Henry Landgrebe, Valley Stream, L.I.

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Henry Landgrebe was associated with the Landgrebe Hotel from at least the early 1890’s until his death sometime prior to 1910. The Hotel was located on Rockaway Avenue in Valley Stream.

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He apparently operated it with a family member (brother?) named Adam Landgrebe. They both emmigrated from Germany in the late 1860’s and were both listed with hotel as their occupation in the 1900 census. Both Henry and Adam were listed as New York State Liquor Tax Certificate holders in 1898 with the category “hotel”.

According to Valley Stream history, in September 1894 School District 24 was organized and while the first schoolhouse was being built, Henry Landgrebe rented rooms in his hotel as classrooms.

Henry’s wife Elizabeth was listed as “head of household” in the 1910 census and Henry no longer appears. Adam remains listed with the occupation of hotel in 1910 and is listed as a New York State Liquor Tax Certificate holder through 1918, but by 1920 census no Langrebe’s are associated with the hotel business.

The Valley Stream Historical Society has two photographs of the hotel on their web site. The first taken around the turn of the century included a sign for “Ales, Wine, Liquor and Cigars”. In a subsequent 1920’s photograph, after the start of National Prohibition, that sign is replaced with one that simply says “café”. I’m guessing the Landgrebe’s probably got out of the business in and around the start of Prohibition.

The former hotel site is now a Chase Bank.

The bottle I found is a champagne style with an applied blob finish. It falls within the 1890 to 1910 range that Henry was involved with the business and probably dates to the earlier end of the period.

 

Albert Krumenaker, 512 & 514 West 166th St., N.Y.

 

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Albert Krumenaker was in business as a bottler from 1892 to the mid-1920’s.

The business was first listed in the 1892 NYC Directory as a bottler at 167th Street near Amsterdam Avenue. Sometime around 1894 he moved to W 166th Street. According to a March 18, 1902 article in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle:

Nine years ago (1893) Krumenaker built a house at 512 West One Hundred and Sixty-sixth Street…Two years later (1895), the Deputy Water Commissioner said, he built a house next door…

On a side note, the article went on to say that Krumenaker had installed an unmetered service in 514 and had under reported his water usage for several years.

The business incorporated in December 1899. The New York Times listed them under “New Corporations” in their December 21, 1899 edition.

Albert Krumenaker, Incorporated, of New York City, to bottle beer; capital $500. Directors – Albert Krumenaker, Julius Bach and Daniel Guggenheim, New York City.

The business served as a bottler for George Ehret’s Hell Gate Brewery. This is confirmed by an undated but old photograph of a Gramm Logan truck with a sign on the side that read” George Ehret’s, New York, lager beer, bottled by Albert Krumenaker, 508-514 W 166th St, Telephone 69 Audobon. The truck certainly looks like it’s from the early 1900’s.

krumenaker-car   krumenaker-sign

At some point he also became the wholesale dealer for Blatz Beer and in 1912 he ran a series of advertisements for Blatz in the “Evening World.”

According to a March 19, 1933 article in the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, the Krumenaker operation was absorbed by Liebmann’s prior to the start of National Prohibition.

Before Prohibition put a snag in the beer business Liebmann’s has absorbed many famous brands of beer and breweries. They were Peter Doelger’s, Welz & Zerweck’s, George Ehret’s, Obermeyer & Liebmann’s plaza brew, Beadelston & Woerz and the Krumenaker bottling works – and some 30 other brands. With the possible exception of Peter Doelger’s, all of them will remain absorbed, and they will reappear – are now being bottled as Liebmann’s

The business continued to be listed with the name of Krumenaker through 1925. In later years, the business included 508 to 516 West 166th Street in their address.  After 1925, as far as I can tell, the Krumenaker name vanished from the Directories.

Krumenaker passed away in August of 1927. His death notice is printed in the August 8, 1927 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle.

Today, the houses Krumenaker built at 512 and 514 West 166th Street no longer exist. 508 West 166th Street is an old apartment building that according to apartable.com. was built in 1910 so it appears to have been utilized by the business in its later years (this dates the above photograph to no earlier than 1910).

