Obermeyer and Liebmann Bot’g Dept, New York City

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According to Times Newsweekly.com, Samuel Liebmann established the S L Liebmann brewery in 1855. Upon his retirement in 1870, he turned the brewery over his sons. Around the same time he established a 2nd brewery for his two sons-in-law. The brewery, called Obermeyer and Liebmann started shipping beer in 1868 and operated independently of S L Liebman’s Sons until 1924 when it was merged into that company. The name of the combined company was called Liebman Breweries, Inc.

This information is generally confirmed in the Brooklyn City Directories. The first listing I can find for Obermeyer & Liebmann was in the 1871 Brooklyn City Directory (They are not listed in 1869 and I don’t have access to 1870). Subsequently they were listed in many business directories between 1871 and 1922 almost always using Bremen Street as a location. The Copartnership and Corporation Directory of the Boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens 1913-1914 named Theodore Obermeyer Pres, Henry Liebmann VP and Joseph Obermeyer Treas. The 1922 edition  of the same directory listed the same officers but lists the address as 50 Stanwix. It should be noted that Bremen Street was renamed Stanwix Street so I assume that the actual location remained the same. By 1924, Liebman Breweries was the name listed in the NY Telephone Directory.

Obermeyer & Liebman incorporated in 1889. The NY Times reported on January 16, 1889:

The firm of Obermeyer and Liebmann was incorporated today with a capital of $300,000 to operate in New York and Brooklyn in the manufacture of malt and malt liquors. The trustees are Joseph Liebmann, Theodore Obermeyer and Henry Liebmann.

A legal notice dated February 8,1893 and found in the March 3, 1893 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle stated:

Obermeyer and Liebmann do hereby certify that they are engaged in the manufacture of malt liquor for sale in butts, hogsheads, barrels, half barrels, casks, quarter casks, or kegs with their name or other private marks respectively branded or stamped thereon. That the following is a description of the name used and other private marks or marks branded and stamped or to be branded and stampedthereon, to wit:

OBERMEYER & LIEBMANN, BKLYN NY

That the county in which such malt liquor is manufactured is the County of Kings – Dated February 8, 1893.

While this appears to be their bottle registration notice, it doesn’t match the embossing on the bottles I’ve found. Among other things, the bottles I’ve found are embossed “New York City”, not “Brooklyn”. It’s possible that their registration was revised after Brooklyn became part of NYC in 1899.

I haven’t found many advertisements for their brands, but one I did find from 1893 lists their company name and “Bock Beer”.

A June 21, 1921 article in the “Beverage Journal” provided a review of brewery activities (during prohibition) and stated that Obermeyer and Liebmann were making cereal beverages. Apparently hit hard by National Prohibition, they auctioned off many if not all of their store front properties in 1923. I found a notice for one such auction in the May 8, 1923 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

More information on Liebmann Breweries, Inc., post 1924, is included in the post on this site entitled “S L Liebmann Sons.”

Bremen (now named Stanwix St) intersected with Forrest Street. Located at 67 Bremen St, the brewery was literally next door to S Liebmann’s Sons.

I’ve found quite a few Obermeyer and Liebmann bottles over the years, most embossed with a sunshine face? They are champagne style bottles and include tooled blobs from the late 1800’s to early 1900’s, tooled crowns from the 1900’s to 1910’s (including one embossed with a triangle shape) and machine made crowns that date closer to 1920. I’ve also found a machine made blob top (only one of two I’ve ever seen from this era).

S Liebmann’s Sons Brewing Co., NY

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In 1854 Samuel Liebmann arrived in the US from Germany and according to company advertisements established a brewing business the following year.

