Consumers Brewery, Bottling Dept, New York

consumers         

Back in the late 1800’s it seems like there’s a Consumers Brewery in every town in America. In New York alone I could find the Consumers Star Brewing Co and the Consumers Park Brewing Co, both in Brooklyn. Manhattan had the Manhattan Consumers Brewing Company and the Consumers Brewing Co, Ltd.

It appears to me that the bottle (by process of elimination) is associated with the Consumers Brewing Co., Ltd for the following reasons:

  • Brooklyn based companies typically embossed the location on their bottles “Brooklyn NY” not “New York”
  • The Manhattan Consumers Brewing Co, 530 W 57th St, was short lived and out of business by 1905 according to the July 1, 1905 issue of the “American Brewers Review”. It looks like Consumers Park Brewing Co bought it out around that time. The bottle I found is machine made and most likely made after 1905.

The Consumers Brewing Company Ltd first appeared in the NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directories in 1890 at 21 Park Row. By 1892 their location had changed to Avenue A between 54th and 55th Streets, where they remained through the late 1920’s. The Directories I could find between 1902 and 1919 listed them as a corporation with capital of $600,000 located at 1011 Avenue A. (Note that originally Avenue A was the name of the north-south street immediately east of First Avenue. It was non-continuous and only existed where it fit geographically between First Avenue and the East River. It once included today’s Sutton Place and York Avenue.)

An October 6, 1912 advertisement in The “Brooklyn Daily Eagle” touted their lager beer.

While another in the October 9, 1915 edition of the same newspaper says “Try Our Columbia and Special Dark Beer.

Also listed separately in each of the Directories between 1902 and 1915 is the Consumers Bottling Co (RTN) located at 402 E 49th Street. Located about 5 blocks from the brewery, it was probably their bottling operation (or department as the bottle is embossed) although there are no principals listed that were associated with both companies.

It looks like Prohibition put an end to brewery operations. On February 23, 1920, they sold most, if not all, of the components associated with their distribution system, including 27 brewery trucks and 37 horses.

The 55th Street brewery complex itself  came to an end sometime in the mid to late 1920’s when it was sold to the Tischman Realty Company. A story in the May 27, 1928 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle entitled “Apartment Block for Brewery Site to Cost $6,000,000” told the story.

Among the large Manhattan building projects to follow deals closed in the boro during the past week is an apartment structure to cover the block front on the west side of Sutton Pl., from 54th to 55th St., which, it is estimated, will involve about $6,000,000.

The site for the building was purchased by the Tischman Realty Co., Inc. from the Consumers Brewing Company, and contains approximately 40,000 square feet.

A NY Daily News aerial photo of the Manhattan brewery complex is presented below.

consumers-photo

The newspaper dates the photograph as 1931, but based on the Brooklyn Eagle story it may have been taken several years earlier.

Eventually Consumers Brewing Company relocated to Long Island City and listed their address as 29-08 Northern Blvd. They were still listed at that location as late as 1940.

Currently, an apartment building occupies the Manhattan brewery site. According to street easy.com it’s a “white glove” coop that was built in 1955, so it’s not the building that originally replaced the brewery. An office tower occupies the bottling plant.

The bottle has an export style and is machine made (12 ounce).