I’v found two Krumenaker bottles. One is a champagne style tooled blob (12 oz) certainly from his earlier history. It has the 512 and 514 West 166th Street address embossed on it near the base so it most likely dates no earlier than 1895. The other is a machine made export style probably from the decade before the start of National Prohibition.

Chas F. Kropp, 524 Robbins Ave., N.Y.

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According to the 1900 census records, Charles F. Kropp immigrated to the United States from Germany in 1886. He was actively in business in the Bronx, New York from 1900 to 1912, initially as a brewer and later as a mineral water manufacturer.

Between 1900 and 1908, the NYC general directories classify him as “beer” or “brewer.” In addition, the Chas F Kropp Brewing Co was listed in the 1904 and 1906 NYC Copartnership and Corporation Directories. Later, between 1909 and 1912, he’s classified in the general directories as “waters.”

Over the years, he was listed at the following locations:

  • 1901                   536  Trinity Avenue
  • 1902 to 1903   890 Jackson Avenue
  • 1904 to 1905  East 149th Street
  • 1906 to 1912   524 Robbins Avenue

In 1905 Kropp’s home address was listed as 524 Robbins, so Kropp was associated with the Robbins Avenue address from 1905 to 1912. He apparently passed away in 1913 or 1914. The 1914 directory listed Kropp’s wife, Barbara, as a widow.

Robbins Avenue has subsequently been renamed Jackson Avenue and 524 Jackson Avenue is a small one story structure that includes a garage door opening at street level. It looks too new to have been used by the Kropp business.

I’ve found a total of three bottles, all embossed with the Robbins Avenue address. Each of them has a tooled crown finish and fits the 1905 to 1912 time frame when Kropp was at that address. They are 8 oz so I’m guessing they contained mineral water as opposed to beer. This probably puts them at the later end of the time frame.

Hurley Bottling Co., Far Rockaway, N.Y.

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I didn’t find any information on a bottling company, but Jeremiah Hurley was listed as a Far Rockaway hotel owner located at Greenwood Ave n Broadway in the various Trow Business Directories of the Borough of Queens between 1899 and 1908-1909. (I’ve found that back then, many hotels ran their own bottling operation as well.) He was not listed in the 1890 Lains Business Directory of Brooklyn that included Far Rockaway, so the business probably started between 1891 and 1898.

An article in the April 20, 1909 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle stated that: “the Hotel was sold under foreclosure in November 1908 to Congressman Willett for $11,100.” Hurley still listed himself as a hotelkeeper on Greenwood Avenue in the 1910 census records and the NYS Commissioner of Excise lists him as a Liquor Tax Certificate Holder (Hotel – Greenwood Ave east of Broadway) in the years ending September 1913 and 1914. So, it appears he continued managing the business until at least 1914.

Hurley’s financial problems went as far back as 1905. On August 24th of that year a debtor’s petition and schedule was filed and the matter was referred to a referee. Eighteen creditors were listed including the North Side Brewing Co of Manhattan. At the time his assets were listed as $250 and his liabilities were $ 5,259.

The 1909 Brooklyn Daily Eagle article concerned a child custody battle between Hurley and his father for the young Hurley’s five children. The article included testimony regarding the hotel and what went on there: “they carried on every set of games in the house – dancing, singing and playing at times until the early hours of the morning.”

Records from the early 1900’s show that Greenwood Avenue was renamed Greenport Rd however there is no Greenport Rd in Far Rockaway today. Google Earth takes me to Gateway Blvd so it’s possible it was renamed again later. Gateway Blvd intersects with a one block long street called Hurley Court. I have to believe that the Hurley Hotel was somewhere in the vicinity of this intersection. The area is currently residential in nature with primarily single-family homes.

The one bottle I found is a pony with a tooled blob finish. This fits with the 1890’s to 1914 time frame. (Maybe it held some of the North Side Brewing Co.’s product?). I haven’t seen an example of this bottle on the Internet.

 

Otto Huber Brewery, Brooklyn, N.Y.

According to a profile on the Huber Brewery printed in the May 23, 1908 edition of the Staunton (Va.) Daily Leader, Otto Huber, an immigrant from Baden, Germany, started his brewery in 1866 with an approximate annual capacity of 2,000 barrels.

