Fanatic5 - Family Passions
Former Breweries (New York & Pennsylvania)
Fanatic5 - Family Passions
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Dedicated to My Grandfather (NYC)
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Athletic Leagues, College, High School
Rock Music History, Groups, Albums
Music, FM Radio and the 1960's
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Brewery History
Former Breweries (New York & Pennsylvania)
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Family Memories
In My Father's Memory

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Ebbets Field (Brooklyn)

It was 1962 at Lafayette High in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. The senior class had a student by the name of Schaefer. Every morning Mr. Munisteri would take attendance by calling each student's name. The class anxiously waited for him to call out "Mr. Schaefer" so everyone could start singing:

 

"Schaefer is the one beer to have, when you're having more than one."

 

Yes, the beer companies did their work well in the 1950's, maybe because back then, beer was still beer. It wasn't imports, designer labels or microbreweries. It was beer and if you doubted its stature, just attend a baseball game.

 

Nowhere was beer prouder or more majestic than at Yankee Stadium, Ebbets Field or the Polo Grounds, whose huge scoreboards were dominated by the logos, not of the team or the stadium itself, but their sponsoring beer.

 

At Yankee Stadium, it was Ballantine written across the bottom of the huge scoreboard in right center field. The only words you could read from Manhattan were "It's a HIT...Ballantine Beer & Ale" followed by the famous three-ring logo.

 

At Ebbets Field, under the right field scoreboard clock, the message was equally direct "Schaefer – Real Beer!"

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Ebbets Field (right field wall)

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At the Polo Grounds, deep in left center, spoke Knickerbocker, the boldest of them all, taking over the whole scoreboard. "Knickerbocker" ran across the top, with a Colonial chap hoisting a cold one. On the lower right read "Have a Knick."

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Polo Grounds

N. Y. Giants &

Knickerbocker

Advertisements

 

 

Knickerbocker ran a contest when they were a sponsor for the New York Giants baseball club. Fans could fill out a form at their local tavern and submit them to the brewery. During the Giants home games, radio announcer Russ Hodges would say "Have a Knick, you'll feel refreshed."

 

 

A musical jingle followed..."Each home game the Giants play, someone wins a prize that day." Hodges would then read the winner.

 

Knickerbocker produced a "Bock Beer" during the summer months, which was a little heavier and darker in color than their regular beer. Quite often during the summer, one could stroll through the neighborhoods of New York, see a group of fans with their refreshments and hear Russ Hodges, Red Barber or Mel Allen on the radio (broadcasting for each of their teams).

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C. Schmidt & Sons (Philadelphia)

During the early 1950's, the smaller breweries were coming under pressure from the larger companies. By 1953, two of Philadelphia's main breweries, the John Hohenadel Brewery and the Jacob Hornung Brewing Co. would close. The remaining breweries, Gretz, Esslinger's, Ortlieb's and C. Schmidt & Sons would compete for the local beer market.

This is a short history of the C. Schmidt & Sons Brewing Company.

In 1859, Schmidt's produced about 500 barrels of ale and porter. In 1986, their capacity exceeded 5,000,000 barrels.

Schmidt's operated for over 125 years in a Philadelphia section called "Old Brewerytown." The brewery emerged successfully from Prohibition, World War II and the great beer wars of the 1960's to become Philadelphia's last surviving brewery.

The slogan "None Better Since 1860" would promote sales during the days immediately following repeal. During World War II, the highly successful slogan "Beer as Beer Should Be" was introduced.

In Norristown (PA), the Adam Scheidt Brewery, renamed the Valley Forge Brewing Company, was 89 years old when C. Schmidt & Sons acquired it in 1954. The brewery was well known throughout Pennsylvania for its products:

  • Valley Forge Beer
  • Prior Beer
  • Rams Head Ale

Valley Forge had a modern brewhouse (completed in 1938) and bottling plant (completed in 1948), providing a very efficient operation for transporting raw materials, due to various truck loading areas and a direct spur to the Reading Railroad.

In 1961, Schaefer bought Standard Brewing Company of Cleveland, Ohio. After a period of intense marketing and sales, Schaefer admitted defeat and sold the plant in 1963 to Schmidt's, which bought the facility to expand their Midwest distribution.

