Empire Bottling Works, Rockaway Beach, New York

    

The Empire Bottling Works was established in June, 1905. Nathan Goldberg was named as one of the four original directors and apparently the one actively involved in the management of the business. A Russian immigrant, prior to establishing the bottling business Goldberg lived on Second Street in Manhattan where he listed his occupation as  “hotel keeper” in the 1900 census records.

The company’s incorporation notice was published in the June 10, 1905 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

The 1913/1914 Copartnership and Corporation Directory of Brooklyn and Queens continued to associate Nathan Goldberg with the business listing him as president of the company. His son Samuel, a lawyer by trade was named vice president.

The business was located in a small portion of Rockaway Beach called Hammels for most if not all of their history.

Initially, a September 5, 1906 story in the Times Union mentioned that the Empire Bottling Works was located at 23 and 25 South Hammel Avenue (later named Beach 85th Street), which they went on to say was also the dwelling of Nathan Goldberger.

Later directories and tax certificates between 1906 and 1927 listed the business on Division Avenue (later named Beach 82nd Street) near Boulevard.  At times they also used a Boulevard address (both 497 and 522 were listed at various times).

Their 1905 incorporation notice only mentioned mineral waters but the company certainly bottled beer as well. This is confirmed by a labeled bottle that recently appeared for sale on the internet. The label named the Empire Bottling Works of Rockaway Beach as the local bottler for Koehler & Co.s Fidelio Beer.  Information on Koehler & Co.and Fidelio Beer is available in more detail within another post on this site.  Fidelio Brewery, New York

   

By 1928 the business was listed at 75-18 Rockaway Beach Boulevard which was technically just outside of Hammels. As far as I can tell Goldberg’s wife Yetta was listed as a widow in the 1930 census records so its quite possible that the business ended around that time. The company was not listed in the 1940 Queens phone book. (I don’t have access to any directory information from the 1930’s.)

The bottle I found is 27 ounces and machine made.

 

Fidelio Brewery, New York

 

In name, the Fidelio Brewery, dates back to 1916 when the well established brewing business of H. Koehler & Co. changed their name to the Fidelio Brewing Co., Inc. The company had been brewing beer under the “Fidelio” brand name, since at least the late 1890’s and likely much earlier. The name change announcement was printed in the February 21, 1916 edition of the “Evening World.”

ANNOUNCEMENT

To-day this sixty-four-year-old business, with all its traditions and enviable reputation for ideals of quality, is launched under a new name-

Fidelio Brewing Co.

…Formerly H. Koehler & Co.

The announcement stated that Koehler & Co. was a 64 year old business but, in fact, the roots of the business dated back even further to a brewer named Alexander Gregory who was listed in Manhattan at 6 Sheriff Street in the early 1840’s.

In 1843 Gregory partnered with Phillip C. Harmon and for the next ten years their brewery business was listed as Gregory & Harmon. The Harmon family apparently bought Gregory out in 1852 (the year that coincides with the reference to the business being 64 years old) and renamed it Harmon & Company. The business was listed as Harmon & Co. up through 1862 when a notice in the May 27, edition of the New York Times indicated that both the brewery and its contents were up for sale at that time.

It was at that point the Koehler name entered the picture when three brothers, Herman, Joseph M. and David M. Koehler, bought the brewery. The 1864/65 NYC Directory listed the business as the Koehler Brothers, and it was still located at the 6 Sheriff Street address. Then sometime between 1865 and 1867 the brewery moved to First Avenue between 29th and 30th Street where it would remain until the late 1940’s or 1950.

In the early 1870’s Joseph and David Koehler were no longer associated with the brewery address and the Koehler Brothers name had been dropped from the directories. This apparently left Herman in charge of the entire operation until sometime in 1883 or 1884. At that time he partnered with Samuel Goldberger, changing the name of the business in the directory listings to Herman Koehler & Co.

