Kaier Family History

Chas. D. Kaier was born in Binningen in the Grand Duchy of Baden-Wurttemburg, Germany on March 6, 1837. Christened Anslem Troian, he Anglicized his name to Charles D. after he immigrated to America in 1854 with his parents, Andreas, a blacksmith, and Cresentia (Wittmer) Kaier. The parents and their five children, at that time, left Germany, traveled thru France via the Rhine-Marne canal to Le Havre and boarded the ship Valanden to sail to New York City, where they landed on July 24th, 1854.   The entire trip took two months. The couple settled in Norristown, PA, along with Anslem and his brothers, Xavier, George, Edward and his sister Josephine.   Xavier became a Catholic priest and spent his last 58 years as the pastor of St. Basil's Church in Dushore, PA, until his death in 1921. When Rev. Xavier was sent to Dushore in 1863 by the Bishop of Philadelphia, his parents, brothers George and Edward and his sister Josephine also went to Dushore, along with William and Ruth Rebecca, who were born in America.  Their home and farm was, and still is next to St. Basil's church that Father Xavier Kaier built.

When Andreas Kaier moved his family to St. Clair, PA, Anslem (Chas. D.) became a baker's apprentice. At the start of the Civil War, Charles D. Kaier, age 22, enrolled in the 9th Regiment Company H on 4/24/1861 as a private for a 3 month enlistment. This company was named the "Wetherill Rifles". He was mustered out of the army on 7/29/1861.  This 90 day enrollment was quite common at the beginning of the war because the military leaders of the Union thought that they would subdue the Confederacy in a short period of time. After his honorable discharge from the GAR, he returned to civilian life and  a few months later in 1862, he started the Chas. D. Kaier Co. in Mahanoy City, PA. He was an agent (distributor) for the Bergner and Engle brewery of Philadelphia, PA, before going into the liquor retail business on his own and eventually becoming a liquor rectifier and brewing his own beer. On Jan. 8, 1863, he married Margaret Curry, a schoolteacher, whose Irish immigrant parents, Patrick and Eleanora (Salmon) Curry, owned a hotel and restaurant in Pottsville, PA.

Chas. D. and Margaret Kaier raised six daughters and one son: Ella, the oldest, Mrs. John B. Lieberman, Josephine, Mrs. Michael Haughney, Margaret, also Mrs. John B. Lieberman, Mary (Mame), Mrs. Lloyd W. Fahler, Cresentia, Mrs. Richard Kirby, Charles F. married to Ester McGinnis and Amelia, the youngest, Mrs. Henry Schreyer. Three of Chas. D. Kaier's sons-in-law worked in the brewery at one time or another: Michael Haughney, John B. Lieberman and Lloyd Fahler. The Kaiers had three other children, Bridget, Anna and Troian Anselm, who all died at a very young age.

John B. Lieberman, whose father owned the Jos. A. Lieberman Eagle Brewery in Allentown, PA, moved to Mahanoy City, after marrying Ella, the oldest of Kaier's daughters. Educated at Heidelberg University in Germany, he became the treasurer for his father-in-law's brewery. When his wife, Ella, died their daughter Marie was 6 years old, he stayed on in Mahanoy City, employed by the brewery and eventually married Margaret Kaier Lieberman, his sister-in-law. John and Margaret (Maggie) had three sons, Charles F., Joseph A. and John B. II.   The Liebermann family, whose name was Americanized to Lieberman, came from Immendingen Germany, which is about 12 miles from Binningen, where the Kaiers lived in Germany.  No one knows if they knew each other in Germany. The Liebermanns came to America via the same route as the Kaiers. They sailed on the ship Tropic arriving in New York on May 24, 1854, exactly two months before the Kaiers landed in America.


Motherless Marie Lieberman, daughter of Ella Kaier Lieberman, was raised by her doting grandmother (Margaret Curry Kaier) in the Kaier Mansion, which was always called and referred to as the "Residence". A stunning beauty, Marie caused a great publicity commotion, sensationalized by the Philadelphia tabloids, when she eloped while still in her teens with a blacksmith's son from Shenandoah, PA. Infuriated, Mrs. Kaier hired Pinkerton detectives to retrieve the runaway heiress. After they did so, the grandmother disinherited her because Marie would not be separated from her husband, James Elliott. The couple left the coal regions and went on to raise a family and lived happily thereafter.