By the 1960's, Schmidt's operated three breweries in Philadelphia, Norristown and Cleveland. Beer was distributed within fourteen states to become Pennsylvania's largest brewery.

When Schmidt's closed in 1987, the city of Philadelphia was left without a brewery for the first time in over 300 years. My father loved this beer!

U-Permit #PA-U-333 (Schmidt's)

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Schmidt's Coaster (4")

 
Edelbrew Brewery (Brooklyn)

A German immigrant, Otto Huber, Sr., who had worked for other breweries in Brooklyn, established his own plant in the late 1860's. He purchased the Hoerger Brewery in 1866 and built the new plant, which became one of the largest and most productive breweries in Brooklyn. After his death in 1889, his sons managed the company and it remained in the family until the 1920's when it was sold to Edward Hittleman, who renamed the brewery after himself.
 
Hittleman produced "near beer" until repeal of Prohibition and in 1934 changed the name of the company to Hittleman-Goldenrod Brewery. Goldenrod was a traditional brand name dating to the Huber brewery. After being renamed Edelbrau after a popular beer, it was finally changed to Edelbrew in 1946. After Hittleman's death in 1951, the brewery closed.
 
U-Permit #NY-U-204 (Edelbrew)

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Edelbrew Menu Cover (1930's)

 

Former New York City breweries:

  • The Hittleman-Goldenrod Brewing Co. / Edelbrew (Brooklyn)
  • Liebmann Brewing Co. / Rheingold Breweries (Brooklyn)
  • King's Breweries Inc. (Brooklyn)
  • North American Brewing Co. (Brooklyn)
  • Old Dutch Breweries Inc. (Brooklyn)
  • Piel Brothers Inc. (Brooklyn)
  • F. & M. Schaefer Brewing Co. (Brooklyn)
  • John F. Trommer Brewing Co. (Brooklyn)
  • City Brewing Corp. (NYC)
  • Peter Doelger Brewing Co. (NYC)
  • Ebling Brewing Co. (NYC)
  • John Eichler Brewing Co. (NYC)
  • Fidelio Brewery Inc. (NYC)
  • Horton Pilsener Brewing Co. (NYC)
  • J. Christian G. Hupfel Brewing Corp. (NYC)
  • Jacob Ruppert Brewing Co. (NYC)
  • Yonkers Colonial Corp. (NYC)
  • Linden Brewing Inc. (Long Island)
  • Rubsam & Horrman Brewing Co. (Staten Island)

John Eichler Brewing Company
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Acquired by Rheingold in 1947

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Piel Bros. (Brooklyn)
 
Piel Bros. introduced canned beer in 1936 and had the world’s largest beer sign erected on the roof of the brewery (the famous "elf" throwing a bowling ball and hitting the pins for a strike). The sign was 100 feet high, weighed 14 tons and took six weeks to build.

In 1948, William Piel expanded the brewery by building a seven-story addition. The annual capacity was now 900,000 barrels.

On April 1, 1949, the seven locals of the International Union of Brewery, Soft Drink Cereal, Distillery and Grain Workers of America, went on strike against the 14 breweries operating in New York City. The strike lasted for 81 days, resulting in an estimated sales loss of $75 million for local breweries. The strike allowed the out-of-town breweries to secure a foothold in the taverns of New York City, which hastened the demise of the local breweries.

Starting in the 1950's and through the 1960's, Piel's used Bert and Harry Piel in their advertising.

In 1951, after Piel's acquired the Trommer label and Brooklyn plant of John F. Trommer, Inc. with its 300,000 barrel annual capacity, the company exceeded 1,000,000 barrels in sales for the first time.

On April 6, 1953, William Piel, president of Piel's died. He had been with the company since 1909 and president since 1935. He was succeeded by Henry J. Muessen. This marked the first time a member of the Piel family was not head of the company.

Mr. Muessen felt the company was still short of capacity. A new plant would have required extensive capital, so the company opted to buy the R&H label and Stapleton (Staten Island) plant of Rubsam & Hormann in December 1953 with its 150,000-barrel annual capacity.