For the next 100+ years his family continued to operate in Brooklyn. Over the years the business was listed in the Brooklyn Directories under the following names:

  • 1858 to 1868 – Samuel, and later his sons, were listed individually as brewers
  • 1869 to 1871 – S. Liebmann & Sons
  • 1875 to 1887 – S Liebmann’s Sons
  • 1889 to 1922 – S Liebmann’s Sons Brewing Co
  • 1924 and later – Liebmann Breweries

According to Times Newsweekly.com, In 1855 Samuel Liebmann began with a small rented brewery on Meserole Street producing approximately 2000 barrels. At the same time he bagan construction of a new brewery in Bushwick on Bremen Street between Noll, Forest and Montieth Streets that he operated until his retirement in 1870. At this point he turned the business over to his three sons, Joseph, Henry and Charles. Over the next 35 years they grew the business, acquiring the P Schoenwald Brewery in 1878, the Ridgewood Park Brewery in 1891 and the Claus Lipsius Brewery in 1902. Over this span their annual output grew from 39,000 barrels in 1877 to 200,000 barrels in 1902. In 1905 all three sons retired together and turned the business over to their sons; Adolph, David, Charles, Julius, Samuel and Alfred.

The Corporation and Copartnership Directory of the Boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens 1913-1914 listed David as President, Julius, Adolph and Samuel as VP’s and Charles as Secretary and the address as 36 Forest. This is typically the address the business listed for the brewery complex in the various directories.

The pre-Prohibition growth of the business over this period is demonstrated by an advertisement printed in the May 19, 1912 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. It contained a map depicting the size of the brewery in 1912 and stated:

This drawing shows the great space now occupied by the S. Liebmann’s Sons Brewery, Brooklyn. 58 years ago it occupied but one small building.

Another advertisement, this one in February of 1909, actually showed a picture of their plant at the time.

Around this time, S. Liebmann’s Sons claimed they had the largest bottling establishment in the East and they were continuing to expand. A February 20, 1909 story in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle documented the Bottling Department’s growth.

The S. Liebmann’s Sons Brewing Company are again building an addition to their already huge plant in the Eastern District. The buildings already occupy four city blocks. The demand for their product is growing to such an extent that this year they have been required to enlarge the Bottling Department. The building is now in the course of construction.

The Liebmann bottling Establishment has for many years been the largest in the East, rivaling the big concerns of the West. The growth of the plant is commensurate with the growing demand for their popular Rheingold beer.

When the the company introduced their famous brand name, Rheingold, is not clear to me. A story in the June 27, 1893 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle talked about Liebmann’s exhibit at the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, mentioning Rheingold specifically, so it dates back at least that far.

The Liebmanns have acquired, during long years of experience, a thorough knowledge of the tastes of the beer drinking public and have developed from this knowledge the two brands so widely associated with their name, their Wuerzburger dark beer and the Rheingold, their pale table lager.

The article goes on to say that:

The Liebmann lager was awarded a premium at the Centennial, in Philadelphia, in 1876. The report of the reward was as follows:

The undersigned, having examined the product herein described, respectfully recommend the same to the United States centennial commission for award for the following reasons, viz.: Perfect in brightness, excellent in taste and flavor. Grude Marx, judge. Approved by Group Judges John Bradford, W.C. Kerr, E.H. Baumham, R.T. Brown, Juan Morphy, W.S. Greene, G.F. Secchi de Casals, H.G. Joly, Dr. Nicolan Morcera.

Given by authority of the United States centennial commission.

A.T. Goshorn, director general

Based on this it’s clear that the beer itself dates back to the 1870’s. However, at this point the story refers to the beer as the “Liebmann lager” so whether it was actually branded as Rheingold back then is open to interpretation.

A 1912 photograph of Moeschle’s Cafe in Ridgewood Queens indicated Rheingold was well accepted as a brand by that time.

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A June 21, 1921 article in the “Beverage Journal” provided a review of brewery activities (during prohibition) and stated that S Liebmann’s Sons were making ice, cereal beverages, root beer and cider.

One product they attempted to market in the early 1920′ was called “Scotch Brew” Their advertisements called it:

A malt and hops brew, made by a rare Scotch formula that dates back to 1740 – yet within the law!