After his death in 1899, Kaier's widow, her 20 year old son, Charles, educated at Mt. St. Mary's College in Emmitsburg MD, and her 24 year old daughter Mary, always called Mame, both unmarried, operated the brewery, the opera house and handled his estate. Because of the brewery being too much to deal with for the widow and her two inexperienced children, or because of the family bickering over the father's will, or maybe for some other reason, the brewery was almost sold in 1900 and again in 1903.

Champagne Charlie Kaier was more interested in operating the Kaier Opera house than the brewery and the liquor establishment. He was a member of the exclusive Friar's Club of New York City, which was a haven for show people then as it is now. Too much money and immaturity probably contributed to allowing his sister Mame to take over the brewery and other major income sources.

After the mother's death in 1913, the family was estranged, torn apart in vicious court battles concerning her controversial will. She left the Kaier estate to her unmarried children, Charles and Mame, even though, according to her late husband's will, his fortune should have been divided equally among his six living children and his granddaughter, Marie Lieberman, who was to be awarded her late mother Ella's share. For years, the legal battle raged in the Pottsville courthouse. During the legal battles over Chas. D. Kaier's will, John B. Lieberman quit his job with the Kaier Co. and moved his family to Allentown, Pa and he went to work at his father's brewery. Michael Haughney also quit his job with the Kaier Co. and secured a job as a salesman for a whiskey distillery. The family's financial fighting is obvious as seen in the photo of Mrs. Kaier's birthday party in 1911, where none of her sons in law are present. This photo is shown in the Kaier items in the Kaier's Brewery web site. After some minor financial settlements the widow's illegal will prevailed and Mamie Kaier Fahler and her brother ended up with the Kaier fortune.

County newspaper reports of the bitter court confrontation concerning the will paled in comparison to a scandal in 1917 concerning Charles F. Kaier, nicknamed "Champagne Charlie" by the tabloids in Philadelphia where he had a reputation of being a millionaire playboy notorious for his extravagant life style. His name was found in the ledger, among that of other wealthy well-known clients, of a call girl, Grace Roberts, after she was found strangled by one of her silk stockings. The family was humiliated and his home town shocked. Some Mahanoy City businessmen, including a saloon owner, a haberdashery owner and a clerk in the Kaier Co. office, also intimate with Miss Roberts spent many sleepless nights contemplating the outcome of the investigation. The killer, Bernard Lewis, committed suicide upon being apprehended, but not until after the repeated sensational scandal sheet reports put "Champagne Charlie" under suspicion for the sordid sexual murder.

In the wake of the scandal, Kaier married a local girl from Mahanoy City who had worked as a cook in the family's hotel. He and his wife shared the Kaier mansion with his sister, Mame, and her husband, Lloyd Fahler, a Mahanoy City photographer. Mame successfully petitioned the Philadelphia courts to remove her brother as her co-executor of the Kaier estate because of his extravagance. Charles and his wife were banished with a reduced income to the family's summer home in Ventnor, NJ where he died a few years later when he was 42 years old.

With the death of "Champagne Charlie", there were no more Kaiers of Mahanoy City. He did have a son, born out of wedlock to a Shenandoah girl. Since it occurred while his mother was still alive, his sister, Mame, made financial arrangements with the unmarried woman to have the baby boy, without any identification, placed in an orphanage, to spare her mother the embarrassment of an illegitimate grandchild.

Lloyd W. Fahler was born in Allentown, PA and after he learned the photography trade moved to Mahanoy City, PA in 1906. He immediately started to court Mame Kaier, who was 31 years of age versus his age of 20 years. Mame's mother did not approve of the relationship because she thought that Lloyd was after her money and he was not of the same faith. In spite of her mother's feelings, Mame and Lloyd continued this clandestine relationship. Mrs. Kaier died in Dec. of 1913, and a few months later, in 1914, Mame and Lloyd were married in the Catholic Church, which Lloyd had converted to earlier. Mr. Fahler continued in the photography business until 1918. In 1918, four years after the wedding, and after Champagne Charlie's forced move to New Jersey, Mame made Lloyd the president of the Chas. D. Kaier Co., replacing Champagne Charlie, who was the president, while Mame remained vice president. Mame died in 1937, at the age of 62. Lloyd was 91 when he died in 1977.

