale's secret to success was its added strength. Commemorating HRH Queen Elizabeth II's visit to Sri Lankan in 1982, the company introduced Royal Pilsner, which later replaced Lion and Sinha Pilsner. Skol Pilsner spearheaded the complete brand change to Lion Beers, for the entire portfolio of brands coming under Ceylon Brewery.
With continuous improvement and innovation being the hallmark of the company, by 1992, the company was licensed to brew and market Carlsberg in Sri Lanka, while acquiring 8% stake in the Company, with Guinness following suit a few years later in 1995.
Favourable taxation and duty regimes in the mid 1990s spurred capacity expansion with the construction of Lion Brewery (Ceylon) PLC, in a spacious locale in Biyagama, just under one hour's distance from the commercial capital of Colombo. Ceylon Brewery has a 15% shareholding in Lion Brewery.
However, with the new brewery performing beyond expectation, in anticipation of further fillip being added to an already successful journey, The Ceylon Brewery Production facility was closed and all operations moved to the Lion Brewery location. Lion Brewery, The Ceylon Brewery and holding company Carson Cumberbatch are quoted on the Colombo Stock Exchange.