Before establishing his business he was associated with the Schneider Brewery, now the Congress Brewing Company. He saw the opportunity to make improvements in the brewing business and began on his own account at the corner of Meserole Street and Bushwick Place. Results soon justified his venture, and Mr. Huber built up a splendid trade with a thorough foundation. He died in 1899, leaving the business in charge of his eldest son, Otto Huber, Jr. The younger Mr. Huber survived his father only eleven years, and in 1900 the business was taken over by the two remaining sons, Joseph and F. Max. At this time the output had increased to about 105,000 barrels. The Otto Huber Brewery was incorporated in 1890.

This information is generally supported by the Brooklyn City Directories.

  • Otto Huber was first listed with the classification of beer in the 1867 Directory at the corner of Graham and Meserole
  • By the early 1870’s he was listed as beer at Mesrole near Bushwick.
  • The business was listed in the “1890 Lains Business Directory of Brooklyn and the early 1900’s editions of the “Trow Business Directory” for the Borough of Brooklyn. The address was always 240 Meserole or Bushwick Ave c. Meserole.
  • The Copartnership and Corporation Directory of the Boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens 1913-1914 continued to list Joseph Huber Pres and Tres and Max Huber Sec of the company.

According to the 1908 profile:

The original brewery was a frame structure, with a brick office building on Bushwick Place. A frame addition was erected in 1875 and the present brick structures replaced the old ones in 1885.

This early growth of the brewery was evidenced by an advertisement printed in the October 5, 1907 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle. The advertisement showed a depiction of the brewery at it’s beginning in 1867 and again in 1875.

The advertisement also showed the updated brick complex as it looked in 1907. By this time the output had grown to approximately 120,000 barrels.

At some point in the early 1920’s Edward B. Hittleman acquired the brewery calling it the Hittleman Golden Rod Brewery and later, the Edelbrau Brewery. The plant closed in 1951 shortly after the death of Hittleman. More information on the Hittleman years is contained in the another post on this site entitled “Munch Brewery Bottling Dept., Inc.”

The 1908 profile on Huber mentioned three brands of beer that they were brewing at the time. One, known as the “Standard” had been brewed since the beginnings of the brewery. Another, “Golden Rod” was described as a light beer made with rice in conjunction with  malt and hops.

The third was a product of malt and hops only called O.H. Malt Extract.” It’s origins were described in the December 20, 1896 issue of the ”Brooklyn Eagle.”

…$100,000 has been expended for the erection of a plant for the manufacture of a new malt extract, which has been made known all over the country as O.H. This beverage has been on the market but eight weeks, yet has met with such success that it is thought a still further expansion of the plant for its manufacture may soon become necessary. Many testimonials as to its efficiency in curing insomnia, dyspepsia, and nervousness, and as a nutritive tonic for convalescents have been received from physicians in various parts of this country, and indeed from countries all over the world. It is a pure malt extract, Mr. Huber says, containing but a slight percentage of hops and is entirely without coloring matter, being in this respect differentiated from other malt extracts. Chemical analysis has shown its percentage of alcohol to be lower and its percentage of solid malt to be higher than is the case with any other similar preparation. The present daily output of “O.H.” is 2,000 bottles, a remarkable record for a comparatively new preparation, and the indications are that the present facilities for the production of 10,000 bottles daily will soon be taxed to their utmost capacity.

An advertisement from the December 10, 1898 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, mentioned the “O.H. Malt Extract as well as the “Standard” and “Golden Rod” brands. It also included a fourth brand called “Muenchener,” which they described as a very dark, heavy brew. Interestingly, the advertisement pictured both crown top and blob top finishes.

huber-ad

An advertisement for “Golden Rod” earlier that year, in the March 26, 1898 issue of “Brooklyn Life,” only pictured bottles with blob top finishes.

Based on this, I have to assume that the brewery began using the crown finish around this time.

The March 1898 advertisement provided pricing information for each of their brands.

The new brew, “The OH Malt Extract,” which was mentioned in the above article and had first hit the market about a year earlier, was significantly more expensive; $2.00 for 12 as opposed to $1.10 to $1.25 for 24.

