Sri Lanka is an island republic off the southeastern coast of India. It was formerly called Ceylon. Brewing began there in 1860 mostly to meet the needs of western tea planters. Sri Lanka’s preferred beer styles have changed little since then, and despite the tropical weather, Sri Lankans are fond of strong stouts.
Sri Lanka is home to more than 21 million people, and although many of them do not drink, the nation’s beer business is competitive. The largest of Sri Lanka’s brewers is the Lion Brewing Company, which produces 83% of the country’s beers. The Danish Carlsberg concern owns 25% of Lion Brewing’s equity. The company exports to the UK, Japan, Australia, and the Maldives. In 1998, it built a new brewery built in Biyagama some 25 km east of Colombo, the country’s largest city, which replaced a century-old, outmoded plant at Nuwara Eliya. Lion Brewing also has a second, smaller facility in Colombo. Three beers constitute the brewery’s portfolio: lager, strong, and stout. Lion Stout, a robust foreign-style stout recalling beers of the mid 1800s, is an impressive beer full of chocolate, rum, and dark fruit flavors at 8% ABV. In addition, the company brews Carlsberg beers.
Sri Lanka’s second brewer is Asia Pacific Breweries, which moved into the country in 2005. It has a brewery at Mawathagama, where it makes a range of Kings beers, including a lager and a stout. The country’s smallest brewer is the Three Coins Brewery in Colombo, which is owned by McCallum. Following the national style preference, it brews Sando Stout.