M. Bacci, Italian-American Bottling Co., 451-455 Pearl St., N.Y.

According to census records, Michael Bacci (Michele Baoci) immigrated to the United States from Italy sometime between 1875 (1900 census records) and 1880 (1910 census records). He operated a local business in lower Manhattan, near what is now Foley Square, for over 40 years.

He was first listed in the New York City directories in the late 1880’s as a grocer located at 88 Park Street (1889 to 1894) and later 46 Park Street (1896 to 1897) in Manhattan. (Note: Park Street in Manhattan no longer exists having been de-mapped in the 1900’s. A one-block section of it still exists today as Mosco Street.)

In 1898 his occupation, as listed in the directories, changed to “liquors” and his address changed to 504 Pearl Street. Census records from 1900 indicated that he was the proprietor of a “saloon.”

In 1902, his son, Frank Bacci, joined him in business and between 1902 and 1907 the NYC Copartnership and Corporation directories listed the company as M. Bacci & Son naming both Michael and Frank as partners.  In 1908 Frank apparently left the business. Afterwards, until 1912, the business continued to be listed as M. Bacci & Son but Michael was now named as the sole proprietor in the directories.  During this period the business continued to be listed as “liquors” at 504 Pearl Street.

In September, 1913 Michael Bacci filed plans for the construction of a new building at 451 Pearl Street, the address embossed on the bottle that I found. An item announcing the new building was published in the September 20, 1913 issue of a publication called the “Engineering Record,”

New York, N.Y. – Plans have been filed for erection of the following buildings: 6-story brick tenement and store at 451 Pearl St. for Michael Bacci, cost $30,000. Matthew W. Del Gaudio, Archt., 401 E. Tremont Ave…

Bacci was first listed at 451 Pearl Street in the 1915 NYC Directory and subsequently both lived and ran a grocery business out of that location. The Orrin Thacker 1917 Directory of Wholesale Grocers listed him as a wholesale grocer focused on Italian products and over the 14 year period from 1915 to 1929, NYC directories associated him with several related occupations that included “wholesale grocer,” “food products” and “importer.”

Census records from 1930 listed Bacci’s wife as a widow so he apparently passed away sometime in 1929 or 1930.

While I can’t find any mention of the Italian American Bottling Company in the NYC directories, Bacci was bottling beverages dating at least as far back as his early 1900’s saloon business. I’ve seen bottles pictured on the internet embossed “Italian American Bottling Company.” whose embossing also includes the company name, “M. Bacci & Son.”

The bottle I found is a champagne style beer bottle embossed with the more recent building address of 451-55 Pearl Street which puts its manufacture no earlier than 1914 or 1915. It has a blob finish so it likely wasn’t made much later than that. It must have contained a brew favored by the Italian community.

 

 

Louis Bergdoll Brewing Co., Philadelphia, Pa.

   

The Louis Bergdoll name was associated with the brewing industry in Pennsylvania for approximately 70 years, beginning in the mid-1800’s and continuing up until the advent of Prohibition. Bergdoll’s brewery, sometimes referred to as the City Park Brewery, gained fame for its lager beer which was produced utilizing water from artesian wells.

A German immigrant, according to his 1894 obituary:

Mr. Bergdoll was born in Seusheim, a little town near Heidelberg, in Baden, and after acquiring a thorough knowledge of the beer brewing business came to this country late in the forties.

A feature on Bergdoll, published in the October 6, 1908 edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer stated that the business started out under the name of Bergdoll & Schemm and, in 1849 the partnership established the original brewery at 508 Vine Street in Philadelphia. An item printed in the November 24, 1849 edition of the (Philadelphia) Public Ledger indicated that they also maintained a retail location close by at 178 Vine Street.

The next year Schemm left the partnership and turned it over to Bergdoll’s brother-in-law, Charles Psotta. The company would operate as Bergdoll & Psotta from 1850 until Psotta’s death in July, 1877.

At some point in the mid-1850’s the company  began to transition operations from their Vine Street location to newer, larger quarters. A 1979 application to register several remaining buildings associated with the brewery complex on the National Register of Historic Places picked up the story from there.

In 1856 the firm of Bergdoll & Psotta in need of more commodious quarters abandoned the plant on Vine Street and began the development of a new complex located in the still existing buildings in the block situated on the east and west sides of 28th Street, between Brown, Parrish and Poplar Streets.The site of the plant was chosen primarily because of its location near Fairmont Park and the Schuykill River.

The application described the original brewing house like this:

The original brewing house was erected in 1856 and consisted of a 3 story dwelling house for Mr. Bergdoll, a brick and stone fermenting, cooling and storage section, and a one story fermenting and distilling building of stone and brick with a slate roof.

Later the fermenting building section and distilling building were increased to five and six stories respectively and additional buildings were added until the complex encompassed approximately three acres of land on 28th and 29th Streets, between Brown and Poplar Streets. The Philadelphia Inquirer feature described the 1908 version of the complex like this:

…on the original space stands a five story brew house whose two kettles have a capacity of 88 barrels, a six story malt house, with a capacity of 200,000 bushels, an elevator, boiler house, stables and ninety houses for workmen. Every part of the plant is constructed of stone, iron and brick, being fireproof throughout. There are four ice machines with a capacity of three hundred tons of ice. Recently a smoke stack 70 inches in diameter was erected to the height of one hundred feet to make the necessary draft for the additional power used to drive two engines and two dynamos that supply electricity to the plant. A modern machine shop is in operation and a complete fire department equipped, the water being supplied by a standpipe connected with water pumps. The plant now employs more than two hundred men and the annual output is about one hundred and seven-five thousand barrels.

The business did not abandon the facilities at 508 Vine Street immediately, but continued to include both the 28th/29th Street and Vine Street locations in their Philadelphia directory listings up through 1880. Several directories in the 1860’s referenced 508 Vine as their “beer depot.”

According to the Philadelphia Inquirer feature Bergdoll, along with his two sons-in-law, Charles Schoenning and John Alter,  incorporated the business as the Louis Bergdoll Brewing Company, on October 3, 1881. Bergdoll served as the first president. Schoenning  was secretary and superintendent of the works and Alter was treasurer. Bergdoll’s son, Louis Bergdoll Jr. was the brew master.

After Louis Bergdoll’s death in 1894 the brewery remained closely held by the Bergdoll family with Peter Bergdoll Jr., Joseph Alter, Charles Schoenning  and Bergdoll’s widow, Emma, all serving as president at various times.

By the late 1800’s the company had started to advertise a lighter beer and a bock beer along with their well known lager. A July 19, 1902 advertisement referred to the light beer as “Protiwiner Export”

Their “Celebrated Bock Beer” was apparently seasonal and was advertised as being available on tap each year sometime in March or early April. Both advertisements shown below were published in the local Philadelphia newspapers. The first, from 1896, is one of the earliest I could find. The second was one of the later ones, from 1910.

  

In addition to advertisements in the newspapers, on at least two occasions, 1912 and 1914, they sponsored a unique event at a local Philadelphia theatre where they challenged Harry Houdini to escape from a vat filled with their beer. Houdini accepted the 1912 challenge in the January 10 edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

It was also in the early 1900’s that the company was transitioning their delivery methods from the horse to the motorized truck, putting their first delivery truck into service on June 17, 1903. In fact, an article in the February 1, 1913 edition of a publication called the “Power Wagon,” stated that Bergdoll was the first company in Philadelphia to successfully deliver beer using a truck in lieu of horses.

“We are done depending on horses,” was the announcement made by the president of the company. “We must find a delivery medium that won’t sicken or die unexpectedly. We must shift to machinery and make our delivery sure.”

This resolve taken, officials of the company went to New York and bought a 3-ton General Vehicle truck. This was the first successful electric vehicle used in beer delivery in Philadelphia, and when it first appeared on the streets it attracted more attention than an airplane would now.

The article went on to describe the company’s fleet in 1913.