The company actually ran promotions to try and stimulate sales. One offered a free bottle of Scotch Brew to anyone having lunch or dinner in the hotels and restaurants of New York on November 22, 1922.

Another offered a free bottle to anyone buying specific products from grocery stores and delicatessens on May 2, 1923. Apparently a bust, soon after the Scotch Brew advertisements ceased for good.

Hit hard by National Prohibition as early as May of 1922 they began auctioning off their retail properties. A story in the May 21, 1922 issue of the New York Times introduced one such auction.

S. Liebmann’s Sons Brewing Company will dispose of twenty-two Brooklyn properties consisting of stores, business buildings, flats, tenements and vacant lots, including ten corners at auction on Tuesday evening, May 23, at 8 o’clock, in the Brooklyn Real Estate Exchange, 189 Montague Street., by the Jere Johnson Jr. Company, auctioneers.

The advertisement associated with the auction appeared in the newspapers as well.

At least two more auctions of similar size followed, one in January of 1923 and the other in June of 1923.

In 1924“Obermeyer and Liebmann” was merged into S Liebmann’s Sons under the name of Liebmann Breweries, Inc. Their new trademark included “Liebmann Breweries” written in a semi-circle. Later, at the end of Prohibition in 1933 it appears they registered another trademark that included a circled “L”.

    

Their license to brew beer at the end of Prohibition was posted in the June 1933 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

Liebmann Breweries was ready when beer sales were allowed again on June 1, 1933. In fact, according to a story in the March 29, 1933 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, at the end of March they began bottling and storing the real thing.

It is at Liebmann’s Brewery, at 36 Forest St., that the floodgates of beer have been unloosed. Blessed with particularly ample storage space, the Liebmann brewers halted the making of near-beer on Friday and began bottling the real thing – to the extent of 3.2 alcoholic percent – yesterday. And, said Thomas Buechner, chief of the sales and advertising staff, the bottling will continue and the beer will be stored, at the rate of something like 2,500,000 bottles a week until the law says that it may be sold.

The story went on to say that just prior to Prohibition, Liebmann’s had absorbed many famous brands of beer and breweries including Welz & Zerwick, George Ehret’s, Beadleston & Woerz and the Krumenaker Bottling Works and some 30 other brands and that they will now be bottled as Liebmann’s.

The business continued to expand after Prohibition, acquiring the John Eichler Brewing Co, Trommer’s Orange NJ plant and two breweries in California that were owned by Acme Breweries.

In 1964 the family sold the business to Pepsi-Cola United Bottlers who changed the name to Rheingold Breweries Inc. Chock Full ‘O Nuts Corporation bought the Brewery in 1974 and closed the Brooklyn plant in 1976. I’ve read that the entire brewery site is being parceled up and sold for future development.

I’ve found quite a few S Liebmann bottles over the years, all embossed S Liebmann’s Sons Brewing Co, so they date between 1889 and 1924. They include tooled blobs from the late 1800’s to early 1900’s, tooled crowns from the 1900’s to 1910’s and machine made bottles that date closer to 1920. All are champagne style. I’ve also found a Liebmann Breweries, Inc. export style bottle with the post prohibition, circled “L” trade mark.

Kandel & Gordon, 42-50 N Beach 86th St, Rockaway Beach, NY

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Harry Kandel and Harry Gordon were successors to George Bennett’s long time Far Rockaway soda business (1877 to 1920).

The following article appeared in the April 8, 1920 edition of the Wave. It appears introductory in nature and implies that this would be their first summer season.

Kandel &Gordon, the successors of George Bennett in the old established bottling and mineral water works propose keeping fully abreast of the times in using appliances and methods which are the latest to be devised in this now important industry, and they are getting into readiness to handle a tremendous business during the coming season. Every indication is that they will be severely taxed despite their extensive facilities, but they propose to make superior goods and dependable service their first and consistant policy no matter what conditions confront them. Their business experience and code of policies assure customers of Kandel & Gordon the best that is obtainable in that line.