Many people ask what happened to the Kaier money and how much was involved.  In the Kaier's Brewery History, we mention that the Kaier Brewery was almost sold in 1903 for $1,243,000 ($25,232,900 in 2004 dollars). With the Kaier Hotel, Opera house, whiskey business, investments and other interests, the Kaier assets would amount to quite a sum at that time. When Mary Kaier Fahler died in 1937, her probated gross estate was $91,586. Her interests in the Chas. D. Kaier estate and her interest in the estate of Margaret Curry Kaier estate, where the Kaier Brewery and other assets were buried, was willed to her husband, Lloyd Fahler, along with her own estate. When Lloyd Fahler died in 1977, his probated estate assets totaled $2,781,581,  ($8,261,295 in 2004 dollars ) which he willed to Mae Mouser, his niece, until her death. When Mae Mouser died in 1990, the Lloyd Fahler estate was valued at $1,694,200. Over a million dollars went to the Mae Mouser estate and Mae's daughter and the other half million went to Fahler nieces and nephews.

Descendents of Chas. D. Kaier  as of April 2006

Grandson                                       Linage                                Home

Thomas Schreyer                      Amelia Kaier Schreyer                FL

Great grand children

Marie Elliott Davis                     Ella Kaier Lieberman                 TX

Mary Ellen Elliott Adams            Ella Kaier Lieberman                 NJ

Charles F. Lieberman jr.            Maggie Kaier Lieberman            CA

Joseph A. Lieberman jr.             Maggie Kaier Lieberman            NY

John C. Lieberman                     Maggie Kaier Lieberman            GA

Mary Lieberman Loizeaux          Maggir Kaier Lieberman             NJ

Chas. L. Lieberman                    Maggie Kaier Lieberman             PA

Maggie Lieberman Cimei            Maggie Kaier Lieberman             NJ

Carolyn Lieberman Walinchus    Maggie Kaier Lieberman             PA

John B. Lieberman III                Maggie Kaier Lieberman              PA

Gretchen Lieberman Bishop       Maggie Kaier Lieberman              PA

Anne Lieberman Crossen           Maggie Kaier Lieberman              PA

Mary Lieberman Goodwille        Maggie Kaier Lieberman              PA

Susanne Schreyer Brown           Amelia Kaier Schreyer                 CT

Jerimiah Schreyer                       Amelia Kaier Schreyer                 CT

Jeanie Schreyer Duggan              Amelia Kaier Schreyer                MD

Carol Schreyer                           Amelia Kaier Schreyer                 CT

Rita Schreyer Wagner                 Amelia Kaier Schreyer                 VA

Henry Schreyer                           Amelia Kaier Schreyer                 VA

Thomas Schreyer                        Amelia Kaier Schreyer                  NV   

And 62 living great great grandchildren, includung Michelle Ryan, the only living descendent of Josephine Kaier Haughney, and numerous g g g grandchildren.  I don't know of any descendents of Cresentia Kaier Kirby, Mamie Kaier Fahler and Chas. F. Kaier, who were the other three children of Chas. F. Kaier, who lived to adulthood.  

John C. Lieberman     4/8/2006



Kaier's Brewery History

America was truly the land of opportunity for entrepreneur Charles D. Kaier. At the age of 43, he owned one of the largest breweries in Pennsylvania, was a bank president, operated a grand opera house, a hotel and restaurant, the Broad Mt. Water Co. (Kaier's dam), an ice company and controlled the operations of the Anthracite Light, Heat and Power Company. He also owned 40 taverns in the Mahanoy City area, owned a whiskey rectifying operation and ran a thriving retail liquor business.

Coming to America in 1854 at the age of 15, he was a Civil war veteran, married, and in the liquor business by the age of 23 when, in 1862 he founded The Chas. D. Kaier Co., in Mahanoy City, PA. His firm would last over 100 years. Until 1880, Mr. Kaier's primary business was in liquor, although he did package and sell beer for other brewers during that period. He purchased whiskey from distillers by the barrel and after transferring it into bottles and then sold it by the quart or pint. Before 1890, he had his own rectifying plant and was making his own blend which was named "Kaier's Special "A" Whiskey". In the 1960 film (video), you can see the word "Distillery" painted on the bottom on the west side of the stack. There are still some glass mixed drink stirrers, with Kaier's Special "A" Whiskey" etched into the glass, in the memorabilia market.  (see Kaier items on the Kaier web site).

Chas. D Kaier was successful in the retail liquor business and his success continued with his brewery. In the late 1870's, he convinced his cousin, Franz Kaier, to leave Germany and be the brewmaster in the brewery Chas. D. was building. He sent Franz to the American Brewing Academy in Chicago, so that he could become familiar with American brewing terms and the English language in order to have a better working relationship with the brewery employees. The brewery opened in 1880 as part of the Chas. D. Kaier Co..