Koehler and Goldberger continued to be listed as partners until Koehler’s death on April 16, 1889. The following year the 1890 Copartnership and Corporation Directory named Samuel Goldberger as the sole principal of the business and shortly afterward the name of the company was shortened to H. Koehler & Co. Goldberger, according to his June 15, 1905 obituary published in the (Long Branch N. J.) Daily Record, remained owner and president up until the time of his death, after which his son Norman S. Goldberger took over. It was Norman who changed the company name to the Fidelio Brewing Company in 1916.

It’s not clear to me exactly when their famous “Fidelio” brand name was introduced.  By 1898 they were using local distributors to sell it in neighboring New Jersey so it was almost certainly available in New York prior to that. This advertisement printed in the December 23, 1898 edition of the (New Brunswick N. J.) Daily Times also mentioned Koehler’s ale and porter in addition to their Fidelio Beer.

Based on this March 22, 1905 advertisement published in the Evening World I think it’s safe to assume that they had added a bottling operation to the brewery at around that time. Introductory in nature, the advertisement made it clear that Fidelio Beer “can now be obtained directly from our brewery,”

From Brewery to Home

We have just established a delivery service for the prompt distribution of our pure FIDELIO BEER fresh to your door. Not a flat bottle in the lot, our beer is thoroughly pasteurized, is absolutely pure and can now be obtained directly from our brewery.

Shortly after the start of National Prohibition the company, now operating under the Fidelio Brewing Co. name, held a “voluntary dissolution sale.” The notice of the sale, printed in the October 10, 1920 edition of the New York Tribune, provided a good description of the brewery operation at that time.

Lot-1 Fidelio Brewing Co., Inc., plant (with all permanent fixtures), complete brewery comprising whole front on 1st Avenue, 29th to 30th Streets, and adjoining on each street, nearly 14 lots in all, together with garage, complete bottling unit, 60 ton ice making plant, etc.

Lot 2 – About 6,500 Barrels Fidelio brew, malt, hops and sundries brewing materials, also about 500 tons coal.

Lot 3 – Good will, chattel mortgages, book value $133,000; leases, bottles, cases, crowns, draught-packages, shop supplies, etc.

Lot 4 – Auto trucks, automobiles

Lot 5 – Real estate, free and clear, at 316 Oakland Street, corner Huron Street, building with lot 25 x 100 ft., Brooklyn N.Y.

The sale was held on October 13, 1920 with previous president, Norman S. Goldberger, the successful bidder. The result was printed in the October 22, 1920 edition of the New York Tribune.

Buyer of Brewery Property

Deeds just recorded reveal that Norman S. Goldberger, president of the Fidelio Brewing Company, was the successful bidder at the recent auction of the company’s brewing plant on First Avenue, Twenty-Ninth and Thirtieth Streets. L. J. Phillips &Co. acted as auctioneers.

The company was listed as Fidelio Brewery, Inc. in the 1925 New York City Directory, so it appears that Goldberger incorporated the business under that name after the sale.

According to an article published in the June 27, 1932 edition of the Cincinnati Chronicle Goldberger’s brewery had been turning out near beer and malt tonic at the rate of 15,000,000 to 20,000,000 bottles annually during Prohibition. Another article published around the same time in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle mentioned that this equated to roughly 10 to 15 percent of the brewery’s capacity.

Their Prohibition brews were listed in the June 30, 1932 edition of the Hartford Courant.

Approximately 25 percent of the brewery’s present business is represented in the sale of Fidelio Purity Brand Malt Tonic, which commands higher price than any other malt tonic sold as a cereal beverage. Other brands at the company are Fidelio Old Lager, Fidelio Double Brew, Fidelio Red Label and New Yorker Brew.

This advertisement for their Purity Brand Malt Tonic and New Yorker Brew appeared in the July 9, 1931 edition of the (Bridgewater N. J.) Courier News.