They were listed in the Brooklyn and Queens section of the 1920 NY Telephone Directory and in the 1922 Copartnership and Corporation Directory for Brooklyn and Queens. Both listed Hammels, Rockaway as their location. Hammels is a section of the Rockaway Peninsula that includes Beach 86th Street. The business is no longer listed in 1924.

Advertisements in the Wave during the early twenties mentioned ginger ale, lemon and cream sodas.

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In August of 1922 they were fined $105. (50 cents per bottle) for using bottles owned by the Schneider Company of 181–183 Stockholm Street. (another bottler found on the bay). My math says K&G were using 210 of their bottles.

The system of addresses has apparently changed because there’s no N on any Beach 86th St addresses. I assume the N meant north of Rockaway Beach Blvd. Most of this area today is residential. The most likely location of this business is at the very north end between Beach Channel Drive and Jamaica Bay.

I found one 8oz bottle. It’s machine made and that’s consistent with early 20’s manufacture.

Finkenstadt & Kaufmann, Long Island City, NY

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Finkenstadt & Kaufmann, a soda water business, apparently started in the mid-1920’s. They were listed in the 1924 Brooklyn Queens Telephone Book at 235 Broadway and  between 1925 and 1928 were listed at 34-11 7th Avenue. They were not listed in the 1920 Telephone Book or in the 1922 Copartnership and Corporation Directory for Brooklyn and Queens.

It’s not clear when the business ended but the fact that I’ve never seen one of their bottles on the Internet makes me think they weren’t around much past the early 1930’s.

Census records lead me to believe that William Finkenstadt was one of the proprietors. Born in 1890, 1910 records listed his occupation as a driver for his father’s mineral water business in Manhattan. In the 1930 records he was living in Queens and the operator of a mineral water business, presumably Finlelstadt & Kaufmann. By 1940, his wife Helen was listed as a widow, further indication that the business most likely ended in the 1930’s.

Seventh Avenue was renamed 36th Street in Long Island City but I’m not able to relate the former business address to a current location.

The bottle I found is machine made (27 oz) which fits with a mid to late 1920’s manufacture date.

 

Peter Doelger, Brewer, New York

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Peter Doelger’s obituary, published in the December 16, 1912 issue of the New York Tribune, provides some information on his life and the early years of his brewery.

Mr. Doelger was born at Kleinwallstadt, in the province of Oberfranken, Bavaria, on March 3, 1832. His father conducted in the village a small but prosperous brewery, in which he made a dark brown beer whose fame spread beyond the province. Peter Doelger was one of six children all of whom learned the trade in their father’s brewery. In 1850 Mr. Doelger came to New York to join his brother, Joseph, who proceeded him by two years. The following year Mr. Doelger went to Savannah, but with his brother soon returned to this city and started a brewery in 2d Street between Avenue A and Avenue B. In 1859 Peter started a brewery for himself, and the same year married Miss Margarethe Lambrecht.

There being very few breweries in the city at that time, the one operated by Peter Doelger grew amazingly, his beer becoming so popular that in 1863 it was necessary for him to purchase four lots in East 55th Street, between First Avenue and Avenue A. Today there stands the big brewery that embraces the entire block between 55th and 56th Streets, First Avenue and Avenue A. It is said to be one of the most modern breweries in the country.

The early New York City directories generally confirm the above information. In the mid 1850’s, Joseph Doelger is listed as a brewer at 156 3rd St (not 2nd St). In 1859 Peter Doelger is listed for the first time as brewer at 93 Avenue A.

Between 1860 and 1863, the business of Doelger and Schaefer, brewers, was listed with two addresses: 98 Avenue A and East 55th Street, near Avenue A.  By 1865, the Doelger and Schaefer name was gone and Peter Doelger, brewer, was listed at East 55th Street where it remained until the late 1920’s.

