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Our -story

The Beginning

Cains _01Liverpool in the first half of the 19th Century was one of the world's most thriving ports - awash with visitors from all over the globe, money and opportunity.

This was reflected in the stunning rise of Robert Cain, from an entrepreneurial 24-year-old brewing his own ale in one pub, to a rich and influential businessman with the title of Lord Brocket and an estate of 200 pubs.

Purchasing the brewery and establishing Cains in 1858, he commissioned the current premises around 30 years later, determined that the business would endure a lot longer than he could.

And so his legacy is still evident today, not only in the beers which still bear his name, but in the distinctive design of the brewery itself - The 'Terracotta Palace' - and the stunning interiors of famous Liverpool pubs such as The Vines, The Central Commercial Hotel and The Philharmonic Dining Rooms, all listed as having special architectural merit.

Robert Cain

Cains _02Born in County Cork, Robert Cain took the path of many poor Irish immigrants and arrived in Liverpool to seek his fortune.

As a wide-eyed teenager arriving in the bustling city he could never have imagined a life which would see him create an enduring Liverpool brand, become wealthy, accept the title of Lord Brocket and marry the daughter of a former Lord Mayor of Liverpool.

When he died in 1907, over 3,000 people are reputed to have attended his funeral.

So how did this man make his fortune, what drove him to continually thrive to make his brewery, pubs and beers the most tasteful and memorable they could be?

Determined to establish the brewery, Robert Cain started with one pub at the age of 24, brewing his beer on the premises and saving towards the brewery he desperately needed to achieve his dream.

As well as this determination, Robert Cain was a perfectionist and a man with a strong belief in himself. If something had his name associated with it, he wanted it to be stylish and impeccable.

Even his self-designed home had his own initials etched into the glass of every single window.

It was this characteristic which led to the detail he insisted on in his pubs. Detail which has seen celebrated venues such as The Philharmonic Dining Rooms as famous for their ornate marble lavatories and incredible ceilings as they are for their beers.

He certainly left everyone involved with the brewery over the next two centuries a lot to live up to.

The 20th Century

Cains _03Robert Cain passed away in 1907 at the age of 81. Such a successful and powerful figure, the brewery lacked something without his drive and passion and in 1921 it merged with Walkers of Warrington.

The new Walker Cains business only lasted two years before the Stanhope Street site and the right to brew Cains ales was sold to Higsons, which kept the Cains brand alive and associated with Liverpool for much of the century.

In 1985, Manchester's powerful Boddington's Brewery purchased the company, only to decide to concentrate on pub ownership five years later and offload all its breweries to Whitbread.

The business was then sold to the Danish Brewery Company, which purchased and re-opened the site. The company later made a strategic decision to pull out of the UK and the brewery was sold again. This time to its current owners.

The 21st Century

Cains _04Robert Cain would have approved of the restoration of entrepreneurial spirit which had been his trademark.

Cains has constantly challenged the dominance of big brands in pubs and on supermarket shelves, securing contracts which has allowed the team to invest in technology and fresh ideas rooted in tradition.

New and innovative beers have been produced to sit alongside the traditional Cain's selection - some of these, such as Cains Fine Raisin Beer and Cains Finest Export Lager opened up new opportunities in unlikely places such as the Tate Galleries and Houses of Parliament and securing several prestigious awards.

This philosophical marriage of old and new, modern equipment and craft techniques, legendary hops and finest ingredients has established one of the most comprehensive ranges of real ales and fine lagers available from any brewery operating in the UK today.

The owners

Cains _05British born entrepreneurs Ajmail and Sudarghara Dusanj were the brewery's saviours in 2002.

Experienced retailers and pub owners, the brothers read about the plight of Cains in The Times and were convinced that the heritage of the brand still had enormous value which could be built upon if they focused on the craft nature of the historic company.

Second generation immigrants raised in the South East and working in the Midlands, the Dusanjs threw themselves into the task of reviving Cains. They are the first British Asians to own a British brewery, which is now a member of the Independent Family Brewers of Britain (IFBB).

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