The Maltese brewery of Simonds Farsons Cisk Ltd.

There remains just one place where you can still find the Simonds name and the Trade Mark red Hop Leaf in use. 

PrintThe current company website is HERE

Early Years

In 1875, H&G Simonds appointed an agent to help them to supply the British Army Garrison and in 1890 this became a branch office, importing wines, spirits & bulk beer from the Reading Brewery for local bottling & distribution.

Meanwhile, Lewis Farrugia’s company L. Farrugia & Sons, later Farsons was the key supplier of the liquid CO2 needed to carbonate Simonds’ beers locally. Farsons opened its own brewery in Hamrun on 19th April 1928, selling ‘Pale Ale’ with great success. Seeing ‘trouble ahead’ Eric Simonds decided to join forces with the Farrugia family and together they founded Simonds Farsons Ltd in March 1929. Joined in 1948 by the Scicluna family’s Cisk Brewery to create the firm still trading today, Simonds Farsons Cisk.

This was the initial artwork & logo, as used on the share certificates then issued:

Here are some images of the H&G Simonds offices on Palazzo Ferreria, Kingsway, Valletta. This grainy image is taken from Barnards History of British Breweries of 1890.

This from about 1900

This from about 1920

This image was taken on the same spot in May 2019 of the Simonds family during the 90th celebrations! Slight changes to the entrance are the result of heavy damage to the facade during WW2.

In the early years from 1875, the main Simonds depot was at Marsa, located at the top of the Grand Harbour.  You can just see the ‘Simonds’ name above the 2nd balcony in this image from about 1900: This is the depot from the other side, about 1910:

And again of the same site in 2018.

90th Anniversary

In May 2019, Simonds Farsons Cisk celebrated 90 years since the founding of the original business in 1929.  It was founded by my grandfather. Frederick [Eric] Simonds and Lewis Farrugia.  The Malta Brewery produced a delightful abbreviated history featuring the cooperation between the two families and of the business they had the foresight to create. You can read it HERE:

Mhriehel Brewery

This is a 1960’s view of the brewery in Mriehel that was inaugurated by the then Governor, Sir John Creasy in June 1950.

Farsons Mriehel

There are also some images of the offices in Valletta on the timeline page HERE.

Farsons adopted the logo of Neptune, using a likeness taken from the bronze statue that stands in the Palace of Valetta, later entwined with the Simonds HopLeaf.  But always with a sense of humour – – –

Transport

Malta presented almost unique challenges for  a brewer to transport his heavy cargo around the very narrow alleyways and steep slopes of the old town.

Here is an early ‘solution’ dating to about 1895:

It called for innovative solutions that you can read about in this article from ‘The Brewers Guardian of 1958.  CLICK HERE

The wonderful ‘Scarab’ 3 wheeler and trailer have been lovingly restored and still trundles round the island!

Relics?

There are still even now a few relics of the old Simonds brand in Malta. If you find more – do please send them in to load here:

I took this image on the corner of South & Strait Streets, close to the old offices in 2008

 

Advertising

If you are in need of a good laugh – have a watch of these fabulous early cinema adverts for Cisk Lager.  They would likely be censored these days!  Click on the image to view:

Marketing

Here are a few samples of the Hop Leaf Trade Mark adapted for Malta, across the decades:

 

 

The Malta Tramway had a chequered history, running from 1905 – 1929

Their trams provided a popular travelling billboard for Simonds beers

Malta Simonds tram 1

Floriana

Malta Simonds tram 3
Valetta – Zebbug line 1927
Tramway Car c1910
Tramway Car 6 May 1927
Tramway Car 11 c1905
Tramway Car 10 c1920
Tramway Car 6 c1926
Tramway Car 4 c1910
Tramway Car 1 Jan 1912
Tramway Car 1 c1905

 

There was even a Simonds Farsons outpost in Benghazi, Libya.

During WW2 when the Allies re-took Benghazi, they needed beer for the many 1000’s of troops fighting in North Africa, So invited Simonds Farsons to move into an abandoned Italian brewery.

Simonds Libya