Site of first Brain's brewery, CardiffSite of first Brain’s brewery, St Mary Street, Cardiff
Cardiff’s Brewery Quarter stands on the site of the first brewery of Samuel Arthur Brain. Today the SA Brain company owns many pubs across South and West Wales, including The Yard on this site, and continues to brew its beers in central Cardiff.
The first brewery at this spot was established in the early 18th century, taking advantage of a well which provided a constant supply of pure water for the beer. It was already known as “the Old Brewery” when Samuel bought the site in 1882 with financial help from his businessman uncle Joseph Benjamin Brain.
Samuel (pictured right) had trained as a brewer and become manager of Cardiff’s Phoenix Brewery (taken over by the William Hancock brewery in 1888). As his brewery thrived, he involved himself in local civic affairs. In November 1885 he was elected to represent Canton and Grangetown on Cardiff Town Council. A month later it was reported that Messrs Brain and Co had donated the beer for the annual Christmas dinner for the poor of Roath parish. Samuel also became a magistrate. He was a keen cricketer and a captain in the 2nd Glamorgan Volunteer Artillery.
Another family member who backed the brewery venture was Jack Brain, who played cricket for Gloucestershire before moving to South Wales. He became captain and secretary of Glamorgan County Cricket Club in 1891. With his business expertise and contacts, he transformed the club, bringing in professional players. He announced his retirement from the sport after his father’s death in 1907. You can see a photo of him on our page about the club's early history.
SA Brain continued to produce beer at the Old Brewery until 1999, when it moved to the former Cardiff Brewery on Crawshay Street. The site of the original brewery was then redeveloped as the Brewery Quarter.
Postcode: CF10 1AD View Location Map