In the first major expansion of the brewery in 1892, he installed two industrial refrigeration compressors, (prior to this , Kaier's used stored ice, caves and underground vaults to keep the processing beer cold), He also moved his whiskey rectifying area to the third floor of the bottle shop, where the barrels of rye whiskey and corn (Bourbon) whiskey were blended and packaged into quarts, pints and jugs. Kaier's sold whiskey and other spirits until 1920 when prohibition went into effect.

In 1885, Philip Henry Fuhrman, who was the plant superintendent of the Kaier brewery and very friendly with his mentor, Chas. D. Kaier, returned from a vacation in Germany. Fuhrman, who a had accrued $25,000 in brewery stock through the generosity of his friend and mentor, Mr. Kaier, sued the Kaier Company for not managing the brewery properly while he was in Germany. Mr. Kaier quickly bought Mr. Fuhrman's stock (less than 5% of the total issued stock and terminated his employment. Mr. Fuhrman then went to Shamokin, PA, where he already had an interest in the Eagle Run Brewery. In 1896 the Eagle Run Brewery became the Fuhrman and Schmidt Brewery ( F & S ) And as many people said. "F & S was born, thanks to Chas. D. Kaier."

Chas. D. Kaier died in 1899. Control of the brewery, bank, opera house, hotel, Broad Mt. Water Co. etc. passed on to his widow, Margaret, who in a short time turned over the operation of the entire Chas. D. Kaier Co. to her two favorite unmarried children. Her daughter Mary (affectionately called "Mame"), who was 24 years old and the only son, Charles, who was 20 years old.

In 1900, the Schuylkill Brewing Company, which was the syndicate for the consolidation of brewing interests in Schuylkill, Columbia and Northumberland counties, failed in their attempt to acquire the Kaier brewery. On June 12th, 1903, the Kaier brewery was offered to a Mr. D. M. Graham, at his request, for the price of $1,243,000. In today's (2004) dollars , that would equate to $25,232,900. The Kaier brewery was sold to the Ortlieb Brewing Co. of Philadelphia PA in 1966 for $500,000. The price included $250,000 in cash in the Union National Bank of Mahanoy City. The cash in the bank was included in the sale to make the "finder's fee" more attractive. That $500,000 would equate to $2,775,000 in today's (2004) dollars. (One of the reasons for the difference is because in 1903, the brewery was netting about $3.00 per barrel per year versus $1.00 per barrel per year in 1966. And the 1903 production was 90% keg beer versus 50% in 1966).     [In the 1970's, at the Pabst Brewery in Pabst GA, which was a very efficient and highly automated plant, we generated a little over $11 net profit per barrel per year on sales of 4,500,000 barrels per year.]

According to the American Brewer magazine, Kaier's sold over 100,000 barrels of beer in 1903. The brewery had 150 employees at that time. Kaier's peak sales years were in the late 1940's when they sold 200,000 barrels of beer per year. In August of 1950, Kaier's beer was awarded 1st prize, "The Star of Excellence", in Brussels, Belgium for the best beer in the American/Canadian beer category. Television advertising and the nations national brewers forced Kaier's and many other brewers out of business in the 1950's and 60's because of price reduction and advertising that the small brewers could not afford. In 1945, there were 466 brewing companies in the USA, today (2004) the average person can only think of three, Anheuser Busch, Millers and Coors. There are very few small brewers, Yuengling of Pottsville PA being one of the best known.

The matriarch of the family, Margaret Curry Kaier, passed away in 1913. Legal battles over her disputed will left Mame and Charles in control, but only temporarily. Charles, "Champagne Charlie" was a member of the New York Friars Club and had more interest in the Kaier opera house than the brewery. Within a few years Mame ousted him and replaced him as president of the brewery and replaced him with her newly-acquired , and much younger husband. Never in the history of the Kaier brewery was the word "brewery" ever used as part of it's business name. And only from 1891 until 1894 was it legally known as the "Chas. D. Kaier Brewing Co." In 1894 the name was changed to the "Chas F. Kaier Co. Ltd." and remained that until 1920 when prohibition went into effect. After prohibition, in 1933 the legal Kaier's name was Charles D. Kaier Co. and remained that way until it was sold to Ortlieb's in 1966.

Mame and Lloyd Fahler did not want their names associated with the operation of the brewery during Prohibition, 1920 to 1933, since the plan was to keep the business profitable during the dry period. The Kaier brewery was operated by Shalleck and Zack, "two front men" who ran the risk of spending time in a federal prison if the brewery was caught putting out beer with an alcohol content over 0.5%. alcohol by weight. Bill Dewey also was involved in helping to operate the brewery during prohibition, but not in the same capacity as Shalleck and Zack. Kaier's sold legal "near beer" at 0.5% and illegal "good beer" at 3.2% alcohol by weight from 1920 until 1933.