Several brewery buildings still exist. One on Meserole still has the letters O&H each set above one of two large garage door-type openings. According to an Internet web site, across the street is a saloon that was once part of the brewery facility and this surely looks to be the case.

One building that is no longer there, a five story warehouse, actually became a little piece of history. The building, torn down by Hittleman in 1942 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.

I have found both tooled crowns and machine made bottles (12 oz – Champagne Style). The tooled crowns are embossed Otto Huber Brewery while one of the machine made bottles is actually embossed “Golden Rod” named for the brand. This bottle most likely dates from between the years 1915 to 1920. The tooled crowns date no earlier than 1898. I’ve also found a machine made Hittleman Brewery bottle that dates to the Prohibition era or possibly after.

     

Hennessy & Nolan, Albany, 1879

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The proprietors of Hennessy & Nolan were John Hennessy and Murtaugh T Nolan. John Hennessy was first listed in the 1861 Albany Directory with the company of Kinsella & Hennessy. The company was listed as “root beer” and was originally located at 106 Arch Street. By 1867 they had moved to Morton Avenue, corner of Elizabeth Street.

Hennessy & Nolan was first listed in the 1870 Albany Business Directory under vinegar, located at 92 & 93 Quay Street. The next year, in 1871, the business was listed under “soda and mineral water” and located at Morton, corner of Elizabeth. Advertisements in the 1875 and 1877 Directories listed both the Quay Street and Morton Avenue addresses.

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So it appears that between 1871 and 1877 the business maintained two locations and, if I’m to believe the advertisements, they sold cider and vinegar at the Quay Street location and bottled soda and beer at the old Kinsella & Hennessy plant on the corner of Morton/Elizabeth Streets.

In the 1878 Directory, the Quay Street location was dropped from the listing and their advertisement only included one location: “Factory corner Morton, Elizabeth and Catherine Sts.”

As a result, by 1878, it looks like they had expanded at the Morton Avenue location to include the entire block of Elizabeth Street between Morton Avenue and Catherine Street and centralized the business on this block. The business remained listed at this location until 1912. In 1903, the company was listed for the first time as: Hennessy & Nolan (John Hennessy and M T Nolan estate) so it looks like Nolan passed away around this time.

In 1907, Hennessy and Nolan was one of 14 bottling companies in Albany to sign an agreement with Bottler’s Union No. 375. There were these seven points contained within the agreement:

  1. Only union men were to be employed.
  1. One could be discharged for disobedience of orders, intoxication, dishonesty, incompetency or disrespect to the employer.
  1. Nine hours constituted a day’s work hours: 7am to 5pm with an hour for dinner. This applied to inside men only. Peddlers worked on a 50 hours per week schedule. There was no Sunday work (except as necessary to maintain the business).
  1. Overtime was paid as time and a half. Holiday and Sunday work was paid double-time.
  1. Election Day, Labor Day, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day, New Years Day, Decoration Day and the 4th of July were considered holidays.
  1. An arbitration committee was established to resolve disputes.
  1. Wages were established as follows: Peddlers $15, Wagon Helpers $10, Beer Bottlers $14, Mineral Water Bottlers $16 and Assistant Bottlers $12.

Today, the buildings on the block between Morton and Catherine are all quite old and some could very well date back to the 1870’s. The east side especially has several two and three story buildings and a small one-story garage/warehouse building.

The bottle I found is a small pony with an applied blob finish. Most likely a soda bottle, it has the year 1879 embossed on it. This puts it at the Morton/Elizabeth/Catherine location right after the business centralized there. How it got to the south shore of Long Island is anybody’s guess.

Wm. V. Geis, Far Rockaway, N.Y.

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The March 3, 1899 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle announced the formation of a new corporation called Kirkman, Rae & Geis. William V. Geis was named as one of the three principals.

Walter B. Kirkman, Albert F. Rae of Far Rockaway, and William V. Geis of 218 East One Hundred and Twenty Fourth Street, Manhattan, have associated together under the incorporated name of Kirkman, Rae & Geis for the manufacture of mineral waters and other similar beverages. The capital stock is $7,500 and its principal place of business will be at far Rockaway.

