Minck Brothers was a mineral water manufacturer and beverage bottler that was active from the 1870’s up through the 1950’s and possibly longer.
According to “The History of Long Island From its Earliest Settlement to Present Time, Vol. III” published in 1902, Henry Minck established the bottling business and was later joined by his brothers Julius, Adolph and Theodore, and a man named George Doscher. Much of this is confirmed in the Brooklyn City Directories.
- Henry Minck was first listed in the 1871 Brooklyn City Directory as soda water with a home address of Yates Place.
- 1875 – Henry’s address moved to Beaver Street, corner of Park Street, the long time location of Minck Brothers and Company.
- 1879 – Julius was listed for the first time as soda water at the Beaver Street address. Adolph Minck was also listed in 1879. Theodore and Peter were also listed at various times in later years.
- 1886 – Minck Brothers & Co was listed for the first time (with the Beaver Street address). Henry, Julius and Theodore were all listed at the Beaver Street address as well.
According to his obituary in the April 24,1925 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Henry retired from active business in 1887. Theodore passed away in 1894, so by the late 1890’s this left Julius and Adolph Minck and George Doscher running the business.
The 1890 Lain’s Business Directory of Brooklyn listed Minck Brothers under the category of Soda & Mineral Water, however, in this July 5, 1891 advertisement in the Brooklyn Citizen, the company called themselves the “largest and best mineral water manufacturers and beer bottlers in the country,” so they were obviously bottling beer at that time as well.
Another 1891 advertisement, this one in the January 4, edition of the Brooklyn Citizen, mentioned Anheuser Busch, Claus Lipsius and Wm. Ulmer as brands they were bottling.
It was their mineral waters however that apparently achieved the company wide spread recognition. Mention of their mineral waters was included in a number of advertisements for high class restaurants and entertainment facilities. One 1903 advertisement for Superba Bowling Parlors which sold themselves as “The Finest, Most Complete High Class Establishment of its Kind in the World,” mentioned “Minck Brothers Mineral Waters” in their advertisement in the same sentence with “”Santiso” Clear Havana Cigars.
Another, this one in 1907, associated the Minck Brothers mineral waters with the opening of the “Broadway Theater Cafe and Rathskeller.”
The business incorporated in New York State on June 8, 1911. The Copartnership and Corporation Directory of the Boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens 1913 – 1914 listed Julius Minck as President, Adolph Minck as Vice President, Henry Minck as Treasurer and Charles Doscher as Secretary. By this time the Henry listed is one of Julius’s sons.
Their facility, located on the corner of Beaver Street and Park Street in the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, maintained addresses on both streets.
A July 7, 1912 feature on Minck Brothers & Co., published in the Brooklyn Citizen described their operation at the time.
The firm of Minck Bros. & Co., located at 45 Beaver Street, Brooklyn is one of the largest concerns in the manufacture of soft drinks in the City of Brooklyn.
The plant occupies a four-story building with a complete equipment of modern sanitary machinery for the manufacture of temperance beverages. All the goods manufactured by the concern comply with the United States Pure Food Laws and have won a reputation for purity and quality excelled by none.
Mr. Julius Mink, proprietor of the concern is the active manager and devotes his personal attention to the supervision of the manufacturing of all his beverages. One of the features of his model plant is a large bottle soaker which is used in the process of washing and cleaning the bottles so that the public is assured of absolute safety in drinking Minck Bros. soft drinks. Over thirty men are employed by the concern. Three motor trucks and twelve delivery wagons are kept busy throughout Brooklyn supplying the trade.
The feature included a rendering of their four story building that was actually located at 34 – 40 Park Street.
Their facility also included the building on the corner that exhibited the Beaver Street address. A 1918 map of this corner shows a courtyard separating the Beaver Street and Park Street buildings. The courtyard gave the business an area for shipping and loading wagons and later trucks. The courtyard between the buildings as well as a canopy attached to the Park Street building is clearly visible in the above rendering of the Park Street building.
The company remained listed at Beaver Street up to 1940 but by 1942 they had moved to 18-26 Bainbridge Street. During this time they were using the name “Minck’s Better Beverages.” By the mid-1960’s I can’t find any listings for them. The corporation was dissolved on July 20, 1983.
Both buildings associated with the Beaver Street/Park Street location still exist to this day. This Google Earth photo of the Park Street building clearly shows the courtyard between the buildings.
I found a tooled blob top (8oz) that looks like a Hutchinson but with a slightly longer neck. It’s embossed “Minck Brothers and Co” so it’s probably no earlier than 1886. I also found a machine made crown, probably from the 1910’s or 1920’s.
Another bottle I found is embossed Minck’s Better Beverages.” It was most likely manufactured in the 1940’s and from the Bainbridge Street location. It was also embossed “Brown Boy,” probably the name of a soda line.