In 1955 as Piel's slowed down in sales, the Trommer plant, probably with the highest cost, was closed down. In 1963, the R&H plant in Stapleton was also closed down. Competitors with more modern plants and lower costs were taking market share away from the older higher cost plants.
 
The Hampden-Harvard (Willimansett, MA) brewery was acquired by Piel's in 1962. By 1963, the management of Piel Bros. decided to sell the company and was acquired by Associated Brewing Company of Detroit, Michigan. They operated regional breweries such as Jacob Schmidt (St. Paul, MN), Sterling (Evansville, IN) and Drewry’s (Chicago, IL and South Bend, IN).
 
Piel Bros. was operated as a subsidiary of Drewry’s and Hampden-Harvard as a subsidiary of Piel Bros. Associated was able to produce profits in the 1960's with this group of regional brewers.
 
In 1969, the last good year, their sales were $93 million with a net profit of $2 million. In 1970, the sales of some of their beer labels declined and costs went up. They closed their Chicago plant and sold all of their breweries to the G. Heileman Brewing Company of LaCrosse (WI), with the exception of the Piel Bros. plant in Brooklyn (NY) and the Hampton-Harvard plant in Willimansett (MA).
 
Deciding to get out of the brewing business, Associated in 1972 and 1973 offered for sale the Piel Bros. Brooklyn plant and the Hampton-Harvard plant in Massachusetts. In 1973, they almost completed a deal with Rheingold, but at the last minute it collapsed.

In March 1973, a newly formed company, Tomarch, Inc. bought Piel Bros. from Associated including the Willimansett plant. However, the losses continued and on September 20, 1973, the Piel Bros. plant in New York was closed after 90 years of operation.

For a period of time, the Willimansett Plant continued to operate, but was closed in 1975, leaving no breweries in western Massachusetts. Schaefer bought the Piel Bros. label and kept it alive by running "Bert and Harry Piel" radio commercials in 1975. Today, the label survives under the Pabst name.
 
U-Permit #NY-U-213 (Piel Bros.)

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Frank Brewery (circa 1913)

William Frank/City Brewing (NYC)

The brewery located on the west side of Cypress Avenue was founded in 1867 by Jacob Marquardt. In 1892, the brewery was sold to William Frank.

In 1897, the annual capacity of the brewery was expanded to 150,000 barrels and later in 1899, five new buildings were added (a tower on one building reached 180 feet).

In 1915, William Frank became ill and later sold the brewery in 1916. It was renamed Enterprise Brewery and lasted through most of Prohibition. When Prohibition ended in 1933, the plant was the City Brewing Corporation (Koenig-Rauch-Paulsen Brewers).

Buildings were modernized to produce "Tally-Ho" and "Koenig" (Ale/Porter) as their major brands. In 1945, the brewery was sold again and renamed the Greater New York Brewery, which closed in 1950.

U-Permit #NY-U-223 (City Brewing)

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Here is an "eight-panel" brochure from the early 1960's describing the line of malted beverages offered by Louis F. Neuweiler's Sons (Allentown, PA). 

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Remains of DuBois Brewery (November 24, 2006)

The DuBois (pronounced Du-boyz) Brewing Company was founded by a German native and former Eberhardt and Ober (E&O) brewmaster, Frank Hahne (Sr.) in 1897. By 1906, the brewery had four products on the market, DuBois Wurzburger, Hahne's Export Pilsner, DuBois Porter and the famous DuBois Budweiser.

When Anheuser-Busch heard that the DuBois Brewery was using the name "Budweiser" they filed a lawsuit. For over sixty years, the DuBois Brewing Company claimed ownership to the name "Budweiser" and in 1951, a district court in Pittsburgh gave DuBois the legal right to the name "Budweiser." The decision was appealed to a higher court and was once again ruled in favor of the DuBois Brewing Company.

In 1932, Frank Hahne Sr. passed away, leaving the company to Frank (Jr.), his only son. In 1967, Hahne Jr. sold the brewery to the Pittsburgh Brewing Company and five years later, it was closed forever. The "Budweiser" name was finally settled with Anheuser-Busch.

U-Permit #PA-U-307 (DuBois)

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Cheers, Prosit, Nazdrowie

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
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Proud to be, own and buy . . . AMERICAN!

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