Never has this innovation been regretted. The firm has increased it’s total of motor trucks to 15, and is done buying horses. Those that die are not replaced. Instead, motor trucks are constantly being purchased, and eventually the delivery of this firm will strictly be on a power basis…

Thirteen of the 15 trucks used by Bergdoll are electric, nine of the General Vehicle make, and four the output of the Commercial Truck Company of America. There are also two 3-ton Mack gasoline trucks.

The firm still retains a small number of horses, but these are worked only in a radius close to the brewery. For the heavy hauls, the 5-ton trucks are used. The 3-ton electrics do the middle distance work, and the gasolines make runs into the suburbs.

The gasolines are used with excellent effect on runs like that to Germantown. It is possible for one of the 3-ton Macks to do a service that would require on the average from six to eight horses. The truck can start out at 7 o’clock in the morning, make the long run to Germantown or Chestnut Hill, and be back at 11, four hours later, ready to tackle another extended trip in the afternoon.

A pair of horses used on this route would pull ten less barrels, take eight hours, come back tired out, and have to be rested the next day.

Even in the average hauls, the routine work, where a horse has the best chance to show to advantage in comparison, one 2-ton truck does the work of not less than four horses…

Bergdoll makes his own current, and does his own charging. Figures kept by the chief of Bergdoll’s garage show that the 3 1/2 and 5-ton electrics give a mileage of about 6,000 miles a year, and the 2-ton trucks give 7,000 miles.

A photograph of several trucks parked in the Bergdoll yard was included with the article.

By the mid to late teens the brewery was feeling the impact of the temperance movement and impending Prohibition. According to a story in the September 7, 1918 edition of the (Philadelphia, Pa.) Inquirer, the brewery was still operating at that time but was certainly being threatened by President Woodrow Wilson’s decision to exercise his wartime authority to prohibit the manufacture of beer after December 1, 1918.

Forty Breweries To Close Here

The Government order suspending all brewing operations December 1 means the closing of between thirty-five and forty breweries in Philadelphia and the release of approximately 2000 men for other work, as well as a considerable saving in barley, malt, sugar, coal and other materials used in brewing…

Charles Barth, general manager of the Bergdoll Brewing Company, said: “We were not much surprised. You can’t be surprised at anything these days. I don’t see what could be done but close the brewery and let the men go. There will be a meeting of the association and, I suppose, the result will be some sort of of request for a modification of the order. We employ about 150 men here.”

The Louis Bergdoll Brewing Company continued to be listed in the Philadelphia directories up through 1922 at their 28/29th Street address. In the 1923 directory the name of the company changed to the City Park Brewing Company.

A story in the March 28, 1928 edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer makes it pretty clear that the brewery was not operational during most if not all of Prohibition.  The story concerned an application by Albert Hall, a stockholder, to appoint a receiver to wind up the affairs and distribute the assets of the “old Bergdoll Brewing Company, now known as the City Park Brewing Company.”

Mrs. Emma Bergdoll and her sons are the principal stockholders in the company which was organized in 1881. Hall is a son-in-law, holding 248 shares which he received by inheritance…

Owen J. Roberts representing Hall, said that the company had ceased operations in 1923, when the plant had been closed. J.R. Breilinger, for the company, contended that the concern was doing a real estate business and added that Hall’s efforts to distribute assets was more on the part of a minority holder to force the hand of the majority.

Judge McDevitt then asked if the brewery was not dead legally, to which Breilinger replied that, by making beer one day a year, they would establish their legal existence.

Ultimately the Bergdoll family sold the brewery in June,1929. The sale was announced in the June 26, 1929 edition of newspapers across Pennsylvania.

The dismantled Bergdoll Brewery, long one of the pre-prohibition landmarks of Philadelphia’s brewerytown has been sold, it was disclosed this afternoon

Mrs Emma Bergdoll…signed the papers turning the plant over to G. M. Slade. The purchase price was not disclosed.

The vast Bergdoll fortune was amassed in the manufacture of beer in the old brewery prior to prohibition and the days of the World War.

At the end of Prohibition, a March 23, 1933 item in the Philadelphia Inquirer under the headline “Breweries, Hotels Plan For Big Day” indicated that the plant was being refurbished in anticipation of the April 7, 1933 date when 3.2 beer sales would again be legal.

Ultimately a September 6, 1933 item in the (Scranton, Pa.) Times-Tribune announced that the company had been granted a 3.2 beer permit.

Bergdoll Beer Permit

The Louis Bergdoll Brewing Company, Philadelphia, today was granted a permit to manufacture 3.2 beer…

Interestingly, the permit was awarded under the Bergdoll name and not the City Park Brewing Company. According to various internet sources the company brewed beer for a short time in 1933 and 1934 before shutting down for good but I haven’t been able to confirm this.

Several of the brewery buildings still exist to this day as residential apartments and condominiums called the Brewery Condominiums. One such building on North 29th Street still showcases the name “Bergdoll & Psotta.”

   

The bottle I found is a brown export style with the embossing “Louis Bergdoll Brewing Company, Phila.” Machine made it was likely made in the decade prior to Prohibition.

R. Sprenger, 203 E 92nd St., New York

The R stands for Rudolph Sprenger who, according to census records from 1900, immigrated to the United States from Switzerland in 1882. As best I can tell he ran a small beer bottling business located on the east side of Manhattan during the 1880’s and 1890’s

Rudolph Sprenger was first listed in the 1884 NYC Directory and later in the 1885 directory as a bottler at 209 East 88th Street. Sometime in 1885 or  1886, he partnered with Henry C. Timm and moved the business to 203 East 92nd Street. Sprenger & Timm was listed at that address in both the 1886 and 1887 directories.

The partnership apparently dissolved in 1887 or 1888. In the 1888 directory Sprenger was listed individually at 203 East 92nd Street where he remained through 1897, sometimes with the occupation bottler and other times beer.

In 1898 and 1899 he continued to be listed as a bottler but had moved to 172 East 91st Street.

In 1900 he moved again, this time to the west side of Manhattan, at 1725 Amsterdam Avenue, where he was listed with the occupation liquors. The 1900 census records called him a liquor dealer.

The bottle I found is mouth blown with a blob finish that’s embossed with the 203 East 92nd Street address. This likely dates it between 1888 and 1897 when the business was individually owned by Sprenger and located at that address. Note: The 203 East 92nd Street address no longer exists. It’s now located within the footprint of a modern apartment building called the “Easton.”

The bottle was produced or at least supplied by Karl Hutter of New York whose name appears on the base.

According to a paper found on the Society of Historical Archeology’s Historic Bottle Website, written by Bill Lockhart, Beau Schriever, Bill Lindsey and Carol Serr, Hutter acquired the patent for a bottle closure called the “Lightning Stopper” and was also a supplier of bottles. He used this embossing from 1877 to 1900 which encompasses the period that Sprenger was in business.

On a final note, the name Sprenger was well connected with brewing in the state of Pennsylvania. The J. A. Sprenger Brewery, later referred to as the Sprenger Brewing Company, operated in Lancaster Pennsylvania from the 1870’s up through the start of Prohibition and again after it ended. While the name is rather unique and the timing works, I can’t find anything that connects the Pennsylvania operation with Rudolph Sprenger’s bottling business in New York.

Munch Brewery Bottling Dept., Inc., Brooklyn, New York

     

     

The founder and original proprietor of the Munch Brewery was a German immigrant named Ferdinand Munch who was first listed in the 1869 Brooklyn Directory as a brewer living on Dean Street, corner of Franklin Avenue. Over the next ten years he was listed at several different Brooklyn addresses and  always with the occupation “brewer.” Then, according to his June 2, 1890 obituary in the New York Evening World, sometime in the late 1870’s he established his own brewery.

Mr. Munch purchased the old Armory on Cobb Hill, corner of Vernon and Sumner Avenues, Brooklyn, less than fifteen years ago, and by perseverance, energy and strict attention to business, succeeded so greatly that in a few years he purchased a couple acres of land and erected a mammoth brewery with a yearly output of 50,000 barrels of beer.

Munch’s brewery was first listed at the Vernon and Sumner location, 283-299 Vernon Avenue, in the 1882 Brooklyn Directory and based on the following advertisement, printed in that directory, he was certainly up and running at that time.