The 1899 Trow Business Directory of the Borough of Queens listed the business of Kirkman, Rae & Geis in Far Rockaway at William n Crescent, Far Rockaway, under both ‘bottlers” and “manufacturers of mineral water” headings. Subsequently, the 1903, 1907, 1908-1909 and 1912 Trow Business Directories of the Borough of Queens all listed Wm V. Geis at the same location. Based on these records, I’m guessing Geis bought out Kirkman and Rae and became a sole proprietor sometime between 1899 and 1901.

In addition to mineral water, Geis also bottled beer, apparently acting as an agent and bottler for Pabst Blue Ribbon. He placed an advertisement in the “Wave of Long Island”, a weekly newspaper for delivery of two-dozen Pabst Blue Ribbon bottles for $1.25. The advertisements were found in the Sept 7, 1901 and July 5, 1902 issues.

geis-ad

In 1909, Geis joined with Sidney Jackier forming the Geis-Jackier Company. An item in the November 27, 1909 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle reported:

Articles of incorporation of the Geis-Jackier Company of the Borough of Queens have been filed with the State Department. The capital is $10,000. The directors are Sidney Jackier, William V. Geis, Hattie Jackier and Elsie C. Geis of Far Rockaway.

They were named as a Far Rockaway bottler in a listing of Long Island Industrial Establishments contained in the September 8, 1910 issue of The Brooklyn Daily Eagle and they were listed in the Brooklyn and Queens section of the NY Telephone Book in 1910, 1914 and 1915 (the only editions I could find).

Sidney Jackier had signed a five year lease to operate the Haffner Neptune Park Hotel in August of 1909, two months prior to incorporating Geis-Jackier. I suspect that the business served as the bottling and catering operation for the hotel. In fact, its possible that both businesses were actually one and the same. Geis-Jackier’s listed address was Crescent Opposite William while Wm V. Geis listed their address as William near Crescent.

Geis-Jackier only stayed in business until 1913 or 1914. According to a story in the October 23, 1915 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, Jackier gave up the lease for the hotel after four years and had been declared bankrupt. Coincidently, the last listing I can find for Wm V. Geis is in the 1912 Trow Business Directory.

By the late teens Geis had become the proprietor of the Hewlett Inn on Long Island.

He was no longer listed in the Queens telephone books by 1914 so I’m guessing that he moved to Long Island and became associated with the Inn around the time that the Geis-Jackier business came to an end. I haven’t seen a Geis bottle with “Hewlett” embossing so I have to think he was out of the bottling business by this time.

He remained with the Hewlett Inn until his tragic accidental death in 1921. According to a story in the October 15, 1921 issue of the N.Y. Times he died in an accidental shooting.

While preparing to start on a hunting trip in the Adirondacks early yesterday morning, William V. Geis, proprietor of the Hewlett Inn at Hewlett, L.I., was accidentally shot by Paul Weidman of Woodmere, L.I., one of three friends who were to have accompanied him. Geis was rushed to St. Joseph’s Hospital at Far Rockaway, where he died several hours later. When dying he made a statement to Justice of the Peace Raisig exonerating Weldman from all blame.

Weidman, dazed from what had just occurred, ran from the house after the shooting, muttering that if his friend died he would end his own life. Up until late last night Weidman, who is a prosperous bus owner, had not returned home and his family were apprehensive. Mrs. Elsie Geis, widow of the dead man, also exonerated Weidman.

Sheriff Charles Smith, after an investigation, said he was entirely satisfied that the gun had been accidentally discharged by Weidman during an exhibition as to how he would handle a hold-up man if the occasion arose.

Whatever became of Paul Weidman is unknown.

Both Crescent and William in Far Rockaway have changed names over the years. Crescent is now Brunswick and William is now Wheatley. Wheatley near Brunswick puts the business about a block from the LIRR Far Rockaway station.

I’ve found varying type bottles, including tooled blob tops (8oz), tooled crowns (8, 12 and 28 oz) and machine made crowns (8 and 28 oz). The 12 oz bottles were brown…maybe containing the Pabst Blue Ribbon mentioned in the advertisement? All others are aqua. The pictures show an assortment of mouth blown bottles. All are embossed Far Rockaway.

