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Celebrating 80 years of Cisk 6/19/2008

Cisk Lager, the iconic Maltese beer brand, celebrates its 80th birthday this year, 80 years that are closely linked to Malta’s history and its industrial and economic evolution.


Born 80 years ago, Cisk Lager was launched by the Malta Export Brewery, originally as Cisk Pilsner.


The history of Cisk however started much earlier than that, when Malta’s first privately-owned bank was established by Giuseppe Scicluna in 1840.


In those days the average businessman, and indeed the ordinary man in the street, hoarded their hard-earned cash either in a brass-bound box under the bed or concealed in various leather pouches hidden in their clothes. At most, it would be handed over to the bank to be placed in a vault and to be withdrawn as the need arose. Mistrusting bank notes and demanding bags of coins, it was only when the bank’s customers realized that they too could pay creditors with notes, that the customers agreed to operate current accounts with Scicluna’s Bank against which they could draw cheques.


Very soon, semi-literate depositors coming in from various country districts, who found difficulty in pronouncing the word ‘cheques’, corrupted the word into ‘cisk’. Giuseppe Scicluna himself soon became known as Ic-Cisk (The Cisk).


In 1928 Scicluna’s Bank took over the operations of one of its clients who was granted a temporary exclusive licence to manufacture Pilsner and Munchener type beers. The company became known as The Malta Export Brewery and the story of Cisk began.


The Malta Export Brewery merged with Simonds Farsons Limited in 1948 to become Simonds Farsons Cisk.


Cisk Lager has since become a key brand in the portfolio of the company winning several major international awards over the years.


Among the most significant, Cisk Lager won the UK’s Brewex Competition in 1980 when it was awarded gold medals in the ‘Lager’ and ‘Best Overall’ categories. In 1995 Cisk Lager received the top prize in the Australian Beer Awards and was presented with the Pfizer Food Science Trophy for the lager obtaining the highest number of votes in the same competition. Ten years later, Cisk Lager placed second in the International Lager Competition category, Class 1, of The Brewing Industry International Awards 2005. In 2007 was awarded the World’s Best Standard Lager title by Beers of the World – an international consumer beer magazine, written by the world’s leading beer writers.


“We are extremely proud of these international awards,” says Farsons Group CEO Mr Louis A Farrugia. “They confirm the company’s commitment to continue giving customers a beer of excellent quality with a rich tradition and heritage.”


Cisk Lager is a golden-coloured, bottom-fermented lager with a distinctive and well-balanced character, with its recipe remaining unchanged since the original 1928 Cisk Pilsner. It is brewed to the highest standards using only the choicest raw materials.


However the company has not rested on its laurels. Bringing innovation to the local market, Simonds Farsons Cisk introduced Cisk Export, a premium smooth-tasting version of the beer, in 1997. This beer has gone on to become the company’s flagship export beer, also available in the United States. Cisk Excel, a low-carb version of the original Cisk but with the same great taste, was introduced last year with unprecedented success. These additional members of the Cisk family are also holders of international awards in their own right.