The advertisement located the brewery on the block bounded by Vernon, Sumner, Myrtle and Lewis Avenues, where it remained until at least the early 1920’s. Munch ran the business until his death in 1890 at which time  the business incorporated and his son Frerdinand Munch, Jr., took over. Munch Jr.’s  June 14, 1897 obituary in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle described his role in the brewery.

After leaving school he associated with his father in his business and when the latter died about seven years ago the present stock company was formed and young Munch was elected to the presidency of the corporation. He retired from active service in the business about a year ago on account of ill health.

Two of Munch Sr.’s other sons, William and Otto, were involved in the management of the brewery for several years after Munch Jr. retired. William was listed at the brewery address between 1897 and 1904 and Otto between 1901 and 1904. During some, if not all of this period, William served as president and Otto secretary of the corporation.

Beginning in 1905 the directories don’t associate any Munch sons with the Brewery so its not clear who was running the business. By 1913 – 1914 the family was not directly involved. That year Brooklyn’s Copartnership and Corporation Directory listed: Ernest F. Dissler, president; Robert Weigel, secretary and William Muller, treasurer.

In late 1915, the company began construction of a new bottling plant. The announcement was included in the December 15, 1915 edition of “Ice & Refrigeration.”

The Ferdinand Munch Brewing Co., 277 Vernon Avenue, Brooklyn, N.Y., have let contracts for the erection of a new bottling house to cost $10,000.

In February, 1917 the bottling plant was listed in the NYC telephone book under a new company name, the Munch Brewery Bottling Dept., Inc. Its address of 1022 Myrtle Avenue appears to have been located within the same block as the main plant on the corner of Myrtle and Sumner Avenues. That year, the Ferdinand Munch Brewery was listed in the same directory with the Vernon Avenue address but one year later, in 1918, only the Bottling Department was listed.

In 1919 the business was purchased by Edward B. Hittleman, a long time employee of the brewery. According to his April 6, 1951 obituary in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle:

Coming to the United States shortly after the turn of the century, Mr. Hittleman went to work at the Ferdinand Munch Brewery in this borough as a clerk. He became general manager and in 1919 purchased the company and became sole owner.

Brooklyn’s 1922 Copartnership and Corporation Directory listed Hittleman as the president and treasurer of the Munch Brewery Bottling Dept., Inc.

Around the same time it appears that Hittleman had also acquired the old Otto Huber Brewery, originally calling it the Hittleman Golden Rod Brewery and later, the Edelbrau Brewery. Information on the brewery prior to the acquisition by Hittleman is presented in another post on this site entitled “Otto Huber Brewery, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Hittleman’s obituary went on to say that 1n 1925 he merged the two companies.

In 1925 the Munch Company was merged with the Edelbrau Brewery, Mr. Hittleman becoming president of the corporation.

During this time the Munch Brewery Bottling Dept., Inc. continued to be listed, initially at 1022 Myrtle Avenue and later at several different Brooklyn addresses including 13 Wycoff Avenue (early 1920’s) and later at 92 Stanwix Street.

Sometime in 1927 the company name changed again, this time to the Munch Brewery, Inc., and in the 1928 Brooklyn telephone book their address was listed as 1 Bushwick Place, the address of the old Otto Huber Brewery. This June 13, 1927 Bridgeport (Connecticut) Telegram advertisement for their near beer was the first one I could find that exhibited the new name and location.

The 1928 phone book also listed the Hittleman Brewery at the same address so it seems that by then, and possibly earlier, the operations of both companies had been consolidated at the old Otto Huber plant location. Nevertheless in 1933 they were still producing beer under both company names. The first advertisement shown below, referencing the Munch Brewery, was from the May 13, 1933 edition of the Palm Beach Post the second, mentioning Hittleman Golden Rod Brewery, is from the August 17, 1933 edition of the New York Daily News.

By this time, they were also marketing another brand called Edelbrau and as early as 1930 phone book listings included the Edelbrau Brewing Company at the 1 Bushwick Place address as well.

During much of the 1930’s the Munch Brewery and Hittleman Brewery along with the Edelbrau Brewing Company (sometimes Edelbrau Brewery) were all listed in the directories at the 1 Bushwick Place address. Then, sometime around 1940 the listings for Munch and Hittleman disappeared leaving just Edelbrau.

A November 10, 1941 story in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle featuring the Edelbrau Brewery described the operation at that time as well as it’s featured brand “Edelbrau.”

(Dating back to the Otto Huber days) The plant was originally established at its present site in 1861. Today it employs 250 workers in a modern eight-story building several hundred thousand square feet in area.

The brand name Edelbrau came into existence in 1928. This year (1941), in order to simplify pronunciation, it was changed to Edelbrew. The beer is marketed throughout New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Connecticut, Massachusetts, including exports to foreign countries in the Americas, Central and South America, Asia and Africa.

Extensive improvements and extensions to the brewery proper and bottling plant have been made and are still continuing. Since 1928 there has been a tremendous increase in sales in the Edelbrau plant.

The Edelbrau Brewery incorporates several square blocks on Meserole St., Bushwick Place, Montrose Ave. and Waterbury St., several distribution stations throughout the Metropolitan area, plus warehouses outside the brewery…

Edelbrau has just installed more modern machinery as part of its expansion, capable of bottling 300 bottles a minute per unit. Previously hops were purchased abroad, but today they are grown in New York and rank with the finest crops.

In the past year Edelbrau has exported a great deal of beer abroad for use by the British army in Egypt and the Near East.

The article went on to describe one of their marketing strategies relating to bottle size.

According to E. B. Hittleman, president of Edelbrau, the brewery was the first in the United States to to introduce the solo bottle which contains a single glass of beer. The brewery was also a pioneer in marketing the half-gallon jug of beer. It is now producing the largest and smallest container of beer in the United States.

According to this July 13, 1943 advertisement in the New York Daily News, they referred to their solo bottles as “Steinies.”

The Edelbrau Brewery closed shortly after Edward Hittleman’s death in April, 1951, but in the early 1940’s he was still making improvements to his plant. In conjunction with one set of improvements he was making in 1942 a warehouse associated with the brewery was targeted for demolition. The building ultimately made a little history when it  was scrapped along with a 41-mile section of railroad and an unfinished/bankrupt 22-story skyscraper and contributed to the war effort. According to one newspaper account that appeared all over the country:

Picture a skyscraper hurtling across the Atlantic, Berlin bound…a railroad winging over the Pacific, headed for Tokyo…Crazy Dream?

No, just part of what the Nation’s biggest city is getting ready to throw at the Axis in the form of bombs and bullets, tanks and planes.

Uncle Sam said: “The steel mills need scrap, 17,000,000 tons of it, in order to continue producing for the war.”

New York said: “Count on us to do our part”

…Over in Brooklyn, Edward Hittleman, president of the Edelbrew Brewery, decided to turn in $100,000 worth of brewery equipment – great copper kettles, metal insulated tanks and other pieces used in the past as spare parts. Together with structural steel from a five-story warehouse which Hittleman is tearing down, the brewery’s metal will total 175 tons.

The skyscraper, railroad and brewery are only a few of the big things New York will hurl at Hitler, Hirohito and Mussolini.

A staged photograph commemorating his contribution appeared in the October 1, 1942 edition of the New York Daily News.

What became of the original Munch Brewery on Vernon Avenue is unclear but today the block accommodates a large 1950’s era apartment building under the control of the New York City Housing Authority.

I found two bottles with identical embossing. One is aqua and export style the other brown and champagne style. Both are machine-made. They most likely date between 1917 and 1927 when the embossed company name “Munch Brewery Bottling Dept., Inc.” appeared in the directories. I’ve also found a machine-made, export style Hittleman bottle that probably dates between 1925 and 1940.

    

The bottles all exhibit similar characteristics including a large single letter on the neck that represents the company name.