After his death, his sons Peter Jr. and Charles continued to run the business. Around this time, it appears that the business was also incorporated. The 1914 Copartnership and Corporation Directory lists the business as the Peter Doelger Brewing Co., Inc., located at 407 E 55th Street. Peter Jr. was named president and Charles was secretary.

Doelger referred to his brewery as Peter Doelger’s First Prize Brewery and his beer was called Peter Doelger’s First Prize Beer. An 1879 advertisement compares sales in 1877 – 78 to 1878 – 79.

 

Available on draught from the start in 1859, they began bottling it in 1911. A May 9, 1911 advertisement touted: “Science Triumphant at Peter Doelger’s Magnificent New Bottling Department.” In part the advertisement read:

With the scraping of trowels and the clanking of hammers barely stilled, the most scientifically equipped and sanitarily perfect bottling plant in the world stands ready for the push of the electric button which will set its wonderful machinery in motion.

On May 9th, the New Bottling Department of the Peter Doelger First Prize Brewery will begin to bottle its peerless product expressly for the home…

For more than half a century, Peter Doelger First Prize Beer has held undisputed supremacy over all other brews. Since 1859 this healthful liquid food has been drawn directly from the barrel to delight the palate of the connoisseur.

Today, thanks to the unceasing efforts of our experts, aided by the remarkable advance of science, Peter Doelger First Prize Beer will for the fist time be sold to you in bottles; a worthy tribute to the brewers and bottlers highest art.

Another advertisement, this one in 1916, now called it “First Prize Bottled Beer” and touted it as “The one beer that is worth it’s weight in gold as a nerve, body and strength builder.

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Brooklyn Daily Eagle advertisements from March 9, 1924 and August 8, 1926 demonstrate that they were brewing near-beer under the Doelger name during Prohibition.

Sometime in the late 1920’s The business sold the East 56th Street brewery and moved to Brooklyn. A September 1, 1929 article in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle referenced the Doelger Brewery in an article that discussed the trend of old brewery sites on Manhattan’s east side being replaced with apartment buildings.

The Doelger brewery property is on the block bounded by Sutton, 1st Ave., 55th and 56th Sts., held at $5,500,000 and is reported to be sold to builders for re-improvement with fine apartment houses. The site is 200×613.

Around this time, the business moved to Monteith Street and Evergreen Avenue in Brooklyn then, in 1936, they leased the Hauch Brewery in Harrison NJ. The Harrison N.J. location was included on this 1937 advertisement.

The brewery closed in 1947 or 1948.  An item in the April 13, 1948 issue of the Plainfield Courier News declared the business bankrupt.

Federal Judge Thomas F. Meaney yesterday declared the Peter Doelger Brewing Corporation of Harrison bankrupt and ordered it liquidated.

A tall modern residential building currently occupies the Manhattan brewery site. It’s not old enough to be the building that originally replaced the brewery

The bottle I found is machine made and dates no earlier than 1911 when their bottling plant opened.

Peter had a brother Joseph whose family also operated a brewery on 55th Street at 234 East 55th Street. The brewery was originally listed in the directories under Joseph Doelger (1904 and earlier) and later under Joseph Doelger’s Sons (1907 and later).

Dingwell Bros, 1017-25 Greene Ave, Brooklyn NY

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The business was first listed in the 1908 Brooklyn City Directory as Dingwell Brothers, waters, located at 1025 Greene Avenue. The business was listed in the Copartnership and Corporation Directory of the Boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens 1913-1914 as Francis S and Henry C Dingwell, 1017 &1025 Greene Ave.

It looks like the Dingwells sold the business sometime in 1917. An article in the July 1917 1ssue of the “American Bottler” stated that Dingwell Brothers has been incorporated with a capital stock of $10,000 to manufacture soda and mineral water. Incorporators are Martha Rosenberg, Abraham Sussman and Max Sussman. Several months later on November 18, 1917 Henry Dingwell passed away.

