The Joseph Eppig Brewery started business in 1888 and continued until 1914. The brewery was one of many businesses featured in an article on “Industry and Commerce” published in the May 23, 1908 edition of the Staunton (Va.) Daily Leader. Much of the information and several of the quotes that follow were gleaned from that feature.
The brewery’s founder, Joseph Eppig was born in Germany on June 21, 1844 and came to the United States in 1857.
After working for a number of years on the farm of an uncle who had located near Baltimore, he decided to enter the employ of an elder brother, Leonard Eppig, who had founded a brewery in Brooklyn. Joseph Eppig showed unusual aptitude for the business and speedily was made brewmaster, which important post he held for seventeen years.
Early in the year 1888 Mr. Eppig, who for a long period had cherished hopes of going into business for himself, realized his ambition, and in partnership with Frank Ibert established the Joseph Eppig Brewery…
The 19th of March is a red letter day in the history of the brewery for it was on that date in 1888 that the first delivery of beer was made from that plant
Eppig & Ibert was listed in the 1889 Brooklyn City Directory with an address of Central Avenue, corner of Grove Street but the partnership was short-lived.
In less than twelve months Mr. Eppig bought out his partner, and thereafter was the sole owner.
Ibert would go on to open his own brewery nearby on the corner of Evergreen Avenue and Linden Street.
The Joseph Eppig Brewery office of 176 Grove Street was listed in the Brooklyn directories and later, phone books, up through 1914. The brewery itself ran the entire length of Central Avenue in the block between Grove Street and Linden Street.
Early in the company’s history, they were one of a handful of New York City brewers who supported brewery worker’s demands for shorter hours and ultimately they became one of the first brewers to recognize union labor. Their agreement with the brewers’ union was printed in the April 18, 1892 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. (It certainly highlighted the need for unions at that time!)
AGREEMENT OF UNION BREWERS
The brewers’ union has made an agreement for a year, to take effect today, restricting the employees to union men, making ten hours a day’s work, six days in the week, with two hours on Sunday, with wages at $16 and $18 a week. The Brooklyn breweries affected are those of Frank Ibert, Joseph Eppig, George Grauer, and the Fort Hamilton Company.
The brewery brewed two brands of beer that were only sold locally.
Two brands of beer are there brewed – the “Standard,” a light beer, and the “Wuerzburger,” a dark brew. They are sold on draught and also bottled by the brewery for family and hotel trade. Nothing but lager beer is brewed.
The business of the Joseph Eppig Brewery is confined to local trade and nearby points in Long Island, delivery being had in various distributing centers Hollis, Jamaica, etc.
The business never incorporated. A family operation it was run by Joseph Eppig until his death in September, 1907 after which his family continued the business.
Since the death of its founder the Joseph Eppig Brewery has been conducted by Katherine Eppig, his widow, as executrix of the Joseph Eppig estate. She is assisted by her sons, Theodore C. and C. John, the former being business manager and the latter supervising the practical end of the plant.
In 1914 the Eppig estate sold the brewery. An item announcing the sale appeared in the August 9,1914 edition of the Brooklyn Citizen.
Among the latest Brooklyn transactions are the following: the J. Chr. G. Hupfel Brewing Company, of No. 229 East Thirty-eighth Street, Manhattan, purchased from the estate of Joseph Eppig the plant of the Joseph Eppig Brewing Company in Brooklyn. The property consists of two large brick and one frame structures, occupying an area about 200′ x 500′ in Central Avenue, Grove and Linden Streets.
The bottle I found is champagne style and approximately 12 oz. The embossing includes a trademark that appears to be an eagle with a beer keg dangling from its mouth by means of a short length of rope. Machine made it was likely made in the last 10 years of the business.
On a final note – Joseph’s brother Leonard, also a long-time Brooklyn brewer, was listed in the Brooklyn directories dating back to the early 1860’s. His April 10, 1893 obituary in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle stated:
In 1867 he was instrumental in organizing the firm of Fischer and Eppig, establishing a small brewery on the corner of Central Avenue and George Street…In 1879 he purchased Mr. Fischer’s interest in the firm.
This was certainly the brewery where Joseph served as brewmaster for seventeen years (roughly 1870 to 1887) prior to leaving in 1888 to start the Joseph Eppig Brewery.
Listed at 24 George Street and later at 193 Meserole Street in Brooklyn, I’ve seen it referred to as Leonard Eppig’s Germania Brewery and the Leonard Eppig Brewing Company.
The Eppig name was recently revived by a craft brewery located in San Diego California called J & L Eppig Brewing. According to their web site (eppigbrewing.com) it’s run by members of the Eppig family. Their slogan is:
Eppig Brewing – Established 1866 – Reinvented 2016