       

 

 

 

 

Rubsam & Hormann Brewing Co., Staten Island, New York

 

     

Rubsam & Horrmann was founded in 1870 when two German immigrants, Joseph Rubsam and August Horrman took over the brewing operation of Krug & Bach. The business incorporated in 1888 under the name “Rubsam & Horrmann Brewing Co.”

Their brewery, located in Stapleton, Staten Island was called the Atlantic Brewery. According to a document called “One Hundred Years of Brewing,” published in 1901, the origins of the brewery date back as far as 1854.

…In the succeeding year (1854) brewery vaults were built at Stapleton, S.I., and used for storage by Bernheimer & Schmid of Four Corners, until 1865. Krug & Bach then commenced to brew beer upon their site, the vaults and the brewery being the foundation of the plant now conducted by the Rubsam & Horrmann Brewing Company. The firm of Rubsam & Hormann was formed in 1870.

An early depiction of the brewery complex was included in “One Hundred Years of Brewing.”

This original plant consisting primarily of wooden frame structures was destroyed by fire in 1878. This March 22, 1878 story in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle described the fire and resultant damage.

The large brewery of Rubsam & Horrmann, at Stapleton, Staten Island, which was destroyed by fire yesterday morning caused damage to many houses that were injured by fire and water. The wind was high at the time and sparks were carried a great distance setting fire to several buildings, among others to Mr. Rubsam’s residence which was destroyed. The brewery and two ice houses were burned and the ice was spared simply because it could not burn. The loss is estimated at $250,000 partly covered by insurance. Mr Rubsam’s loss on his residence is $15,000. The loses are partly covered by insurance. The fire broke out in the mill used for grinding malt, and is supposed to have been caused by the undue heating of the malt. The brewery building was situated about a half a mile distant from the ferry landing , between Boyd and Canal Streets.

The 1886 Staten Island directory, the earliest I have access to, continued to list Rubsam & Horrmann on Canal Street so apparently the brewery was restored rather quickly and at or near the same location. The restored brewery is shown in these two old photographs, the first is dated 1895 and the second from a slightly different angle is undated.

One feature not visible in the photographs was the brewey’s storage vaults  that according to “One Hundred Years of Brewing” pre-dated the plant. Fortunately, they were described in a 1908 feature on Rubsam & Horrmann published in the May 23, 1908 edition of the Staunton (Virginia) Daily Leader.

They are huge caverns burrowed in the side of Boyd’s Hill, the imminence on which the plant stands. Here 40,000 barrels are always in storage, which insures proper aging of the beer.

The brewery also featured three artesian wells.

The water is the purest. It is secured from three artesian wells sunk on the grounds and is of the fine quality for which Staten Island is famous.

The Staunton Daily Leader feature went on to describe the beers produced by the brewery at the time.

Three grades of beer are brewed, the regular lager, the “Standard,” a dark brew, and the “Pilsner,” a light. For the “Standard” only hops, malt, yeast and water are used. In the lighter beers rice is an element. Upward of 70,000 pounds of imported hops are required for these brews every year.

The output is now (1908) 160,000 barrels a year more than half of which is marketed outside the Borough of Richmond, throughout the other four boroughs of New York, in New Jersey, Connecticut and up-State in New York. The extent of the Atlantic Brewery plant is indicated by the fact that it employs, including the bottling works, no less than 150 hands.

This 1915 advertisement still mentioned the three brands: Pilsner; Standard, now called Bavarian Standard, and Premium, which I assume is the regular lager mentioned in the story above.

During much of prohibition Rubsam & Horrmann continued to operate manufacturing ice and near-beer. This 1923 advertisement, one of a series that appeared in New Jersey newspapers, was for two of their near beer brands being sold at the time, Pilsner and Wurzburger.

In 1930 the brewery was once again damaged by fire. The September 5, 1930 edition of the Asbury Park Press described the fire.

A century-old brewery, which since prohibition had manufactured ice and near beer, was wrecked by fire last night with a loss estimated by the owners at $1,500,000.

The plant known as the Atlantic Brewery and owned by Rubsam and Horrmann, covered an acre in the heart of Stapleton, S. I. Only the brick walls of the seven-story building remained. Included in the destruction was a tower housing a huge clock which with faces in four directions furnished time to residents for almost 75 years.

The story went on to say that the fire was confined to the main building of the plant. Subsequently, the building, including the clock tower, was rebuilt and made operational again. Years later that clock tower would welcome home GI’s from World War II. According to the June 28, 1945 edition of the New York Daily News:

New York Harbor is getting Redder, Whiter and Bluer with every coat of paint, and the star spangled look of it thrills homecoming GI’s (clock tower of the R&H Brewery at Stapleton, S.I., has blossomed out with eight-foot letters spelling out “Welcome.”

The 1933 Staten Island Directory still listed the brewery office with a Canal Street address. By that time, recognizing Prohibition was coming to an end, a March 24, 1933 New York Daily News article indicated that improvement plans were in the works.

The Rubsam & Horrmann Brewing Co., 191 Canal Street, Staten Island, is awaiting action at Albany before determining how many new men to hire, but is planning to spend $250,000 for new equipment.

Less than three months later, the company’s brands were being advertised as far away as California under the heading “Old Friends Are Best.” This advertisement appeared in the June 17, edition of the Bakersfield Californian.

It appears Rubsam & Horrmann was one of the first companies that advertised through the sponsorship of television shows. In the late 1940’s and early 1950’s they sponsored sports related shows with titles that included: “Rates Highest,” hosted by Jack McCarthy and “Powerhouse of Sports,” hosted by Jimmy Powers. “Rates Highest” would appear before N.Y. Giants baseball games  but apparently tackled topics that appealed to fans of all three New York baseball teams. This July 9, 1948 advertisement that appeared in the New York Daily News previewed a show that tried to answer the question “Who has the best second baseman – Yanks, Giants, Dodgers?”

They didn’t confine themselves to sports either. In 1950, they sponsored the broadcast of the St Patrick’s Day Parade.

In December, 1953 Piels bought the Rubsam & Horrmann’s brewery as well as their R & H label. The sale was reported in the December 14, 1953 edition of the (Allentown Pa.) Morning Call.

Piel Bros., one of New York’d oldest brewers has acquired Rubsam and Horrmann Brewing Co. of Staten Island. Piel plans to use new plant capacity to serve distributors in lower New Jersey.

In 1962 Piel Bros was acquired by Drewery Limited U.S.A., Inc. and the old Rubsam & Horrmann plant fell victim to the resultant reorganization. According to the May 28, 1963 edition of The South Bend (Indiana) Tribune:

Drewerys Limited U.S.A., Inc., incurred a first-quarter consolidated loss of $419,212, or 68 cents a share, Carleton S. Smith, board chairman, told stockholders at their annual meeting here today…

Smith attributed the decline in earnings to reorganization plans begun in October, 1962, with the closing of the company’s Edelweiss plant in Chicago, followed last January with the closing of the Staten Island plant of Piel Bros.

The liquidation sale notice signaling  the end of the brewery was printed in several July, 1963 editions of the Wilmington Delaware News Journal. The sale appeared to have included the brewery’s machinery, equipment and contents.

Today, the area between Canal and Boyd in Stapleton includes a relatively recent development of attached residences. Other areas are vacant. As far as I can tell, there is no sign of the former brewery buildings.

I’ve found two R & H bottles. The first is a mouth blown champagne, actually embossed 11 3/4 oz., with a blob finish.

The second is machine made, 12 1/2 oz champagne style. The style and embossing exactly match the bottles shown in the 1923 prohibition era advertisement pictured previously.

   

The bottle most likely dates no later than the prohibition era. Post prohibition advertisements no longer feature the champagne style bottle but exhibit the export and stubby style instead. The advertisements below were from 1935 and 1939 respectively.

 

Peter Hauck & Co., Harrison, N. J.

     

Peter Hauck & Co. operated the Peter Hauck Brewery, located in Harrison, New Jersey (also called East Newark) from approximately 1869 until the mid 1920’s. It’s long time proprietor, Peter Hauck, was a German immigrant who learned the business working in and ultimately taking over his father’s New York City brewery. His early background was provided in a biographical sketch included in the “Genealogical History of Hudson & Bergen Counties, New Jersey,” published in 1900.

