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Boag's Brewery

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Boag's Brewery (J. Boag & Son) is an Australian brewery company founded in 1883 by James Boag and his son, also named James, in Launceston, Tasmania, Australia. It is now owned by Lion, a Trans-Tasman subsidiary company of Japanese beverage conglomerate, Kirin. All of the company's beers are produced in Launceston.

Boag's Brewery
IndustryAlcoholic beverage
FounderJames Boag



19th centuryEdit

Esk Brewery, established 1881

James Boag I arrived in Australia with his wife, Janet, and their four children in 1853 from Scotland. After three months in the Victorian goldfields, they came to Tasmania. After he and his son James Boag II left the Cornwall Brewery in 1878, James II went into partnership with John Glenwright at the Cataract Brewery an James I became the licensee of the All Year Round Hotel.

In 1881, the Esk Brewery was established on the banks of the North Esk River in Launceston by Charles Stammers Button. John Fawns died, and James Boag III was born. In 1883, James I and his son took over the Esk Brewery.[1] J. Boag & Son was officially formed in 1883, as the partnership between James Boag I and his son, to operate the brewery. The company's initial output was seven hogsheads of beer weekly. The name 'Esk Brewery' was retained, although 'Boag's Brewery' became a frequent reference.

In 1887, James Boag II began management of the company on the retirement of his father. A new malthouse was built and weekly production had increased to more than 500 hogsheads, with the brewery employing a 30 members of staff.

In 1898, J. Boag & Son purchased the Cornwall Brewery and amalgamated it with the Esk Brewery; James Boag I died in 1890.

20th centuryEdit

James Boag II died in 1919 and was succeeded by James Boag III who had been training at Tooth and Co.'s brewery in Sydney.

In 1924, James Boag III retired temporarily from the company, and returned in 1930 as Managing Director, a position he held until his death in 1944. His obituary in the Examiner reported: "Having been closely connected with business and sporting activities, Mr Boag was known and respected by a wide circle of friends. At the time of his death, he was Managing Director of J. Boag & Son Limited and a Director of Tasmanian Breweries Pty Limited."

George Boag, James III's second son, took over James' seat on the Board; he was the last Boag working in the business, retiring in 1976 after the death of his wife.

Since 2000Edit

Boag's Brewery buildings in 2015

In 2000, San Miguel Corporation acquired J. Boag & Son (previously a publicly listed company) for $92 million.[2] The existing Tasmanian management was retained to continue running the company; production had increased annually for the previous 3 years and this growth was planned to continue.

In 2004, Boag's Brewery was expanded to occupy the complete block enclosed by William, Tamar and Shield Streets and The Esplanade.

San Miguel sold J. Boag & Son to Lion Nathan Ltd in November 2007 for $325 million.[3]

As of 2010 J. Boag and Son employed over 150 people and produced over 76,000,000 litres (17,000,000 imp gal; 20,000,000 US gal) of beer annually.[citation needed]


In the 1990s Boag's launched two new lines of beer — James Boag's Premium Lager in 1994, and Boag's Strongarm Bitter in 1997.[citation needed] In 2002 James Boag's Premium Light was launched nationally and won "New Beer of the Year" at the Australian Liquor Industry Awards.[citation needed]

  • James Boag's Premium Lager — A European style pilsner, ABV 5 Launched in 1994 (originally 5.2%).
  • James Boag's Premium Light — A low alcohol European style pilsner, ABV 2.9%. Launched in 2002.
  • Boag's Draught — A traditional Australian style of lager, ABV 4.6%. Circa mid 1880’s.
  • Boag's Draught Light — A low alcohol Australian style of lager, ABV 2.7%. Launched in 2004.
  • James Boag's Pure — A super premium made with 100% Tasmanian ingredients, ABV 4.5%. Launched in 2009.
  • Boag's Classic Blonde — A low carbohydrate style of lager, ABV 4.5%. Launched in 2007. Production ceased 2015.
  • Boag's Wizard Smith ale — A traditional English Pale Ale, ABV 5.0%. Launched in 2007. Only available in Tasmania.
  • Boag's XXX Ale — An Australian style of lager. ABV 4.8%. Launched in 1881. Only available in Tasmania.
  • Boag's St George - A premium southern Californian style of lager, ABV 4.8%. Launched in 2004. Production Ceased 2011.
  • Boag's Honey Porter — A limited edition porter made with Tasmanian leatherwood honey (not in production).

Boag's Centre for Beer LoversEdit

Boag's Centre for Beer Lovers

The Lame Dog Hotel (later known as the Tamar Hotel) was constructed in 1826 and by the 1930s the Georgian-style building had become one of Launceston's most notable hotels.[citation needed] George Radford and his family operated the hotel for 26 years. The building was restored to house the Boag's Centre for Beer Lovers.

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ Centre for Tasmanian Historical Studies (2006) "Boag Family", in The Companion to Tasmanian History
  2. ^ "San Miguel to bid for Australian brewer". Asia Times. Retrieved 2007-11-08.
  3. ^ "San Miguel farewells Australia". Melbourne: The Age. 2007-11-08. Retrieved 2007-11-08.


  • Deutsher, Keith M. (2012). The Breweries of Australia (2nd ed.). Glebe, NSW: Beer & Brewer Media. ISBN 9780987395214.

External linksEdit