Established on November 29, 1897, the Consumers’Park Brewing Company was a syndicate of saloon owners that operated Brooklyn’s Consumers’ Park Brewery from 1900 until 1913. This early 1900’s photograph of the brewery recently appeared on an internet sale site.
The circumstances that lead up to the formation of the company were laid out in a December 23, 1897 story published in Brooklyn’s “The Standard Union.”
The production of beer and ale by the large breweries during the past few years has reached an output that hardly seems possible. The output has become centered in the hands of a few large brewers, who by combination have put the output in their own control. A number of the heavy consumers, including a class of dealers who use from 1,000 to 5,000 barrels annually, conceived of an idea of forming a syndicate to manufacture for their own use beer and ale, thus accruing to themselves the profit that heretofore went to the large brewers. It was this proposition that first gave life to what has now become a regularly incorporated company since November 29, 1897, under the name of “The Consumers’ Park Brewing Company…”
The company’s plan, which included much more than just the manufacture and distribution of their own beer, was detailed in a January 13, 1898 “Brooklyn Daily Eagle” story.
The block bounded by Franklin and Washington Avenues, and Montgomery Street, is owned by the company. It is in one of the best parts of the city and adjoins Institute Park and the Botanical Gardens. It is but a stones throw from the Willink entrance of Prospect Park. On this site an immense brewery will be erected, but its promoters say there will be nothing about it in appearance that will not be in keeping with the location. Architecturally the brewery will be an ornament. The grounds around it will be beautifully laid out in walks and drives and here and there a fountain. A hotel will be built with broad verandas running around it and a band will give concerts twice a day. The cuisine will be of a high order, it is promised.
There will be a beer garden with tables under small trees, where Brooklynites can drink beer and listen to the music in the hotel. For those who care to dance there will be built a large ballroom, and there, too, an orchestra will be stationed. There will be a bicycle ring and bowling alleys. Particular attention will be paid to the class of people admitted.
Two years later, with the brewery scheduled to open in the first week of January, the company had assembled over 200 stockholders. The upcoming opening was announced in the December 31, 1899 edition of the “Brooklyn Daily Eagle.”
The new plant of the Consumers’ Park Brewing Company, the stockholders of which number more than 200 saloon keepers in this city and vicinity, and which was organized to fight the trust is to open its doors for business on January 6. On that date the first beer made by the new brewery will be delivered, and it is expected that the saloon men interested in the concern will substitute beer of their own manufacture for that of other brewers.
Advertisements for the “opening” that also included an invitation to inspect the new brewery appeared in several local New York and New Jersey newspapers that week.
Herman Raub, a restaurant owner and hotel keeper, was serving as president of the Consumers Park Brewing Company at the time the brewery opened its doors that January.
That being said, he almost didn’t make it through the opening day festivities when the temporary platform he was seated on collapsed. The January 5, 1900 edition of “The Times Union” told the story.
A bad accident marked the formal opening and inspection of the Consumers’Park Brewery at 946-973 Franklin Avenue, yesterday. The company entertained guests on Wednesday and the festivities continued yesterday afternoon. During the afternoon for the amusement of those assembled the heavy truck horses were put through their paces in the brewery yard and the trucks loaded with kegs. The guests were seated on a temporary platform where they could see. Right in the midst of the performance the platform collapsed and the occupants were thrown heavily to the ground.
Raub survived the event with a broken foot and went on to serve as president until 1907. This photograph of Raub, along with the company’s entire board of Directors appeared in the July 1, 1900 edition of the “Brooklyn Daily Eagle.”
Shortly after the brewery opened, the promised hotel, cafe and concerts were all up and running on the brewery grounds, as evidenced by announcements that began appearing in the Brooklyn newspapers in the Fall of 1901. The following, touting a concert by the “Tyrolean Zither and Warbler Sextet,” appeared in The December 22, 1901 edition of the “Brooklyn Daily Eagle.”