Born in King Munster, Bavaria, Germany, June 9, 1838, he came to this country with his parents when six years old, and located in New York City, where his father engaged in the brewing industry. There he received a good public school education. After completing his studies he entered his father’s establishment and thoroughly mastered the profession of brewer, acquiring a practical as well as a theoretical experience in every department of the business.

The brewery established by his father, Adam Hauck, in 1844 on Wooster Street, New York, was a small affair, but the plant was enlarged until it became one of the largest of the kind in the city. In 1869 he removed the entire business to Harrison, Hudson County, N.J., where a substantial building was erected, and where it was continued under the most favorable auspices.

The 1849/1850 NYC Directory listed Peter’s father, Adam, at 481 Broome Street with the business occupation “porterhouse.” Located at the intersection of Broome and Wooster Streets, this is likely the brewery referenced in the biographical sketch above . The business must have moved as it grew bigger. Two years later, the 1851/1852 NYC Directory listed the brewery at 89 Sheriff Street; still in Manhattan, but further east. It was still listed at this location in the 1864/1865 Directory.

In the 1867/1868 Directory, Peter, not Adam, was listed at the 89 Sheriff address with the occupation “beer.” This leads me to believe that Peter was actually running the business prior to its move to New Jersey in 1869.

In New Jersey the brewery was located on Harrison Avenue (sometimes Pike’s Rd) between 5th and 6th Streets. Initially it was run as a partnership between Peter Hauck and Frederick Kaufmann called Kaufmann & Hauck. It was listed this way in the Newark directories until 1875 when the partnership apparently filed for bankruptcy. A notice announcing the partnership as bankrupt and requesting that Hauck be discharged from his debts was printed in the August 21, 1875 edition of the New York Times.

Over the next three years, Petr Hauck continued to be listed individually on Harrison Avenue but the business was not listed in either the general directory or the business directory so its not clear whether the brewery was operational during this period or not. The brewery was listed again in the 1878 Newark BusinessDirectory but one year later, on January 13, 1879, it was destroyed by fire. The fire was covered in a story printed in the Boston Globe.

At 1 o’clock this morningPeter Hauck’s Hudson County lager beer brewery, located on Harrison Avenue, East Newark, was found to be on fire. The alarm was sounded, but the firemen, unable to obtain water, could not do anything to save the building, and the brewery was completely destroyed.The loss is as follows: Machinery, $50,000; building and stock, $35,000; and $15,000 worth of malt.

According to the Genealogical History of Hudson & Bergen Counties Hauch rebuilt the brewery after the fire.

In 1879 the brewery was destroyed by fire, but he at once turned his attention to rebuilding, and in 1880 erected and completed a new plant upon a more extended scale, making it a model establishment of its kind.

It appears that the brewery remained operational during construction of the new plant. The Newark directories in the early 1880’s listed two separate brewery sites; the original Harrison Avenue location as well as another location at 281 to 291 Eighth Avenue which I assume served as a temporary brewery during the rebuilding process. By 1884, the Eighth Avenue location was no longer listed.

The Genealogical History of Hudson & Bergen Counties went on to describe the newly constructed brewery complex.

It has a frontage on Harrison Avenue, between Fifth and Washington Streets, of 225 feet, with a depth on Cleveland Avenue of about 100 feet. The main building is a substantial structure, and there is additional accommodation for the malt house, cooperage, bottling plant, etc., the whole being equipped with modern improvements, including a 250 barrel brew kettle, ice machines, cellarage, an artesian well, etc.

The name “Peter Hauch & Co.,” was first utilized in the 1885 Newark Directory. Then, four years later, Peter Hauck & Co. was one of five breweries that were consolidated under a new corporation called “The United States Brewing Company.” A story in the May 14, 1889 edition of  the Buffalo (NY) Commercial provided some details on the consolidation.

Three big lager beer breweries in Newark, one in this city and one in Albany were combined last week in a great brewing corporation, with a capital stock of $4,750,000. The owners of the plants are Gottfried Krueger, the brewer king of Newark; Mrs. Christiana Trefz of Newark: Peter Hauck of East Newark, Adolph Hupfel of this city and the Albany Brewing Company…Krueger’s brewery is the largest in the scheme, and it is understood that it has been taken at a valuation of $2,000,000, and that he is to receive half in cash and the other half in stock. The valuation upon Hauck’s brewery is said to be $1,000,000, and he gets the same terms. Mrs. Trefz’s is valued at $600,000, Hupfel’s at $600,000 and the Albany Brewing Company’s at $500,000. The management of the breweries is to remain entirely in the hands of the former owners…

Peter Hauck managed the business until he passed away on February 21, 1917 after which it continued under the management of his son Peter Hauch, Jr. It was listed in the Newark directories as Peter Hauck & Co. through 1922.

In the early years of Prohibition it appears that the business was making a concerted effort to produce cereal beverages in accordance with the law. On October 14, 1920, notices appeared in many newspapers announcing that the United States Brewing Company had acquired the cereal beverage department of P. Ballantine & Sons, with Peter Hauck & Co., named as one of the brewers. This notice, printed in the October 4, 1920 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle was typical.

As late as 1922, the company advertisement in the Newark Directory listed a number of cereal beverages manufactured by Hauck including Hauck’s  Tiger Special – Light, Medium and Dark, Hauck’s Golden Brew, Hauck’s Extra, Hauck’s Special, Hauck’s Vitamaltum and Hauck’s Malt Extract, Malt Extract-Light and Malt Extract-Dark.

This baseball themed Hauck’s advertisement appeared in the August 23, 1921 edition of the “Asbury Park (NJ) Press”

After Peter Hauck, Jr.’s death in September, 1922 the actual management of the brewery is unclear, however, this May 22, 1925 story in the Keyport (N.J.) Weekly made it clear that the brewery continued to operate, albeit illegally.

Newark- Four officials of the Peter Hauch Brewery in Harrison were fined $2,500 each on charges of possessing and manufacturing beer of illegal alcoholic content by Federal Judge Runyon. All pleaded guilty, three changing previous pleas of not guilty. The officials are Isadore Rappaport, Morris Egel, Nathan Levy and William Hobby. The case resulted from a raid on the brewery several months ago by federal agents.

The April 25, 1925 edition of the New York Daily News provided a photograph of what happened to the beer confiscated from the brewery. The caption under the photograph read:

DOWN THE SEWER yesterday went contents of 56,000 barrels of beer seized in Peter Hauck Brewery Company, Harrison, N. J. Agent C. H. Parkes manned the hose.

Ultimately the brewery officially changed hands on October 16, 1925. The announcement of the sale was printed in the Asbury Park (N.J.) Press.

HAUCK BREWERY SOLD

Purchase of the Peter Hauck Brewery by the Harrison Holding Company of Merchantville was announced today. The price was not divulged, but the holding company gave a mortgage of $171,250 to be paid in monthly installments of $1,000.

Subsequently, on January 1, 1926, the Harrison Beverage Company was incorporated to run the business of producing cereal beverages. The article of incorporation was printed in the January 1, 1926 edition of the Camden (N.J.) Courier Post.

The 1926 Newark Directory listing for the Harrison Beverage Co., Inc. included the brewery’s Harrison Avenue address and included the phrase “successors to Peter Hauck & Co., brewers and bottlers Golden Brew and Tiger Special.” Advertisements for their cereal beverages ran in the local newspapers in early 1927.

Prohibition agents however believed that the brewery was actually being run by racketeers and that cereal beverages were just a front for the manufacture and sale of the real thing. A story in the October 30, 1926 issue of the (Camden N.J.) Evening Courier that reported on a raid of the brewery provided the government’s point of view.

When they raided the brewery, which is known as the Harrison Beverage Company, Hudson County detectives say they found eleven kegs and many bottles of “real” beer.” The detectives assert that the brewery has been operating for some time, supplying South Jersey points as well as those in North Jersey, with high powered beer. Manufacture of “near beer” was simply a “blind.”