The Hartford Courant story went on to say:

These products are sold in more than 20,000 stores in the Metropolitan District through chain stores and independent dealers. The largely localized character of the business is a major factor in economical distribution by the company’s own fleet of trucks.

In 1932, with the repeal of the Volstead Act looming the company reorganized again, this time inviting public investment. The June 27, 1932 edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle announced the reorganization.

Fidelio Brewery To Be Reorganized

Fidelio Brewery, Inc. has been organized and incorporated under the laws of New York to take over the business heretofore conducted by Norman S. Goldberger, under the name of Fidelio Brewery…Mr. Goldberger will head the Fidelity Brewery, Inc…

The need for public investment was explained in the June 27, 1932 edition of the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Available brewing equipment would be insufficient to quench the thirst of the millions in the metropolitan district, should beer be legalized, the announcement said, adding “Realization by the management that the legalization of the brewing and sale of beer would necessitate bringing production up to brewing capacity has influenced the decision to invite public participation in the business.

This advertisement promoting the stock offering appeared in the November 10, 1932 Long Branch (N.J.) Daily Record.

As the date ending Prohibition neared, the Fidelio Brewery was included in a March 15, 1933 New York Daily News pictorial essay entitled “Happy Days Are Here Again…Well, Almost Anyhow.” It featured a photo with the caption “Master Brewer Henry E. Kayan (left) of Fidelio Brewery superintends repair of beer kegs as brewery begins to hum.”

…and the following month this April 20, 1933 advertisement for Fidelio Beer appeared in the New York Daily News.

Nathan S. Goldberger died in March 1936 at the age of 52 at which point Goldberg’s brother in law, Frank Deitsch, assumed the presidency until the late 1930’s.

The end of the Fidelio Brewery name came on November 15,1940 when the company changed its name to the Greater New York Brewery, Inc. A November 16, 1940 Brooklyn Daily Eagle item made the announcement.

Brewery Changes Name

Edgar H. Stone, chairman of the board, announces that effective November 15 the name of the corporation was changed from Fidelio Brewery, Inc., to the Greater New York Brewery, Inc.

Around that time Lowell Birrell became involved with the business and by 1942 he was serving as president and chairman of the Greater New York Brewery. During this period the company acquired three additional breweries – Horton Pilsner, City Brewing and Lion Brewing. In December, 1944 he changed the company name to Greater New York Industries and expanded into other fields.

According to an April 24, 1964 article in the New York Times Birrell was later accused of being one of history’s great stock swindlers, accused of looting a dozen or more corporate treasuries of $40 million. The article went on to say that he had been tabbed by the Securities and Exchange Commission as “the most brilliant manipulator of corporations in modern times. He spent several years in the 1950’s and early 1960’s exiled in Cuba and Brazil until finally returning to the United States to face trial.

Needless to say, the history of the business after Birrell got involved is confusing and unclear, at least to me. What I do know is this.

The Greater New York Brewery survived and apparently moved their operation to Brooklyn where they remained operative or at least maintained facilities up through 1950 or 1951. In 1942 the company listed their office on First Avenue in Manhattan but their plant was now listed at the previously acquired City Brewing plant address of 912 Cypress Avenue in Brooklyn. The First Avenue office listing was dropped the following year but the Brooklyn plant address remained listed in the NYC Telephone Book through 1951. This November 13, 1947 Brooklyn Daily Eagle advertisement confirmed that they were still brewing beer at that time.

The plant in Manhattan was apparently acquired by another NYC brewer named Louis Hertzberg who renamed it the Metropolis Brewery. Hertzberg at one time or another was also connected with the Old Dutch Brewery and North American Brewery in Brooklyn and the Pilser Brewery in the Bronx. He also ran the Metropolis Brewery of Trenton New Jersey.

