Cork sees itself as the champagne district of stouts but now one of the city's famous breweries Murphy's is under threat.
A receiver has been appointed to Murphy's Brewery in Cork and unless a buyer is found for the business, there are fears this integral part of Cork life will close
Murphy's Brewery, locally called Lady's Well Brewery, was founded by James J Murphy in Blackpool, Cork in 1856. Murphy's brew a stout and in 1978, also took on a franchise to brew Heineken lager. The company's financial problems are well known and widely reported, and in 1981 the company introduced a £500,000 cost reduction scheme.
The Murphy’s board of management reject the criticism that a good company is being run into the ground. They acknowledge investing in a bottling plant in the 1970s cost the company dearly, but conversely taking on the Heineken franchise was a sound business move. Murphy’s Stout sales have also increased greatly since 1974 when the company also faced financial difficulties.
The receiver, John Donnelly of Deloitte, Haskins and Sells wants to sell the business as a going concern with the co-operation and support of the licensed vintners and the Murphy's workforce.
I have been looking around and seeking every opportunity to find likely partners or purchasers for Murphy’s.
Publicans have been slow to responded to requests for support, but one vintner believes when management changes and they will come up with their share to save Murphy’s.
Although initially unsure about the appointment of a receiver, morale among Murphy’s employees is
Very optimistic now, we think the place will go.
Workers have agreed to give written undertakings to subscribe a sum of £100,000 to help the brewery out of its difficulties, but this option has not been taken up.
For publicans and patrons alike Murphy’s closing down does not bear thinking about.
You’ve a choice of two stouts here and quite honestly, Murphy’s is better than Guinness.
For another man
It would be a disaster, simply for the reason that they produce a good product.
That said, another man would switch to Beamish stout if Murphy’s closed down.
One publican would be very sad to see Murphy’s go.
To be honest I would prefer to see bread going off the shelves than Murphy’s.
Murphy’s Brewery was purchased by Heineken International in 1983.
An 'Ireland's Eye' report broadcast on 21 July 1982. The reporter is Pat Butler.