As the Prohibition years continued, the brewery was raided several more times and the company was constantly in and out of the courts involved in Volstead Act related litigation.

Ultimately in 1933, with Prohibition ending, the Harrison Beverage Company received a permit to brew 3.2 beer. Soon after, they were advertising at least two brands; “Old Heidelberg” and “Golden Brew.” This advertisement for “Old Heidelberg” appeared in the The Long Branch (N.J.) Record on April 8, 1933.

Their brewing permit however would quickly be revoked later that same year. The murder of two racketeers, Max Hassel and Max Greenberg in an Elizabeth New Jersey hotel triggered an investigation into the real ownership of the company, the government contending that Hassel and Greenberg, along with Waxey Gordon, another former bootlegger, were the real owners. As a result of the investigation their permit to brew was revoked on June 30, 1933. Camden N.J.’s “Courier Post” covered the story.

The Harrison Beverage Company, of Harrison, yesterday had its 3.2 beer manufacturing permit revoked.

Hearer Burt W. Andrews, who sat through two weeks of legal skirmishing during the brewery’s revocation proceedings in Newark, yesterday advised Dr. Ambrose Hunsberger, permit supervisor for this area, that the permit had been obtained “through fraud, deceit, concealment and misrepresentation.”

He said that officers advanced by brewery counsel as owning the beverage company were “mere dummies for racketeers, among whom was Max Hassel, slain gangster.”

And Dr. Hunsberger promptly ordered the permit revoked.

As far as I can tell, after their license was revoked, the brewery continued to operate until sometime in August of 1933. At that point it was shuttered for good and put in the hands of a receiver. Six months later, the February 3, 1934 edition of the (Hackensack N.J.) Record announced the sale of the brewery at public auction.

Women’s Lock-Stock-Barrel Bid Tops Harper Offer For Brewery

Harry C. Harper, Hackensack’s man of many moods and myriad enterprises, was one of the more than 100 bidders who journeyed to Harrison yesterday for the receivers sale on the old Peter Hauck Brewery, more lately known as a Waxey Gordon brewery.

But it was a woman, Mrs. Lillian Bennett, said to be the daughter of a Columbus, Ohio, brewer named Tenion and said to live in a New York City hotel, who surprised the bidders, the crowd and the receiver by bidding $45,000 for the entire plant and equipment. Among other things included in the mysterious Mrs. Bennett’s bid were 4,000,000 empty bottles and 14,000 barrels of 3.2 beer.

After the sale, it appears that the brewery was leased to a newly formed corporation called the Harrison Brewing Company. The formation of the new company was announced in a May 20, 1934 story printed in the Central New Jersey Home News.

Articles of incorporation of a new firm, the Harrison Brewing Company, were filed today by Harold Simandl, in an attempt to reopen the plant of the Harrison Beverage Company, closed by the Federal Government.

The old plant was closed after charges during the 3.2 beer days, that the brewery was racketeer controlled.

Simandl was counsel for the old firm. The incorporators are listed as Lucile Andreach, Selma Gerbinsky, and Frances Noviteh.

The company was apparently attempting to capitalize on the name and reputation of the former Hauck and later Harrison brand called Golden Brew. According to this advertisement, printed in several New Jersey newspapers in July,1934, they reintroduced the brand around that time. “Saturday you can try it all over town”

The resurrection must have failed because less than half a year later, the company was bankrupt. A notice announcing the sale of the company assets, including barrels, boxes and bottles was printed in the January 30, 1935 edition of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

By 1937 the Peter Doelger Brewing Corporation had leased the brewery and was listing both their brewery and executive offices in Harrison, New Jersey.

Peter Doelger remained there until 1948 at which time, according to this April 13 item in the (Bridgewater (N.J.) Courier, the company was declared bankrupt.

BREWERY BANKRUPT

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

After the demise of Doelger, the brewery was taken over by the Camden County Beverage Company. From the wording in this July 13, 1949 story in the (Camden N.J.) Evening Courier it’s not clear whether they purchased or leased the plant.

Camden Brewery Enlarges, Buys Harrison Plant

The Camden County Beverage Co., brewers of Camden Beer at the Camden Brewery, announced yesterday it had acquired the Harrison brewery and will operate it as Plant No.2.

Fred A. Martin, president of the beverage firm, stated a North Jersey outlet was necessitated by increased demand for the Camden product in Manhattan, Brooklyn and the surrounding metropolitan area in North Jersey.

Leasing of the Harrison brewery will permit the Camden plant to use its entire output for its clients in South Jersey, Washington, several southern states and to reenter the Pennsylvania market.

Three years later, in July, 1952, a fire swept through the Harrison plant. The resultant damage described in this July 16, 1952 story leads me to believe that this could very well have marked the end of the brewery facilities.

Harrison, July 16 – A rampaging fire wrecked the Camden Brewery near the heart of the city’s business district today, sending up sheets of flame and clouds of smoke that were visible fo 15 miles around.

The general alarm blaze raged out of control for more than two hours, but no one was reported injured.

Police said the top of the five story brick building at 504 Harrison Avenue caved in and some of the debris toppled into the street. There was no one in the building when the fire broke out shortly before 3:30 a.m…

Fire officials said they didn’t immediately know the cause of the fire. The blaze started on the upper floors of the building which occupies almost an entire block. Flames ate their way down to the lower portion of the structure and firemen battled to prevent any further spread.

Camden County Beverage continued to operate into the early 1960’s but I don’t see any mention of a Harrison location after the fire.

Today the brewery site is home to the Washington Middle School.

The bottle I found is 13 oz and champagne style. The company name “Peter Hauck & Co. Harrison N.J,” embossed on the bottle was utilized from 1885 to the early 1920’s. The bottle however is machine made so that puts it in the latter half of the period, say 1910 to 1922.

A labeled version of this bottle recently appeared on the Internet. It contained the brand “Hauck’s Extra.”

        

 

 

V. Loewer’s Gambrinus Brewery Co., New York

Valentine Loewer was the founder and initial proprietor of V. Loewer’s Gambrinus Brewery Co. He named the brewery after Gambrinus, who, according to the old Encyclopedia Britannica was:

“A mythical Flemish King who is credited with the first brewing of beer in 1261. His portrait had the place of honor in the Brewers Guild Hall in Brussels.”

Valentine Loewer’s obituary, in the November 1, 1904 edition of the “American Brewer’s Review,” provided some general information about him and his business.

He was born in Leiselheim, near Worms, Germany, and came to this country in 1860. In 1868 he established a weiss beer brewery in New York, which in 1879 was converted into a larger beer brewery, growing rapidly in output until the present annual production of 250,000 barrels was reached. Loewer’s sons, Jacob and George, were associated in business with him, the former being secretary and the latter treasurer of the company.

The original brewery was first listed in the 1867/1868 NYC Directory as Loewer & Josy, with an address of 605 West 51st Street in Manhattan. Loewer was listed as a partner along with Jacob Josy. Their partnership was short-lived and in 1870/1871 Loewer was listed individually as a brewer at the same location. The next year, in the 1871/1872 directory, he was listed at 529 West 41st Street, where the business remained well into the 1940’s.

It’s not clear what changes were made to the brewery in 1879 but the obituary specifically used the word “converted.” This leads me to believe that the brewery was converted to include production of the bottom fermented lager beer, which was gaining popularity in the U. S. at the time. Prior to that, the brewery was producing weiss beer, which is top fermented.  This is supported, at least in my mind, by this May 16, 1915 advertisement in the (New York) Sun for their lager beer which states “Loewer’s has been in business since 1879.”

It wasn’t until 1887 or 1888 that the business began using the “V. Loewer’s Gambrinus Brewery Co.,” name in the directories. In 1889, the NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directory named Valentine Loewer, president; his son, George Loewer, secretary and Charles J. G. Hall, treasurer. By 1900 George had become treasurer and Jacob Loewer, was secretary. Throughout this entire period their address continued to be listed as 529 West 41st Street.

