History: Casco Brewery

The McGlinchy brothers were the most popular of local brewers in the 1860s and ‘70s. Both were born in Ireland—Patrick in 1817 and James five years later. They started brewing with John Bradley at South Portland’s Forest City Brewery in 1858. In February of 1860, they left to start their own operation. “Handsome Jimmy” and Patrick built the Casco Brewery on Fore Street, halfway up Munjoy Hill, just south of Waterville Street (at approximately 51 Fore Street, the current location of the Munjoy South Townhouses, across from the Portland Company). There they made stock ale, golden ale, pale ale, and amber ale. Customers were assured that Casco ales were made with water from Sebago Lake; they could pick up their beer at the brewery, as well as depots on Commercial Street and Fore Street. The brothers were quite successful as brewers, but also ran a small empire built around saloons, wholesale liquor, and real estate. They dissolved their brewing partnership in 1872. Patrick built a new brewery on the same site. Both brothers maintained their saloons on Fore and Commercial.

Like other brewers and saloon-owners in the era of the “Maine Law,” Casco Brewery and the McGlinchys occasionally were visited by deputy sheriffs: a city-wide raid in November 1878 meant that one barrel of ale was seized from the brewery.

Casco Brewery on a map of Portland, Maine in 1871
The McGlinchy brothers’ Casco Brewery on Fore Street, directly across from the Portland Company, in 1871. John Harrison’s brewery is located just a few doors down, across Freeman’s Lane. from Atlas of Cumberland County, Maine (New York City: F.W. Beers & Co., 1871)


Will Anderson, The Great State of Maine Beer Book (Portland: Anderson & Sons’ Publishing Co., 1996), 25-8.

Portland Daily Press, 16 Oct 1872.

Portland Daily Press, 13 Nov 1878.