Dingwell Brothers was one of many Brooklyn and Long Island Bottlers of Beverages that “patriotically contributed” advertising space in the June 27, 1918 edition of the “Brooklyn Daily Eagle”. The advertisement contained a plea from Uncle Sam to Brooklynites to sign a pledge card to purchase war savings stamps to fund the war effort.

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By 1925 the business had moved to 62 Stanhope Street.

According to this advertisement in March of 1934, at the end of prohibition Dingwell began bottling beer as well as soda. “Wholesale distributors leading brands of bottled beer at brewery prices.”

It looks like the business remained active, at least into the mid – 1940’s. A 1945 classified ad by Dingwell in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle was looking for Route Men for bottle, beer and soda runs. At that time, they were still located on Stanhope St.

Today, Greene Avenue in this area still exhibits old one-story buildings with garage type door openings that could have been used by the Dingwell facility.

The bottle I found is a machine made quart (28 oz) with the Greene Ave address. It dates no later than the mid-1920’s when the company moved to Stanhope Street.

 

Wm Dieckman & Son, 59-63 Stockholm St, Brooklyn NY

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“A History of Long Island From Its Settlement to Recent Time” Vol 3 by Peter Ross; published in 1902 included a short biography of Frederick William Ernst Dieckman. The biography contains the following paragraph about the start and early years of his mineral water business:

In 1878 he began the manufacture of mineral water at No. 125 Elm Street, there conducting a successful business until 1884 in which year he purchased the three lots at No.s 59, 61 and 63 Stockholm Street. There he erected the dwelling and other buildings used in his manufacturing business and in addition he secured the accessories and other conveniences for the successful operation of his trade. In his undertaking he has prospered and the volume of his business is constantly increasing.

The early Brooklyn City Directories confirm and add a little to the story. William Dieckman was first listed in the 1880 Directory at 125 Elm Street. He was also listed as pop/beer and vinegar in the 1883 and 1884 Directories respectively. By 1886 he was listed at the 63 Stockholm address as vinegar and by 1890 he was listed primarily as a bottler of soda and/or mineral water. During these yearly years he was sometimes listed as having two n’s in his last name.

Around 1899 the son, also William, becomes associated with the business. The 1899 Trow Business Directory refers to the business as Wm Dieckman and Son and the 1902 General Directory lists both William and William Jr at the Stockholm Street address. Sadly, William Jr died prematurely of pneumonia in June of 1911 at the age of 36.

The business is still listed in the 1929 Brooklyn Red Book but I haven’t been able to find any listings in the 1930’s. Born in 1844, William Sr would have been in his 80’s by then.

Dieckman was one of several bottlers who incorporated the Brooklyn and Long Island Bottler’s Protective Union. The April 13, 1890 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported:

The Brooklyn and Long Island Bottler’s Protective Union has been incorporated by James Ward, Hugh Goodwin, George Russell, William Dieckman, Charles Maurer, John J. Dunn, F.W. Witt, J.F. Knoble, Daniel Bahr, Ebenezer Seely, P. Klein, George Bohlen and Henry Ahrens, of this city; Robert Finan of Long Island City, and Phillip Schweickert, of Coney Island.

Today, the Stockholm Street address is a vacant lot.

The one bottle I found is machine made, quart size (27 oz) probably from the last decade of the business.

I came across a humorous episode involving Dieckman in an item printed under the heading “Court News” in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. Published in the February 17, 1881 Issue, it occurred early in his career.

William Dieckman is a dealer in root beer in the Eastern District, and he left the compound at various candy stores and other places where the stuff is sold. One Frederick Feltman was also interested in the root beer business, and Dieckman charged him with stealing his beer bottles and substituting his own in their place. He caused his arrest, but on the hearing before Justice Semler the complaint was dismissed, because it appeared that the Dieckman business really belonged to Mrs. Dieckman. Then the lady in the case had Feltman arrested on the same complaint, but that case was also dismissed by the justice. Now Feltman took his innings in the game and sued Mr. and Mrs. Dieckman for $5,000 each for false imprisonment and malicious prosecution. The case was tried yesterday afternoon before Judge Reynolds and a jury. The suit against Mrs. Dieckman was dismissed, and in the suit against the husband the jury gave Feltman a verdict for six cents damages. Honors may be said to be easy between the root beer litigants.