Around the turn of the century, the brewery apparently implemented significant upgrades and additions. An item in the May 20, 1901 edition of the “American Brewer’s Review” described the changes that were taking place.

The V. Loewer’s Gambrinus Brewing Co. of New York, has built a boiler and engine room, 50 x 30 feet; a new office 20 x 60 feet, three stories high, all brick and iron, equipped with all modern improvements. Four new boilers, 200 horse power each, and two ice machines of 215 and 70 tons respectively, have been put in. A new brew-house and a malt storage house have been contracted for. The brew-house will be 50 x 60, all brick and iron, equipped with all modern machinery and apparatus. The malt storage house will have a capacity of 20,000 bushels.

By the time the dust settled, their office, brewery and cold storage facility were all located adjacent to each other in the block from Tenth to Eleventh Avenues, between 41st and 42nd Street; the office at 528 – 532 West 42nd Street and the brewery and cold storage facility at 521-533 West 41st Street. Their bottling plant was on the other side of 41st Street at 536-538 West 41st street.

This advertisement, included in the Commemorative Book of the 11th Convention of the U. S. Brewmasters Association in 1899, appears to be a rendering that showed the future 1901 improvements in 41st Street looking west toward the Hudson River. The Brewery is on the right (north) side of 41st Street.

Later, on February 3, 1911, The brewery gained permission from the City of New York to “install, maintain and use a 15 – inch pipe “under and across” 41st Street connecting the brewery and the bottling department.

the said pipe to be used to contain a small pipe for the transmission of beer, ale and other malt liquors between the said premises for bottling purposes.

After Valentine Loewer’s death on October 10, 1904 his son George was listed in the directories as president until his death on January 30, 1915. At that point, the younger son, Jacob took over.

During Prohibition it appears that the V Loewer Gambrius Brewery Co. stayed in business making non-alcoholic beverages for which they registered a number of trademarks. Three that caught my eye, filed and published in 1919, were for a brand name called T.N.T.

Around the same time, Jacob Loewer also established a second corporation called the Loewer Cold Storage Corporation to take advantage of his refrigeration facilities. The notice of incorporation was published in the February, 1920 edition of “Ice and “Refrigeration.”

The Loewer Cold Storage Corporation, Manhattan N. Y., capital stock $30,000. Incorporators: J. Loewer, H. D. Muller and H. D. Muller, Jr.

Both the brewery and cold storage company listed their address as the brewery office address of 528 West 42nd Street during the Prohibition years.

As Prohibition ended Loewer’s was back in the business of brewing beer. An article in the March 24, 1933 edition of the (New York) “Daily News” entitled “Orders Deluge Brewers and Hundreds Get Jobs” mentioned several breweries including Loewer’s, stating:

Loewer’s Gambrinus Brewing Co., 528 W. 42nd St., has put all its men back on full time and expects to increase the force.

The optimism expressed in this article was apparently short-lived. After Prohibition was repealed the brewery continuously operated at a deficit. At the annual meeting of the company, held on March 28, 1941, it was reported that the loss for that year alone was in excess of $70,000 and the latest report of Dun Bradstreet read:

Comparative fiscal statements for a like period have reflected an unbalanced financial condition, a growing current debt and a substantial deficit.

On January 8, 1943 an involuntary petition of bankruptcy was filed against V. Loewer’s Gambrinus Brewery Co., and subsequently, on April 22, 1943, the court approved a sale of the brewery by the trustee to Brewery Management Corporation at a price of $100,000. The brewery closed five years later in 1948.

Today, there’s no sign of the brewery buildings.

I found a machine made export beer bottle embossed, “V Loewer’s Gambrinus Brewery Co. New York” in small letters around the shoulder. The bottle is similar in shape and size to this labeled example that recently appeared for sale on the Internet.

     

The number “1918” is embossed in large type on the base of the bottle. Other examples of this bottle that I’ve seen exhibit similar numbers in the 1930’s range.  This leads me to believe that it most likely indicates the year the bottle was produced.

Westchester County Brewing Co., Mount Vernon and Pelham, New York

      

The Westchester County Brewing Company, sometimes referred to as the Westchester Brewing Co. or the Westchester County Brewery,  was established in late 1909 and maintained facilities in both Mount Vernon, New York and across the Hutchinson River in Pelham, New York. The company founders were William H. Ebling, Jr. and William Hobby. According to his December 10, 1910 obituary, Ebling came from a family of New York City brewers.

Mr. Ebling was the son of William Ebling, who with Phillip Ebling, established the brewery at 156th Street and St.Ann’s Avenue, The Bronx, years ago. He was associated with his father and uncle until the brewery was sold. Two years ago he and William Hobby organized the Westchester County Brewing Company.

Ebling’s partner, William Hobby, was the proprietor of the Hobby Bottling Company located in Mount Vernon, N.Y., a business that, according to a notice printed in the March 15, 1898 edition of the New York Times, incorporated around that time. The advertisement below, from the 1902 Mount Vernon Directory, listed their address as 21-25 Prospect Avenue, an address they maintained from 1899 up through 1912.

Ebling and Hobby established the Westchester County Brewing Company sometime in late 1909. The January 1, 1910 edition of the “New Rochelle Pioneer” reported the formation of the new corporation.

BIG BREWERY NEAR HERE

Will Be Located at Pelham and Employ One Hundred and Fifty Men

The Westchester County Brewery has just been incorporated with a capital of $400,000 to take over the defunct Pelham Hygeia Ice Plant at Pelham and the bottling business of William Hobby of Mount Vernon. The company will install a brewing plant to have a capacity of from 50,000 to 60,000 barrels of beer a year and an artificial ice plant with an output of 100 tons a day.

In the prospectus it is interesting to note the statement that Westchester County consumed more than 500,000 barrels of beer per annum of which it produces less than 10 percent. The only beer brewed in the county at present is in Yonkers.

The company will operate under what is known as a co-operative plan; that is the retailers will be interested financially in the venture.

The Pelham Hygeia Ice Plant had been listed in the Pelham directories dating back to 1902. Early maps show that it was located adjacent to the Hutchinson River near Sparks Avenue. This advertisement was included in the 1907 Pelham Directory.

The first directory reference for the Westchester County Brewing Co. was in 1910 and it indicated that the new business continued to use the properties of the combined companies.. That year they listed their office (and bottling department) address as 21-23 Prospect Avenue, the address of the Hobby Bottling Company  and they listed two locations for their brewery and ice plant; one at  Sparks Ave, Pelham, the former location of the Pelham Hygeia Ice Plant and the other at Pelhamdale and Riverside Aves and E 4th, Mt Vernon. Ebling was named president and Hobby, secretary/treasurer. After Ebling’s death, the 1911 directory named Hobby, president and Sydney A. Syme, secretary treasurer.

The future brewing plant mentioned in the February 1, New Rochelle Pioneer story was ultimately constructed on the property of the former Pelham Hygia Ice Plant. The May 1, 1911 edition of the Brewer’s Review announced that it was fully operational.

The Westchester County Brewery in Pelham, N.Y., is now in full operation, with an annual capacity of 80,000 barrels. The refrigeration plant has a capacity of 120 tons daily The value of the building, land and outfit is estimated at $500,000.

The formal opening was announced in the June 15,1911 edition of the “American Bottler.”

The Westchester County Brewery, North Pelham, New York, was formally opened on June 2nd, when about 500 visitors were shown through the buildings and entertained with an old-fashioned New England clam bake, served on the lawn.

The new plant is up to the minute in its equipment and President William Hobby, who is also proprietor of the Hobby Bottling Works, Mount Vernon, N.Y., says that its products will be the finest that skill, experience and high-grade  materials can manufacture.

This image, taken from one of their advertising signs, depicts the new brewery as well as the Mount Vernon office and bottling department shown in the upper right hand corner.

Apparently, Ebling and Hobby had financially overextended themselves building the new brewery and not long after its formal opening the business was in financial trouble. In his September 9, 2018 blog, the Town Historian of Pelham, Blake Bell, detailed their financial difficulties. Portions of his blog are presented below and the entire write-up can be found at www. pelhamplus.com.

