The J stands for James H VanBrunt who operated as a bottler under that name in Far Rockaway beginning in 1904 and likely continuing up through the start of Prohibition. He served as a local agent for Brooklyn’s Otto Huber Brewery.
Van Brunt apparently took over the business of H C Muller in Oct/Nov of 1904. The following letter appeared in the November 15, 1904 issue of the “American Carbonator and American Bottler”
One year later, the September 25, 1905 issue of the Brooklyn Times Union reported that VanBrunt’s bottling factory sustained $1,000 worth of damage in a fire.
Fire occurred late Saturday night on the first floor of the two-story and attic frame building at Carlton Avenue and the Long Island Railroad tracks, Rockaway. The building is owned by Otto Huber of Meserole Street and Bushwick Avenue, Brooklyn, and was occupied by James Van Brunt as a beer bottling establishment. The loss, $1,000, is covered by insurance.
Van Brunt survived the fire and remained in business for at least the next 15 years.
The business was listed in the Trow Business Directory of the Borough of Queens 1907, 1908-9 and 1912 as a bottler of lager beer Carlton Ave c Guy. This location was identical to the former address of HC Muller. In addition, the ensignia on his slug plate is remarkably similar.
H. C. Muller’s business is addressed in another post on this site. H. C. Muller, Far Rockaway, L.I.
The NYC Telephone Directories for Brooklyn and Queens continued to list him between as “Huber’s Beer,” with a Carlton Avenue address up through 1920. He’s no longer listed in the 1925 directory so I suspect he was a victim of National Prohibition.
Carlton has been renamed Nameoke Avenue and Guy has been renamed Augustina Avenue. 1910 census records indicate that VanBrunt’s family and a boarder all lived on Guy (Augustina) Street, probably at the same location as the business. This leads me to believe that an old frame building that, until recently, sat at the northwest corner of Augustina and Nameoke, once accommodated the business as well as the family.
Situated close to the Long Island Far Rockaway station, the building matches the description included in the 1905 story above; “two-story and attic frame building.” The building has recently been demolished.
The bottle I found is a champagne style tooled crown (12 oz) that fits the early 1900’s time frame. I’ve seen blob top bottles embossed with the VanBrunt name pictured on the Internet, so I assume it’s not one of his initial productions.