Murphy's Irish Stout

Murphy's Irish Stout (often simply Murphy's) is a stout brewed at the Murphy's Brewery in Cork, Ireland. It is owned and distributed by the Dutch brewer Heineken International.

Murphy's Irish Stout
DistributorHeineken International
Country of originIreland
Alcohol by volume4%
Flavourblack coffee
VariantsMurphy's Stout 3.5%

Murphy's was heavily promoted worldwide by Heineken throughout the late 1980s and 1990s, but it ultimately failed to substantially dent Guinness' global stout market share, and Heineken have since directed their attentions to other brands.

Flavour profileEdit

It is brewed to be less heavy and less bitter than its chief competitor Guinness.[1][2] Its flavour is evocative of caramel and malt,[3] and is described as "a distant relative of chocolate milk".[1] The resemblance to milk extends beyond flavour to texture: Murphy's is free from any hint of carbonation,[1] and is delivered "black as strong cappuccino" with an inch of foam – the head – on top.[4] The water of the River Lee in Cork allegedly gave Murphy's its quality.


A pint of Murphy's

After years as a solely local stout, the acquisition of the brewery by Heineken in 1983, with a consequent expansion in distribution and international television advertising, exposed Murphy's to the international drinking community. In 1988, Whitbread acquired the distribution and brewing rights for Murphy's in the UK, where it was brewed in the Magor brewery at Magor in Wales.[5] In 2000, these rights went to Interbrew when they acquired Whitbread Brewing Company.


In addition to being distributed in kegs, Murphy's is also available in a can. To simulate the appearance and texture of the tap version, cans of Murphy's contain a nitrogen widget, which increases the creaminess of the head when poured.[6]


Export volumes peaked in the mid-1990s and domestic volume peaked around 2000.[7] The brand is suffering in its native Ireland due to a declining market for stout.[8] It holds a 5 percent share of the Irish stout market, although this is largely a result of its 28 percent share of its native Cork market.[7] Murphy's has a limited presence in Ireland outside of Cork.[7] In 2011, 60,000 hectolitres of Murphy's were sold in Ireland.[9]

Overseas marketsEdit

Murphy's was launched on draught in the United Kingdom in 1989. Cans were launched in 1992. It is now rarely found on draught in the UK, although is stocked by many major supermarkets in cans. In the UK it is brewed at Heineken's Tadcaster plant in North Yorkshire for the home market and some export markets.[10] According to Euromonitor, Murphy's sold 25,000 hl in the UK in 2011.[9] Murphy's held less than five percent of the British stout market in 2016.[11]

Popular export markets include Norway and Italy. In New York the importer is United States Beverage (USB), which is a premium imported /craft beer sales and marketing company located in Stamford, Connecticut.


In 1997 an anime television advertisement was created for Murphy's called "Last Orders".[12] It was created by Production I.G (the creators of Ghost in the Shell), and directed by Hiroyuki Kitakubo.[12] The 60-second film features six fierce samurai who rush through a post-futuristic megalopolis to make it on time for the last order at their favourite pub. It was the first anime style commercial film ever aired in the UK and Ireland.[12]


Murphy's Irish Stout is the main sponsor of the Cork Athletic Union League, an association football league featuring amateur and junior clubs from County Cork.[13] They were also the title sponsor of the Irish Open golf tournament from 1994 to 2002.[14]


  1. ^ a b c West, Bill (30 November 2007). "Beer Bites: Murphy's Irish Stout". The Daily Orange. Archived from the original on 13 December 2007. Retrieved 27 April 2008.
  2. ^ Brown, Andrew C. (3 February 1986). "A Dutch Challenge to the King of Stout". Fortune. Retrieved 27 April 2008.
  3. ^ Givens, Ron (15 March 1996). "Holiday for the Stout-Hearted". New York Daily News. Retrieved 27 April 2008.
  4. ^ Whiting, Sam (14 March 2001). "Living It Up Like the Irish". San Francisco Chronicle. Archived from the original on 28 April 2005. Retrieved 27 April 2008.
  5. ^ "Murphy's stout to be brewed in UK". The Irish Times. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  6. ^ Cravens, David W.; Lamb, Charles W.; Crittenden, Victoria Lynn (2001). Strategic Marketing Management Cases (7 ed.). Michigan: McGraw-Hill/Irwin. p. 347. ISBN 978-0-07-251482-7. Retrieved 18 June 2011. For most of its first 135 years, Murphy's was available only in draft form in pubs throughout Ireland. A packaging innovation (draughtflow cans) was launched in October 1992. A plastic device (called a widget) is fitted into the bottom of the can which nitrates the liquid after the can is opened, creating the famous creamy head and giving the product a publike taste.
  7. ^ a b c "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 24 January 2011. Retrieved 24 January 2011.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  8. ^ "Heineken Ireland increases market share". RTÉ News. 16 February 2011.
  9. ^ a b Alcoholic Drinks: Euromonitor from trade sources/national statistics
  10. ^ Food Standards Agency – Heineken UK withdraws a batch of Murphy's Stout due to a packaging error resulting in the presence of undeclared barley (gluten)
  11. ^ (PDF) Missing or empty |title= (help)
  12. ^ a b c Production I.G [WORK LIST[Details]]
  13. ^ "Sponsors". Retrieved 22 October 2016.
  14. ^ – Heineken to sponsor Irish Open – 27 July 2011

External linksEdit