While Prohibition was being enforced, Kaier's ran a pipe line down the North branch of the Mahanoy Creek to a barn on Vine Street (where the Schuylkill bus barn was later located), and racked (filled) their kegs with illegal high alcohol beer. The brewers had to brew high alcohol beer and distill most of the alcohol from that beer in order to make good tasting legal low alcohol beer. Kaier's had some secret walled-in cellars that contained this high alcohol beer that they had no intention of running through the distillation process. When the brewery was filling kegs and shipping this illegal beer, they had "spotters" stationed on all roads leading into Mahanoy City. These spotters had the license plate numbers and the model and colors of the Federal Agent's cars (naturally Kaier's paid for this information), and would phone the brewery if they spotted a Federal Agent's car. When the brewery received one of these dreaded calls, they immediately shut down the keg filling operation and assigned the employees to other jobs in the brewery. Kaier's used their bottling equipment during Prohibition to package "temperance" or soda as it is called today. They had a variety of flavors, including Kaier's Ginger Ale, Kaier's Root Beer, Kaier's Orange and others.

When Prohibition was repealed, then Mame and Lloyd Fahler ran the brewery without the help of the "gentlemen" bootleggers. In 1936, Kaier's bought out the new two year old Frackville Brewing Co. in Frackville, PA. They demolished the brewery buildings and removed the two-year-old equipment, moved it to Mahanoy City and used it in their expanded brewery which was dedicated in 1937. Kaier's next big expansion was in 1950, when all of the new packaging equipment was installed in the bottle shop and a new warehouse was built in the block south of the brewery property. Prior to 1892, when artificial refrigeration was installed at the Kaier brewery, Kaier's beer was aged in underground vaults on the brewery property. In 1968, the vaults were in excellent condition and not a stone was missing from the vaulted ceilings of tank cells. They probably can still be found on the brewery property.

These Kaier's brands were in use at some time during the brewery operation. 1892 - Kaier's Export Beer, Kaier's Salvator Beer and Kaier's Dublin Porter. 1894 - Kaier's Kaiser Beer and Kaier's Miner Beer. 1912 - Kaier's Anthracite Beer.  !933 -1968 - Kaier's Beer, Kaier's Ale, Kaier's Porter and Kaier's Bock Beer. There could have been more, these are the only brands that I knew existed.

These men were the key Kaier employees in 1894.  President Chas. D. Kaier, Treasurer John B. Lieberman, Secretary Michael J. Haughney, Brewmaster Franz X. Kaier, Chief Engineer M. Schaefer, Manager of bottling department Lewis Sachs. Manager of brewery shipping Thomas J. Nolan, Manager of Liquor rectifying dept. Lewis Heller, Manager of Liquor shipping dept. Edward J. Kaier, General salesmen and collectors I. H. Rowlry, Val Mendlar, James O'Brein, A. L. O'Connor and M. Brobst.

The brewery had six presidents over the years. Chas. D. Kaier, Mrs. Margaret Curry Kaier, Charles F. Kaier, Lloyd W. Fahler, Chas. A. Domson and John B. Lieberman II, Chas. D. Kaier's grandson. The brewery had nine  brewmasters, Franz Kaier, Charles Korn, George Larson,  Jacob Maurer, Anton Von Winning, Charles Kuehner, Robert Bopp, Martin Hasenfuss and John Curtin Lieberman, Chas. D. Kaier's great grandson.

revised 4/8/2006   John C. Lieberman


Coal Region Area Brewers
1951 Beer Sales (Brewers Journal Publication)

Stegmaier 500,000 barrels
Kaier's 183,500 barrels
Old Reading 173,500 barrels
Gibbons 173,500 barrels
Yuengling 115,000 barrels
F. & S. 114,500 barrels
Sunshine 108,000 barrels
Neuweiller 100,164 barrels
Mount Carbon less than 80,000 barrels
Columbia less than 60,000 barrels

John C. Lieberman (Revised 4/28/2000)

"Champagne Charlie" Kaier and friends at a picnic.

L to R Johnny Williams-Mahanoy City cafe proprietor, "Champagne Charlie" Kaier, Charlie Silliman-Son of E.S. Silliman, Sr. founder of the Silliman Colliery and Mahanoy City Water Co, Reddy Haldeman-Mahanoy City's first auto mechanic. 

Contact me at: kaiersbrewery@earthlink.net

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