The Ceylon Brewery was the first brewery in Sri Lanka.  It was established in 1881 by Sir Samuel Backer as a cottage industry, catering for the British colonial tea plantations in the hill country retreat of Nuwara Eliya. With its cool climate and natural spring water, Nuwara Eilya was the ideal location for a brewery. It acquired limited liability company status in 1911.   

In 1993, the Ceylon Brewery became a subsidiary of Carson Cumberbatch & Co Ltd, a diversified group of Sri Lankan businesses. Considerable re-building was undertaken and the brewery was developed from a family company into the leader and creator of the national beer industry.

Today, the Lion Brewery Ceylon Limited is located just outside the capital Colombo. It is equipped with state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities that enable it to fulfil the increasing demand and export beer to new and current export markets, such as England, Japan and Australia.  

Lion Brewery is the market leader with a share of 82%. All seven brands in its portfolio - Lion Lager, Carlsberg, Carlsberg Special Brew, Lion Stout, Strong Beer, Corona & Somersby - have a substantial market share.



1881 Ceylon Brewery established
Ceylon Brewery becomes limited liability company
Ceylon Brewery becomes subsidiary of Carson Cumberbatch & Co. Ltd.
Carlsberg acquires shareholding in Ceylon Brewery



Breweries: 1
Market Position: 1
Market Share: 82%
Carlsberg Ownership:  25%



Lion Lager, Strong BeerCarlsberg, Carlsberg Special Brew, Somersby and Corona



Lion Brewery Ceylon Limited
No. 254 Colombo Road
Sri Lanka

Tel: +94 11 246 5900
Fax: +94 11 246 5901





  • From 2007 Sri lanka is a complete dark market for alcohol & tobacco produts recent ban on advertising has prevented alcohol companies from undertaking any form of advertising. Even on-trade communications are banned.
  • Lion brewery operates in a limited licensed base of only 2600 outlets in the entire island whilst the total retail universe is approx 170 k outlets 

Revised 2013