Our Story

The Pride Of Queensland

It's been an epic XXXX journey

When you spend more than 140 years in the hands of thirsty Aussies, you’re going to pick up a few stories along the way.

From helping out Queenslanders doing it tough, to striking GOLD and buying an island, it’s been a hell of a ride. Here’s the legendary tale of how we became Australia’s number one beer.

Two brothers, One goal

Our story starts back in 1878 with a wide-eyed and crazy dream. Two brothers, Nicholas and Edward Fitzgerald, had one goal in life: to create the finest ales known to man, loved by generations across this sun-drenched land. After starting out in Castlemaine Victoria, the boys decided they needed a world-class brewery (and warmer weather), so they packed their bags and headed to Brisbane.

They bought an old distillery and on the 13th of September of that year, the first beer was sold. And so the Castlemaine Brewery was born, known today as the home of XXXX.

The missing X

At one point or another, every XXXX drinker has pondered the question: what do the Xs in XXXX mean? Well back in the day, beer quality was measured in Xs. The brewery’s first drop produced was XXX Sparkling Ale, awarded a very respectable three Xs. But something was missing. In 1893, the brewers perfected the recipe further, gaining a fourth X – and, some years later, establishing the XXXX name that we all know and love today.

Call in the master

You might not expect a German bloke to be so important in the history of Queensland’s favourite brew, but Alhois ‘Bill’ Leitner would beg to differ.

By the time the early 1900s rolled around, XXXX was well and truly a hit across Queensland, but there was a problem with transporting the beer to the hottest and driest parts of the state. The Brewery needed someone with a bit of know-how to solve the problem of cloudy beer – and that’s where Bill comes in.

After working in Germany and Austria and looking for a spot to settle Down Under, Bill came on board as our new Master Brewer. He worked out that problem came from the way the brew vessels were cleaned – with that fixed up, it was problem solved.

When that job was done, Bill set about improving the beer even more, and he put together a drop which Queenslanders have been loving ever since. His recipe for XXXX BITTER hasn’t changed since it was first brewed in 1924 – so next time you crack open one of Queensland’s finest, raise it to Bill.

The birth of a little legend

1924 was a big year for the brewery, and with the launch of XXXX BITTER came the introduction of another Queensland icon. Complete with boater hat and schooner in hand, Mr Fourex has been winking at Queenslanders and inviting them for a beer since his first appearance in a magazine ad.

But who is this mysterious man? Some say he’s modelled off Paddy Fitzgerald, a former General Manager of the brewery. Others reckon it was a local newspaper salesman who fancied a XXXX. No matter your theory, Mr Fourex had been part of the furniture at XXXX for almost a century – and we couldn’t imagine brewing without him.

Supporting the troops

After the First World War, those who returned were relieved to have a XXXX for the first time in years – so World War II saw XXXX distributed overseas for the first time ever. Thirsty troops in North Africa and Asia got to experience XXXX, which for many a soldier was the distinct taste of life back home.

We sent XXXX abroad again during the Vietnam War, where the diggers even affectionately nicknamed the lager “barbed wire” due to the look of the label. They soon returned home to the only country where you can enjoy a XXXX today. Yep, we keep our best brew just for the Aussies.

Lending a helping hand

XXXX has always been the drink of the people, and when times are tough, we’ve been there to do what we can to help. During The Great Depression of the 1920s, XXXX helped hard-hit farmers out with free barley seeds and bought out pubs which were facing closure to ensure that the families could keep running them.

Then came the Queensland Floods of 1974, 2011 and 2013; even with the Brewery underwater, brewers managed to build makeshift rafts to get beer to those who needed it, and donate funds to help keep the state afloat.

Of course, we’re there for the good times, too, and play our part as Australia’s and Queensland’s favourite beer. Whether it’s helping the local publican establish a top spot for a schooner, kitting out the local footy team or anything in between, we’ve got a proud tradition of supporting the community–and we’re not going away any time soon

XXXX Innovations

With the expansion of the brewery and the backing of new Head Brewer Andrew Crooke, XXXX introduced a number of innovations from the 1950s onwards.

There was a range of new brews: XXXX Lite, Castlemaine 2.2 Bitter and Castlemaine Special Dry. Soon after came the ‘stubby,’ a compact-sized bottle which was stronger and easier to hold, and the stubby holder, which Aussies have been using to keep their XXXX cold on summer days ever since.

Striking gold

The early 1990’s saw a rejuvenation of XXXX; we got on board with the Queensland Maroons in 1991 and we’ve been backing them ever since. That same year saw the launch of XXXX GOLD, a mid-strength lager that would go on to become the best-selling beer in Australia.
Aussies have a special spot for this refreshing, full-flavoured drop – and after just one taste, it’s not hard to see why.

Reaching a milestone

In 1999, the five billionth stubby rolled off the XXXX production line and later that year, part of the old brewery was demolished to make way for a new one. A total of 5,000 bricks from the old building were sold, raising $20,000 for charity.

But the milestones keep coming, with the new establishment sending more beers out into the world than ever before. The last major landmark came in 2016, with the eight billionth stubby being produced and consumed by one lucky Aussie. That’s a whopping three billion litres of beer – enough to fill every Olympic swimming pool in the country 25 times!

Never-ending summer

We’ve always loved summer at XXXX, and in 2009 we launched Summer Bright Lager to celebrate. The refreshing taste of an Aussie summer, bottled up for your enjoyment at our favourite time of year.

Brewed using superior bright filtration and free from artificial additives and preservatives, Summer Bright Lager gave Aussies another way to celebrate those warm days and nights with mates. In 2014, a dash of lime was added to the mix to create Summer Bright Lager with Lime, and just a couple of years later Summer Bright Lager with Mango joined the party. To top it all off, they’re all completely free from artificial additives and preservatives.

Our island home

Remember when we bought an island? Yep, in 2012, XXXX became the first beer brand to get its very own slice of paradise on the gorgeous Southern Great Barrier Reef.

XXXX Island was designed to be the ultimate destination for mates’ trips away, and we had some cracking memories during our time there. Check out the videos to relive it all!

A carbon neutral brewery

Now you can knock back a XXXX knowing it’s brewed at a carbon neutral brewery. Truth be told, we give a XXXX about the environment.

That’s why we temporarily turned out brewery lights green, installed solar panels and invested in enough carbon credits to offset the entire brewery’s carbon footprint.

We think that’s reason enough to wrap your hand around another XXXX, and raise it to the Sunshine State – cheers!