In case you’re interested, the show was reviewed in the January 19, 1902 edition of the “Brooklyn Daily Eagle”
The Tyrolean Zither and Warbler Sextet had made quite a hit in their Sunday concerts at the Consumers’ Park Brewery, opposite the Willing entrance to Prospect Park. They appear in national costume and the snap and sparkle of their music are very pleasing.
The above advertisement finished up with the phrase::
Always on Draught, the adjacent Consumers’ Park Brewing Co.’s AMERICAN STANDARD BEER.
A lager, according to their January, 1900 grand opening announcements, that brand was being produced at the brewery from day one.
The “American Standard” Beer, light and dark, one of the best brews in the market, will be on draught at all our customers’, on and after Saturday, January 6, 1900.
Four months later, in the Spring of 1900, the company introduced a Bock Beer as well. This advertisement inviting the retail trade to their “First Bock Beer Festival” appeared in the April 1, 1900 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.”
Their Bock Beer Festival ultimately went on to become an annual spring time event, however, it was their “American Standard” that was the brewery’s number one seller. A story commemorating the company’s one year anniversary provided some details. It appeared in the January 5, 1901 issue of the “Standard Union.”
The Consumers’ Park Brewing Company’s opening a year ago will be recollected by many. Since that time the officers, headed by the president, Herman Raub, have made the company one of the leading breweries in Brooklyn. A few days ago the company published a statement which shows that the sales for the first year nearly reached 72,000 barrels, and that a dividend of 7 percent, was payable Jan. 15, 1901. This is a remarkable showing, considering that a year ago the company was a novice, and credit is due to the management for its ability and intelligence in obtaining such satisfactory results.
While the above advertisement mentioned a first year production of 72,000 barrels, an advertisement included in the same edition of “The Times Union” strove to be more accurate. It was, in fact, only 71,953 11/12 barrels.
“American Standard’s” main clientele was the company’s 200 or so stockholders, however, they did have at least one unique customer and from a marketing perspective they certainly made the most of it. Consider the following story that appeared in the February 24, 1902 edition of “The Brooklyn Citizen..”
BROOKLYN BEER FOR PRINCE HENRY
It Was Ordered from the Consumers’ Park Brewing Company and Delivered in Style.
All the beer used on board of the Kaiser’s yacht Hohenzollern is supplied by the Consumers’ Park Brewing Company, of Brooklyn. It is certainly a recognition of the progress of American industry if these German sailors select a strictly American beer to quench their thirst and the brewing company can justly be proud of this fact.
The Consumers’ Brewing Company had a wagon built specially for the purpose of sending the beer on board. The special delivery wagon attracted considerable attention going through the streets of New York and Brooklyn. Being decorated in white and gold, showing the imperial crown and the German colors on each side, it certainly presented a most impressive appearance. The brewery had no difficulty in selecting four beautiful horses from its large stable, as all the horses are first class in every respect. The horses’ harnesses are richly ornamented with silk ribbons and rosettes. In order to promptly deliver the beer the managers of the brewery had two of its best drivers, dressed in tasteful uniform, placed in charge of this fine team.
Versions of this story appeared in several Brooklyn newspapers that day each of which was followed up with this advertisement.
At some point the brewery even added a “Hohenzollern Brau,” to their beer menu, as evidenced by this October 5, 1907 advertisement found in the “Brooklyn Daily Eagle.” By that time they were also making a “Double Stout” and “India Pale Ale” as well.
In 1907, Herman Raub was forced out as president by the company’s Board of Directors, replaced by August Ludeman. Raub’s August 6, 1915 obituary in the “Brooklyn Daily Eagle” suggested that the reasoning behind his removal was never revealed:
Mr. Raub lost out in the Consumers’ Park Brewery venture. After he had organized it and had long been its president and general manager he was forced out for a reason that has never become public by the board of directors in 1907. He took the case to court at the time in an attempt to prevent his removal but was removed before he could serve an injunction he had obtained.
