Simonds Malta Brewery
The House of Simonds Ltd was founded by William Blackall Simonds late in the Eighteenth Century, 1768 to be exact, about the time when George III came to the throne. Around 1814, he began to supply beer to the Army at Sandhurst where it is said they toasted the Victory of Waterloo with mugs of Simonds foaming ale. From this small beginning a long and lasting bond between the Simonds Brewery and the Armed Forces was established, branches were set up wherever the Army was stationed, such as Gibralter, South Africa, Egypt, Cyprus and the Island of Malta.
The firm's connection with Malta started in 1875, when a certain Mr. Hearn, a relation of the Simonds family, was appointed agent there. A branch was established in 1890 and a flourishing business was conducted for many years. The offices were in Strada Reale in Valetta, bottling was done locally in an old warehouse along Marina Pinto which was in use until 1969.
In time a local firm, L Farrugia & Sons, who until that date had been mainly millers, mastered the art of brewing and decided to establish a brewery of their own. This they did in 1927, having obtained the monopoly to manufacture an English type of ale. The original brewery was at Hamrun and is now used by S.F.C. for the manufacture of industrial gasses. The trading name was Farsons and on 28th April 1928 launched their first brew called Blue Label. It was the first beer brewed on the Island. Hopleaf Pale Ale is also being brewed, both beers originally sold to retailers at 2/- per dozen reputed pint bottles. Soon after this, another beer came on the market from the recently opened Malta Export Brewery established by the Marquis John Scicluna called Cisk Pilsner and its counterpart Cisk Munchner (Cisk is pronounced as in cheque).
In 1928 H & G Simonds approached Farsons (they were still the largest importers of beer to the Island) over their brewing interests and after negotiations, merged with L Farrugia & Sons, forming a new company, Simonds, Farsons Ltd. With the outbreak of hostilities in 1939, Farsons soon became a byword with troops battling in North Africa. A bottling plant was opened in Alexandria and later Farsons operated the O.E.A. Brewery in Tripoli, on behalf of the NAAFI. Meanwhile the brewery in Malta was kept going on a shoestring even throughout the darkest days of the siege.
During this time Victor Lewis Farrugia had not neglected to plan ahead and with his staff, drawn up plans for a completely new brewery to be built after the war ended. The old brewery at Hamrun had been in constant use since 1928 and was very outdated and inadequate. In July 1946 work started at Mriehelson on the new brewery, and this was opened in 1950.
For some years before the War it had been felt that there was not a large enough market in Malta to support more than one brewery. Negotiations therefore were initiated between the Malta Export Brewery and Simonds, Farson Ltd. and a successful conclusion occurred in July 1947 when the formation of Simonds, Farsons & Cisk Ltd. was announced. The main shareholders were the promoting partners, Marquis Scicluna, L Farrugia & Sons and H & G Simonds. They each put up some £210,000 and acquired 1,200 shares valued at £170,000. The paid up capital of the company was £800,000.
An assortment of views of the brewery