Blues singer Terry Clark tells us a little about this song:
The ballad of the worker's beer was written down by Paddy O'Ryan during the 1922 Irish coal strikes. I discovered it in an old pile of labor literature in 1979 and put it to music. To date, it's still my favorite song to perform.
Radio Labour tells us a bit more:
In the 19th century workers had no access to clean, safe water. What they had was beer – often provided by the boss. But then bosses learned that they culd save money by watering down the workers beer. Paddy O’Ryan wrote a song about how the bosses are aways trying to water down the beer or cut benefits and wages.