Six years later, in 1913, the Consumers’ Park Brewing Company merged with the New York and Brooklyn Brewing Company. The merger was reported in the January 3, 1913 edition of the “Brooklyn Daily Eagle.”
Another step toward the consolidation of the breweries of Brooklyn has been taken by the directors of the Consumers’ Park Brewing Company and of the New York and Brooklyn Brewing Company, who have drawn up an agreement for the merger of the two concerns into what will be styled as the Interboro Brewing Company.
The stockholder vote held on January 15, 1913 was unanimous and the plan moving forward was summarized in a January 23, 1913 “Brooklyn Daily Eagle” story.
The plant of the New York and Brooklyn, which in itself, represents a merger of several minor brewing companies. will eventually be shut down, all of the output henceforth to be manufactured at the Consumers plant, which is said to be one of the finest in Brooklyn. While no definite plans have yet been formulated as to the ultimate disposition of the New York and Brooklyn’s plant, it is probable that a new company may be formed and the plant converted into an artificial ice plant,
The new Interboro Brewing Company is now the third largest brewery in the borough.
Over the next several years, the brewery operated under the Interboro (sometimes Interborough) Brewing Company name. During this time, newspaper stories suggest that the former Consumers Park facility was noted more for their safety violations than for their product. The one receiving the most attention involved a smoke condition that continuously impacted nearby Ebbets Field, home of the Brooklyn Dodgers. The situation was described in a March 16, 1916 “Times Union” story.
The Interborough Brewing Company of 964 Franklin Avenue, was fined $250 today in the Court of Special Sessions for violating the Sanitary Law. Frank H. Schmitz, of 99 Hawthorne Street, engineer of the concern, pleaded guilty.
Charles Ebbett, Jr., claimed that the dense smoke coming from the plant of this company had caused $40,000 damage to Ebbetts Field.
“We had to paint all the fences and the stands,” said Mr. Ebbetts. “Because of the coating on them caused by the black smoke from this brewing company. We lost a lot of patronage too, because people got tired of having their hats and cloths ruined and getting cinders in their eyes.
Schmitz told Justices Salmon, Gavin and Edwards that he has ordered a better grade of coal, but that as yet he had been unable to have it delivered to him.
Whether the better grade of coal helped is not clear however the situation likely resolved itself when the brewery shut down sometime in 1917 or 1918. At that time the rationing of fuel as a result of World War I, not to mention looming Prohibition, was taking its toll on the brewing industry. A September 7, 1918 story in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle made it clear that the Interboro Brewing Company had been extremely hard hit.
An official of the Interborough Brewing Company, formerly the Consumers’ Park Brewing Company, said:
“The situation is very hard on us. Of course we are closed now and have been for some time. We closed because of high taxes and the lack of fuel and material. We were among the first to comply with the suggestion of the Breweries Board of Trade to consolidate and the Ebling plant has been making our beer.”
An advertisement in the May 6, 1919 edition of the “Brooklyn Daily Eagle,” signaled the official end of the plant that had opened on January 6, 1900.
Several of the original brewery buildings remain to this day. This is evident by comparing the early 1900’s photograph of the brewery with a similar view from today, courtesy of Google Maps.
The two buildings in the foreground of todays view are clearly visible as the third and fourth buildings in the older photo. The larger building is also visible in both photos however it appears that the original pitched roof has been removed.
The bottle I found is a champagne style, approximately 12-ounces in size. Machine made, it likely dates to the latter half of the 1900 to 1913 time frame when the brewery operated under that name.
The embossing on the bottle includes the company’s trademark, described like this in the November 20, 1899 edition of the “American Brewer’s Review:”
Essential Features: The representation of a broken triangular feature, composed of three diamond shaped figures, arranged with their adjacent points or apices touching.
The trademark (no. 33,658) was dated October 31, 1899 in the U.S. patent records; several months prior to the brewery’s grand opening.