Joseph Fallert Brewing Co., Ltd., Brooklyn, N.Y.

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Joseph Fallert, brewer, was first listed in the 1876 Brooklyn City Directory with a home address at 248 Meserole Street. By 1880 he was listed individually at his long time plant location at 66 (52-66) Meserole Street. This is in general agreement with early 1910’s Fallert advertisements that indicate that the business was established in 1878.

Fallert was listed this way through 1887. In the 1889 Directory the listing changed to “Joseph F Fallert Brewing Co., Ltd. At this point the business listed both an office address of 86 Lorimer Street and plant address of 60 Meserole Street. In the 1904 Directory, the office location moved to 346 Lorimer Street.

This rendering of the Fallert plant appeared  in a publication called “Bushwick and Her Neighbors, Vol 2,” published in 1909.

Fallert’s 1897 calendar highlighted several beers that they marketed under what they called their “Arrow Brand.”

The Joseph Fallert Brewing Co., Brooklyn N. Y. hereby announces that they have adopted and registered labels on their arrow-brand “Alt-Bayerisch,” “Standard” and “Superb” Beer.

Newspaper advertisements for them began appearing as early as December of 1896. This advertisement that appeared in the January 30, 1897 edition of the New York Tribune appears introductory in nature, suggesting that they began bottling them at around that time.

A series of advertisements in December 1896/January 1897 editions of the ‘Brooklyn Eagle” described Alt-Bayerisch as:

A dark beer especially brewed and bottled for family use where a strengthening and healthy beverage is necessary. It’s a food.

fallert-ad

Later, in the mid-teens, they advertised a bock beer as well.

At some point, it’s not clear when, Fallert passed away and his son, also named Joseph, took over the management of the business. Fallert, Jr.’s obituary, in the March 24, 1919 issue of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle stated:

Mr. Fallert was born in Brooklyn and educated in the Brooklyn public schools. He went abroad as a young man and studied the brewing business, and following the death of his father, Joseph Fallert, many years ago, succeeded him as president of the Fallert Brewery, to which he devoted all his business lifetime. He was a practical brewer himself and personally supervised all the workings of the establishment.

The 1913 – 1914 Copartnership and Corporation Directory of Brooklyn and Queens listed Joseph Fallert Pres, Bertold Fallert VP & Sec and Charles Fallert Tres. By this time, I assume that Fallert Jr. is the president. He continued serving as president of the company until his death in 1919.

It’s not clear if the business continued to operate during and after National Prohibition. The business was listed in the 1922 Copartnership and Corporation Directory of Brooklyn and Queens and continued to be listed as the Joseph Fallert Brewing Company at the 346 Lorimer Street office location through the late 1930’s. After Prohibition, in the classifieds (today’s yellow pages) for 1935 and 1936 they were listed under beverages even though classifications such as beer, beer gardens, brewers or bottlers were available. In the 1940’s they were still listed in the general phone books at the same address but dropped the word “Brewing” from the company name. By 1950 I don’t see them listed at all.

I should note that I haven’t been able to find any Fallert advertisements during or after Prohibition so it appears they may have been operating in name only. Prior to Prohibition they advertised quite a bit.

It appears that several buildings associated with the brewery are still standing including the offices at 346 Lorimer Street.

I found two champagne style 12 oz Joseph Fallert Brewing Co. Ltd bottles each with the trademark Arrow embossed on it. One is a tooled blob, the other a tooled crown. Both were manufactured no earlier than 1896, recognizing that that’s when Fallert began bottling the brand.  The blob probably dates to the late 1800’s – early 1900’s and the crown early 1900’s.

Excelsior Brewing Co., 271 Pulaski Street, Brooklyn, N.Y.

 

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The driving force behind the Excelsior Brewing Company was John Reisenweber who was the owner of a restaurant called “Reisenweber’s at the Circle.” Located at Columbus Circle, it was one of the oldest and most popular New York City restaurants at the time. His entry into the brewing business and the early history of the brewery was described in a section of the Staunton (Va.) Daily Leader entitled “Industry and Commerce” published on May 23, 1908.