In the months leading up to the completion of the main facility and its opening, the pair touted the new business as a sure “bonanza” and sold stock in the venture to investors throughout Westchester County and New York City.

Although the United States economy was healthy in 1910, Ebling and Hobby over-extended themselves and their new business with debt at precisely the time the U.S. Economy moved from a twenty year period of rapid growth to a twenty year period of modest growth…

In less than a year the new business was in trouble. On September 12, 1911, bankruptcy proceedings were commenced as a voluntary petition for dissolution of the business was filed. In reality, the bankruptcy was merely a move to fend off creditors. There were more than twenty lawsuits pending against the company at the time of filing with some nearing judgement.

As the proceedings dragged along, the brewery continued to operate under receivers including William O. Hobby (the remaining living founder). Hobby’s own financial situation, however, grew increasingly bleak. In March, 1915, Hobby filed for personal bankruptcy.

The company continued to be listed in the directories up through 1918, at which time their financial difficulties combined with looming prohibition forced the sale of the brewery. The planned sale, to the Knickerbocker Ice Company was announced under the heading “Icy Items” in the January 1919 edition of “Ice and Refrigeration.”

It is reported that negotiations for the purchase of the Westchester Brewing Co.’s plant in North Pelham, N.Y., by the Knickerbocker Ice Co., are pending and that a deal will likely be consummated within a short time. The Knickerbocker Ice Co. has been furnishing considerable natural ice to the residents of Mount Vernon, New Rochelle and their environs, but it is stated there has become a profound preference for artificial ice, and the company being desirous of conforming with the consumers’ wants, the ice manufacturing equipment in the brewing company’s plant will enable them to manufacture sufficient ice for this section.

The 1920 directory listed the Knickerbocker Ice Company at the Sparks Avenue location so apparently the sale closed sometime in 1919. Ultimately, the old brewery building was razed in the early 1950’s.

The bottle I found is a machine made, export style, bottle with the company name embossed in a logo on the shoulder. Mount Vernon, N.Y. is embossed at the base of the bottle in small letters. The bottle certainly dates to the operational period of the business; say 1911 to 1918.

Henry C. Botjer Co., Long Island City, N.Y.

According to census records Henry C. Botjer was born in Germany in 1872 (1900 records) or 1873 (1910 records) and immigrated to the United States in 1888.

It appears that he ran his own business from 1906 until 1918, when he passed away. Between 1906 and 1910 his address was listed as 353 Broadway or sometimes Broadway, corner of Second Avenue in Long Island City, Queens. An advertisement in the February 4, 1907 edition of the Brooklyn Star called him a “Wholesale Dealer in Lager Beers, Ales and Porters  with a depot and office both located on Broadway, corner of Second Avenue. The advertisement went on to say that he was the sole agent for Miller’s “The Best” Milwaukee Beer and wholesale agent for imported beers.

Another advertisement, this one in the February 8, 1908 issue of “Harpers Weekly” focused on his association with “Miller”

The business incorporated in July, 1912. The incorporation notice appeared under the heading “New Queens Concern” in the July 30, 1912 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

The Henry C. Botjer Company of the Borough of Queens has been incorporated with the Secretary of State, to make and sell beverages, etc. with a capital of $10,000 and the following directors: Henry C. Botjer of Long Island City and James J. Sullivan and D. Walter Griffiths of New York City.

Around the same time, the business moved to 404 – 406 Jackson Avenue in Long Island City, where it remained listed until 1918. During this period,the directory listings usually classified the business as wholesale beers.

Second Avenue in Queens was later renamed 31st Street. The intersection of 31st Street and Broadway is now technically located in Astoria and situated under the elevated subway. The buildings on each corner are all old and could date back to the business. It’s not clear exactly where the Jackson Avenue address was located.

The bottle I found is a machine made, 12 ounce, champagne style beer with a crown finish. It’s embossed “Henry C. Botjer Co. Long Island City” in small letters around the shoulder. The bottle looks exactly like the one in the 1908 advertisement (without the label) and no doubt contained a “Miller High Life.” Machine made, it most likely dates to the later years of the business.

Franklin Brewing Company, Brooklyn N.Y.

 

The Franklin Brewing Company was established in 1903 but in fact has it’s roots in the brewing operation of George Malcom whose brewing business dates back to the mid-1860’s.

Malcom was first listed as a brewer located at the corner of Dean and Franklin Streets in Brooklyn. Around 1870 he moved to Flushing Avenue and established one of the largest breweries in Brooklyn at the time, occupying the entire block from Franklin Avenue to Skillman Street. Also referred to as the Wallabout Brewery, it was described in a September 19, 1871 item in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

Wallabout Brewery, one of the largest establishments of the kind in the county, and said to be capable of turning out 500 barrels per diem. It occupies a fine brick building, 150 x 75 feet, and four stories in height. It is an immense concern, in every way well ordered, fitted with all the latest improvements and most modern inventions; employs a large number of men, and has involved an investment of not less, probably, than half a million of dollars of capital.

George Malcom was listed as a brewer at the Flushing/Franklin/Skillman location up through 1891. The expanded listing in the 1885 directory was typical.

Then in 1892, the company name in the listing changed to the “Malcom Brewing Company.

By the early 1900’s the business was running into financial difficulties. According to the April 14, 1903 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle:

Some months ago the brewing company applied for a voluntary dissolution, on the ground of insolvency, and the referee reports that the company is undoubtedly insolvent and was insolvent on July 28 last.

By this time George Malcom is apparently no longer involved. The April 14, 1903 story goes on to say:

…the capital stock of the company is $400,000 and there is outstanding of this sum $359,000. The stock was issued to George Malcom for the plant and the present holders secured their holdings from him or his assigns.

A receivers’ sale that included the entire plant and property was held on June 30, 1903.

Notices for the sale listed the property holdings at that time which included brewery, malt house and stables.

The description of the brewery machinery provides an idea of the size of the operation at the time.

ALL BREWERY MACHINRY AND EQUIPMENT, sufficient for an annual output of about 150,000 barrels of ale and lager, including ice plant of about 40 tons capacity daily, and Milwaukee grain drying machine; malt house machinery of about 600 bushels capacity daily; also bottling machinery and office furniture..

STABLE CONTENTS, viz.: 36 horses, 27 delivery trucks and carts with harnesses, blankets, covers, feed and other stable supplies

The brewery was purchased by Claus (Charles) Doscher who, within 30 days of the sale, organized the Franklin Brewing Company. His brother and his sons were the officers, directors and holders of all the issued stock. The incorporation was announced in the July 31, 1903 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

Articles incorporating the Franklin Brewing Company of Brooklyn have been filed with the Secretary of State. The capital stock is placed at $500,000 and the directors for the first year are Charles Doscher and Henry F. Cochrane of Brooklyn and Henry Doscher, John Doscher and Herman Doscher of New York City.

Claus Doscher  passed away in 1910. Afterwards there were many failed attempts by the family to sell the company which was in financial trouble. The brewery eventually shut down in 1917 or 1918. According to an August 11, 1918 story in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle the brewery building had been sold and was being converted to a cold and dry storage plant around that time.

The former building of the Franklin Brewing Company, at Flushing and Franklin Avenues, is being converted into a cold and dry storage plant. Food merchants of the Walkabout Market for whom the lack of storage space for their products is a serious problem, will benefit materially by the new plant.

The building which faces on Flushing Avenue and has a frontage of 200 feet, extends to Skillman Street. The wings of the structure are five stories high and the interior eight.

The plant is already partially equipped and insulated and is ideally adapted for storage purposes. It will afford 430,000 cubic feet of cold storage space and about 620,000 cubic feet for dry storage.

The building was purchased at auction on July 9 by George Dressler, president of the Wallabout Market Merchants’ Association and head of the Walabout Basin Storage Company.

The plant is expected to begin operations about the first of September.

The building described in the above article is still located on Flushing Avenue.

The bottle I found is an export style beer bottle with a tooled crown. It fits the 1903 to 1917 time frame of the business. Being mouth blown, it probably skews toward the earlier end.