Consumers Brewery, Bottling Dept, New York

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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).

 

The City Bottling Works of New York, Henry Downes 1873

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According to his obituary in the December 15, 1905 edition of “The American Bottler” Henry Downes was one of the first makers of ginger ale in the US.

Henry Downes, the veteran bottler, died at his home, 429 Henry Street, Brooklyn on the 23rd, at the age of 72 years.

He was a native of County Clare, Ireland, and came to this country when a young man, and as a pioneer in the soda water business was one of the first manufacturers of ginger ale in this country.

He was one of the original members of the Bottlers’ and Manufacturers’ Association of New York.

Henry Downes was first listed in the 1870/1871 Trow New York City Directory at 411 1st Avenue with the occupation minerals. A year later, he was listed as a bottler at the same address. In 1873-74 he changed his address to 404 E 25th St. (on the same block but on the other side of First Avenue) with the following description:

manufacturer of Belfast Ginger Ale, Honey Mead Soda, Sarsaparilla, Fruit Syrups and Extracts; also original manufacturer of Extract of Ginger Ale.

He was still listed at that address through 1888. In 1890/91 he was listed as a bottler in Brooklyn at 98 Wycoff Street. He was still listed at this address in 1897 but as an agent, not a bottler.

Downes held the rights to at least two patents. One (No. 145139), dated December 2, 1873, and held jointly with Frederick W. Wiesenbrock was for “a fountain for soda water.” The other (196437 A) was for improvements in vent faucets for bottles, Filing Date: May 31,1877, Publication Date: October 23,1877.

Another obituary, this one in the November 25, 1905 issue of the New York Sun, said that Downes was a writer and lecturer, and for many years was connected with the Bottlers Gazette.

Today this area of First Avenue in Manhattan is heavily occupied by NYU. Their College of Dentistry occupies the former 411 First Avenue address. The 25th Street address is just east of First Avenue and is also occupied by a modern building.

The bottle I found is a pony style with an applied blob finish. Its embossed  with the date of 1873 which puts it on the bubble between the First Avenue and East 25th Street locations. I’ve seen bottles embossed with the Wycoff Avenue address on the Internet but have not found one.

California Bottling Co, 142 King St, Brooklyn NY

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The first listing I can find for the California Bottling Co. was in the 1922 Copartnership and Corporation Directory for the Boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens however, based on the patent application below it appears that the business started around 1920. This is confirmed in a June 10, 1920 article in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle that described an accident involving a truck owned by the California Bottling Co. The business continued to be listed in various Brooklyn Directories up to and including 1931.

According to 1922 issues of the “Beverage Journal” and the “Soda Fountain” under the heading “soft drinks and syrups” the California Bottling Co patented the design and the word “click” for non-alcoholic, non-cereal, maltless beverages sold as soft drinks and syrups for making same. Used since: February 1, 1920, Filed: February 28, 1922, Published: July 18, 1922 and Registered: October 17, 1922.

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Starting in the mid-1920’s through 1931, the Click Cola Bottling Company was listed in various directories with the same address and telephone number as the California Bottling Co.

I’ve seen bottles on the Internet embossed Click Cola (in script) Bottling Co., with the 142 King Street address looking very much like a classic Coca-Cola bottle. An Internet bottle site stated that Coke sued them for infringement and put them out of business. I can’t confirm this.

Today 142 King Street is a one story building with two garage door size openings. Property Shark.com states that it was built in 1931 so it was most likely not utilized by the business.

The bottle I found is machine made (8 oz) with California Bottling Co embossed inside a large horseshoe. There is no mention of “Click” Cola. It fits with a mid 1920’s time frame.