Scores of New York’s prominent citizens and many thousands whose frames are not enrolled in any Hall of Fame have quaffed the foaming steins of beer dispensed at the popular hostelry and restaurant of mine host John Reisenweber at Columbus Circle, but few of them are aware, perhaps, that the grateful beverage served there has been brewed under the vigilant eye of the genial hotel man himself. To them it will be interesting to learn that Mr. Reisenweber is the president and active head of the Excelsior Brewing Company, whose large plant at Hart and Pulaski Streets, Brooklyn, N.Y., is a worthy example of a large industry.

What is now the Excelsior Brewery was established in 1890 by the Fred Hower Brewing Company. This company went into bankruptcy in 1895, and the brewery was taken over by the John Kart Malting Company of Buffalo, a creditor. In 1898 a number of gentlemen engaged in the liquor business in Greater New York conceived the idea of co-operating in the establishment of a modern brewing plant. The leader in the movement was John Reisenweber and associated with him were Frederick D. Frick, Charles P. Faber, Franz Neumuller and others…

Casting about them for a suitable site, they learned that the Hower plant was in the market, bought it, and on the 16th of May, 1898, took possession. The new owners almost immediately took steps to remodel the then small brewery. They built extensive additions, including new cellars, which increased the storage capacity from 75,000 barrels to 150,000 barrels, and installed a new 75-ton refrigerating machine and complete set of new boilers.

As a result of these extensive alterations, which cost $200,000, the Excelsior Brewery today is second to none in New York in point of modern equipment, and ranks among the largest in point of capacity and output. The buildings, which are fireproof, are up to date in every detail. The company owns a plot equal to 33 city lots, having a frontage of 700 feet on Pulaski Street and running through to Hart Street. The output, which was only 20,000 barrels in 1895, was gradually increased to 160,000 barrels last year. To operate the brewery requires over eighty employees, while 95 horses, 38 wagons and 2 electric trucks are required for the distribution of the output. This output, besides having many consumers in Greater New York, is shipped to points on Long Island, in New Jersey and Connecticut. The value of the plant has practically trebled and it is today worth about $1,500,000.

Four grades of beer are brewed – Real German Lager, Pilsner Bohemian and Wurzburger. In quality they are equal to the best imported product and their popularity is attested by the strong and growing demand for them.

The officers of the company are John Reisenweber, President; Franz Neumuller, Vice President; Frederick Frick, Treasurer, and Charles P. Faber, Secretary.

The feature mentioned that the Reisenweber ownership group took possession of the plant in May of 1898. It wasn’t long after that the brewery reopened. The August 1898 issue of the “American Brewers Review” announced that:

The newly organized Excelsior Brewing Co of Brooklyn NY was opened on July 31, 1898. Some German singing societies were invited among others who helped entertain the visitors by a number of songs. The favor accorded to the new brew must have given John Knoll, the brew-master, intense satisfaction. The guests were received by Franz Neumueller, the first vice president and Ernst Distler, the superintendent.

An advertisement published in March of 1909, provided an overall picture of the plant less than a year after the feature was written.

The Bottling Department of the brewery was apparently run by John H Muller. His name appears on an October 5, 1907 advertisement that touted the same four beers mentioned in the 1908 feature: Pilsner, Real German, Bohemian and Wurzburger.

The 1913-1914 Copartnership and Corporation Directory of the Boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens continued to list John Reisenweber Pres, Frederick D Fricke Tres and Charles P Faber Sec. Frick was an old time New York hotel man who owned Earle’s Hotel on Waverly Place. Faber, also in the hotel business, was a director of the Dollar Savings Bank.

A June 21, 1921 article in the “Beverage Journal” provided a review of brewery activities (during prohibition) that stated that the Excelsior Brewery was operating a cold storage plant and was producing cereal beverages. In May 1923 the plant apparently closed and was sold at public auction.

excelsior-sale

The plant in Brooklyn ultimately sold for $500,000 and the Excelsior Brewing Company was dissolved in August of 1924. The July 1, edition of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle wrote:

The dissolution of the Excelsior Brewing Company, 254 Hart St., another victim of the Volstead law, will be completed by August 15, as the result of an order signed today by Justice Callaghan, setting that date as a limit for the filing of any claims against the defunct corporation. The certificate of dissolution was filed today in the County Clerk’s office and the petition to Justice Callaghan by John Reisenweber, who was president of the corporation, states that all of the presented claims have been paid.