The Metropolis Brewery of New York was listed at the old Fidelio address of 501 First Avenue in the 1945 Manhattan Telephone Book where it remained through the early 1950’s. An advertisement from the November 1, 1948 edition of the New York Daily News showed at that time he was brewing his Pilser brand at the Metropolis Brewery. He also brewed Champale Malt Liquor during this period.

By 1953, the brewery had been converted into a warehouse and much of its equipment had been shipped half-way around the world to Israel. The surprising story was told in the July 20, 1953 edition of the Berkshire Eagle.

Transplanted N. Y. Brewery Lick’s Israel’s Beer Shortage

All Israel languished over the weekend in searing heat ranging from 90 degrees in Haifa to 115 in Elath. All except Louis Hertzberg, 65, a brewer of Trenton N.J. who has just transported to the Holy Land the old Fidelio Brewery from First Avenue between 29th and 30th Streets, opposite Bellvue Hospital in New York…

To set up the brewery here cost about $2,300,000, of which Mr. Hertzberg put up most and two United States and three Israeli associates smaller sums. In addition to parts of the First Avenue brewery, he brought over equipment from three other New York properties he formerly operated – the Old Dutch Brewery in Flatbush, the North American Brewery on Green Avenue in Brooklyn and Pilser Brewery of 161st Street. Not to mention 2,000,000 amber bottles to supplement Israeli production.

The story went on to say that they intended to continue making the old Fidelio brew under a new name.

New Yorkers who wonder what happened to the familiar landmark of First Avenue – now a warehouse – may be interested to know that as the result of the brewery’s removal, the Israelis, who are accustomed to being short on nearly everything, need never be short on beer again.

Nor need Manhattanites despair of ever again drinking the old Fidelio brew. For under the name of Abir (meaning Knight in Hebrew), beer from the National Brewing Company of Israel will be exported to the United States. Mr. Hertzberg thinks the novelty of beer from Israel will make it easy to sell enough Abir through the distribution network of his Metropolis Brewery of New Jersey to cover his new enterprise’s needs in foreign exchange.

A little over a year later, in August of 1954, Abir was being imported to the United States where I found it listed for sale under the heading “Something New” at a local liquor store in Asbury Park, New Jersey.

This labeled Abir bottle was recently offered for sale on the Internet. Amber, it certainly could have been one of the 2,000,000 bottles that Hertzberg brought with him from the United States during the start-up of the Israeli operation.

   

The Fidelio bottle I found is 12 ounce, export style, machine made and embossed “Fidelio Brewery, New York.” The business specifically included “Fidelio” in the company name from 1916 up through 1940, so the bottle almost certainly dates somewhere within that period.

I couldn’t end this post without mentioning Fidelio’s bond with McSorley’s Ale House. Established in 1854, McSorley’s is one of the oldest and most famous saloons in New York City. An April 14, 1940 story in the New Yorker Magazine explained their relationship with Fidelio.

Except during prohibition, the rich, wax-colored ale sold in McSorley’s always has come from the Fidelio Brewery on First Avenue; the brewery was founded two years before the saloon. In 1934, Bill (McSorley) sold the brewery the right to call its ale McSorley’s Cream Stock and gave it permission to use Old John’s (McSorley) picture on the label; around the picture is the legend “As brewed for McSorley’s Old Ale House.”

Advertisements for McSorley’s Cream Stock Ale were plentiful in 1937 and 1938 editions of the New York Daily News.

       

According to the McSorley’s web site they continued to use the company’s brew after the name change to Greater New York Brewery and did so until the business went into receivership. This likely happened in the late 1940’s or 1950. PABST now services McSorley’s.

Joseph Eppig Brewery, Brooklyn, N.Y.

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

 

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.

Some time in the mid-1920’s it appears that Hittleman had acquired portions of 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.

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 lager 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.

As the obituary states, up until 1879 the brewery was producing weiss beer which is top fermented. At that time the brewery was converted to produce bottom fermented lager beer, which was gaining popularity in the U. S. at the time.  This is supported 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.