XXXX – The XXXX brand (Everything About The Industry)

XXXX - The XXXX brand (Everything you want to know)

XXXX is a renowned Australian beer brand produced by the Queensland brewers Castlemaine Perkins, which is now a division of Lion, a Japanese-owned company. The beer is brewed in Milton, Brisbane and is highly popular in the state of Queensland, where it is frequently served on-tap in pubs and bars.

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Castlemaine Perkins introduced the XXXX brand in 1924, which pays tribute to the longstanding practice of using Xs to indicate the potency of an ale. The brand name also draws inspiration from XXX Sparkling Ale, which was first introduced in 1878.

A carbon neutral brewery

You can now enjoy a guilt-free XXXX beer knowing that it is brewed at a carbon-neutral brewery. We are committed to preserving the environment, and have taken several measures to achieve our goal.

Our brewery has installed solar panels, purchased carbon credits to offset our carbon footprint, and even temporarily turned our lights green to show our dedication to sustainability.

We are proud of our efforts to reduce our impact on the environment, and we hope that you will raise another XXXX in celebration of our commitment to a better future for the Sunshine State and beyond. Cheers!


Starting in the 1950s, XXXX experienced a period of innovation and growth, spearheaded by Head Brewer Andrew Crooke and the expansion of our brewery.

During this time, we introduced several new brews, including XXXX Lite, Castlemaine 2.2 Bitter, and Castlemaine Special Dry. Additionally, we developed the ‘stubby’ bottle, a more compact and durable design that quickly became a fan favorite. To complement the new bottle, we also created the iconic stubby holder, which Aussies have been using to keep their XXXX cold on hot summer days ever since.

We take pride in our history of innovation and are committed to continuing to create new and exciting products for our loyal customers.

Brand History

The Castlemaine Brewers launched the XXXX brand in 1924. The name was inspired by the town of Castlemaine, Victoria where the company originated in 1857. The label design featuring the town’s name in yellow-and-red was retained over the years. The beer was brewed at the Castlemaine Perkins Milton Brewery from the outset, and the label of bottles and cans featured an artist’s sketch of the brewery which was later stylised. A prominent illuminated ‘XXXX’ sign was erected on the brewery during the 1950s. The name “XXXX” was derived from the traditional grading system used for strong beer.

In 1992, Lion Nathan, an Australian food and beverage company, acquired Castlemaine Perkins. Subsequently, Lion Nathan was taken over by the Japanese beverage conglomerate Kirin in 2009.

In March 2016, the alcohol content of XXXX Bitter was reduced from 4.6% to 4.4% ABV.

Currently sold brands

The XXXX brand offers several types of beers, including:

  • XXXX Bitter: a pale lager with a 4.4% ABV marketed under the XXXX brand. In Queensland, it is commonly known as XXXX Heavy.
  • XXXX Gold: a mid-strength lager with a 3.5% ABV, also available as a lower carb beer. In Queensland, it is referred to as Gold.
  • XXXX Summer Bright Lager: a full-strength low carb beer with a 4.0% ABV, available in both lime and mango flavors.
  • XXXX Dry: an easy-to-drink full-strength lager with a 4.2% ABV.

Limited releases of previously popular beers are occasionally available at the XXXX Alehouse & Restaurant, located on the same site as the brewery. These include Thirsty Dog, a wheat beer from the 1990s, XXXX Draught, a less carbonated version of XXXX Bitter released in the 1970s, Carbine Stout, a stout brewed from 1915 to 2008, and Castlemaine Best IPA, an India Pale Ale first brewed in 1918. In December 2019, the original XXX Sparkling Ale had a limited release in several bars across Brisbane’s CBD, including at the Alehouse.

Other beers that are no longer available include XXXX Light, a lower alcohol beer with a 2.3% ABV, XXXX DL Lager, a lower carbohydrate beer available at 4.4% ABV, and XXXX Gold Australian Pale Ale, which had a 3.5% ABV.


Until 2009, XXXX was brewed under license in the UK by InBev Ltd. It was widely available in cans at British off-licences and occasionally on tap in pubs. The British-brewed XXXX had a lower alcohol content of 3.7% compared to most of the Australian variants. However, the licensing agreement between Castlemaine Brewers and InBev ended in June 2009, leading to the withdrawal of Castlemaine XXXX from the UK market.

Sports sponsorship & Campaigns

XXXX has a strong presence in sports sponsorship and campaigns. They are the major sponsor of the Queensland Maroons in the rugby league State of Origin series, as well as a sponsor of the Queensland Bulls and cricket associations in QLD, SA, ACT, and NT. In addition, XXXX Gold sponsors the Australian V8 Supercars Championship Series and the Professional Bull Riders’ (PBR) Australian branch.

In 2007, XXXX sponsored the XXXX Gold Beach Cricket Tri-Nations series, featuring famous cricketers from Australia, England, and the West Indies. The brand has also been involved in other promotional events, such as the XXXX Angels at Eastern Creek Raceway in Sydney.

One of their most notable campaigns was the three-year lease on Pumpkin Island on the Southern Great Barrier Reef, which they transformed into XXXX Island for advertising and promotional events between 2012 and 2015.

The missing X

For many a XXXX drinker, the question of what the Xs in XXXX stand for has long been a mystery. However, the answer lies in the history of beer quality. In the early days of the brewery, beer quality was graded by Xs. The first beer produced by the brewery was the XXX Sparkling Ale, which was awarded three Xs – a respectable rating at the time. But the brewers knew they could do better. In 1893, they perfected the recipe, earning a fourth X and establishing the iconic name of XXXX that has been beloved ever since.

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