Four years later the plant was operational again producing a “near” beer called “OLDe KEG” under the name of Excelsior Brewery, Inc.

While Olde Keg may have been “Within the Law,” other beverages being produced by the brewery in the late 1920’s apparently were not. On August 8,1930, the current reputed owner, Charles I. Mandel, was arrested and the brewery seized for violation of the prohibition law. This followed a seizure the day before of equipment for bottling and distributing beer in a garage on DeKalb Avenue, a block away. The prohibition agents contended that they traced a pipeline through an old sewer trench from the garage into the brewery. Later the arrest and seizure were voided on the grounds that the federal agents failed to obtain a search warrant prior to invading the premises.

Nonetheless, the brewery was seized again in August of 1931. This seizure was also set aside even though 35,000 gallons of beer were found on the premises. It was ruled that the search warrant was obtained on insufficient evidence.

In 1932, the plant was sold to a group of Manhattan purchasers headed by Samuel Rosoff, a contractor and subway builder. It operated as the Kings Brewery from 1932 to 1938 when it was closed after an attempted reorganization in 1937.

A community school is currently located at the former brewery location.

I have three bottles from this business. One is a champagne style tooled blob embossed Excelsior Bottling Dept that probably goes back to the beginning of the Reisenweber ownership. The bottle also has the initials JHM embossed on it which stand for John H Muller. The two other bottles are champagne style tooled crowns from 1900-1910.

 

H. M. Eilenberg, Phillipsburg, N.J.

eilenberg-1                            eilenberg

It appears that John Eilenberg, and later his son Henry M Eilenberg, operated a wholesale liquor business on S Main St in Phillipsburg NJ.

According to his obituary, published in the December 29, 1922 issue of the Plainfield Courier News, John Eilenberg was a long time resident of Phillipsburg.

Mr. Eilenberg was born in Sussex County and went to the schools there. He started to work as a telegraph operator for the Central Railroad of New Jersey. He moved from Philadelphia to Phillipsburg in 1860, and has lived there since. He was a wholesale liquor dealer until twenty-one years ago. He was one of the oldest active building and loan officials, having been for fifty-one years secretary of the Building and Loan Association No. 5 of Phillipsburg. He held the position until his death.

As president of the town council and a member of that body for a number of years Mr. Eilenberg was identified with many activities here.

Eilenberg listed his occupation as “attend liquor store” in the 1880 census records, so the business extended back at least that far, however, its possible that it goes back even further. In 1870, census records listed his occupation as a merchant and the 1873 Phillipsburg Directory listed his occupation as a clerk, so a start in the 1860’s is not out of the question.

Based on the directory information that I could find the business was located at 533 South Main up until at least 1894. One directory, “The Warren County History and Directory or the Farmer’s Manual and Business Men’s Guide – 1886” contained a printed advertisement.

Sometime between 1894 and 1898 the business moved to 362 South Main. In the 1906 and 1908 Directories, John’s son, Henry M Eilenberg was listed as a wholesale liquor dealer at the same location. Presumably Henry took over the business in 1901 if the information in the obituary is correct.

Around this time an item in a local publication referred to the business as: H M Eilenberg, Bartholomay’s Beer, S Main St in Phillipsburg. Based on this it looks like the business served as the beer company’s local agent and bottler for a while.

In the 1910 directory, the business was no longer mentioned and Henry’s occupation was listed as a machinist.

The 525 S Main Street address is currently a vacant lot. 362 South Main is an older three story apartment building with commercial stores at street level and could date back to the business.

The bottle I found is 8 oz and embossed “H.M. Eilenberg. It looks like a soda water although I guess it could have contained Bartholomay beer. It’s a tooled crown so it fits within the time frame that John’s son Henry ran the business.