Fanatic5 - Family Passions
Brewery History
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The brewing traditions of England and the Netherlands that were brought to the United States, ensured that the colonies were dominated by beer drinking. Dutch breweries such as Beverwyck (pronounced "BEAVERwick"), operated within the eastern portions of New York state.

Up until the middle of the 19th century, ales dominated American brewing. This changed as the lager styles, brought by German immigrants, turned out to be more profitable for larger-scale manufacturing. Names such as Schmidt's, Kaier, Stegmaier, Yuengling, Horlacher, Neuweiler and countless others settled in the eastern parts of Pennsylvania, drawn by the coal mining industry.

Lagers produced by these breweries, were not the weak and mild lagers now associated with modern American mega-breweries. These "pilseners" were a significantly stronger beer, both in flavor and alcohol, designed to meet the appetites of the various central European immigrants working the coal mines.

An amazing 2,520 breweries were operating in the United States in 1879. New York, with 365 breweries, was the largest beer-producing state in 1879. New York City supported about 75 breweries alone. Pennsylvania was the second largest beer-producing state with 317 breweries.

Here are some of the former and current breweries visited during recent years.....

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In Allentown, Neuweiler products were brewed on North Front Street from 1913 until the late 1960's.

People remember the cheerful slogan "Nix Besser" or "None Better" for the auslanders. Around the corner on Gordon Street, the Horlacher's brand was brewed until 1978. Others might remember the Daeufer Lieberman brewery, which closed after World War II.

 

Neuweiler Brewery, Allentown, Pennsylvania
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The main entrance on Front Street

I had the opportunity to visit the remains of the Louis F. Neuweiler's Sons Brewery during a recent vacation through eastern Pennsylvania. The remaining buildings are in good shape, considering the length of vacancy since closing in 1968.
 
Neuweiler produced several fine brands: Light Lager, Cream Ale, Stock Ale, Premium Ale, Bock (seasonal), Half & Half, Porter, Stout and Hochberg. Most were available in the 12 oz. "Steinies" or Export bottles, quarts, cans or kegs (full barrel to eighthals).
 
The "Hochberg" brand was brewed like an imported European beer using the finest ingredients. This beer also used a special process called "Dry Hopping" which resulted in extra aroma and bouquet. The brewery stated this was the only beer made to this process in America.
 
The brands were purchased by the Ortlieb Brewery of Philadelphia, who also purchased Fuhrmann and Schmidt (Shamokin) in 1966.
 
When the Neuweiler Brewery closed, the F&S Brewery produced several of the Neuweiler beers (Porter, Light Lager and Cream Ale) from around 1970 until closing in 1975.
 
After F&S closed, the Ortlieb brewery continued Neuweiler Cream Ale at the Philadelphia plant until the late 1970's.
 
U-Permit #PA-U-323 (Neuweiler)

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Neuweiler Main Facility

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Neuweiler smokestack in good condition

Stegmaier Brewery, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania
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The brewery started by Charles Stegmaier are now offices

One of the most prominent breweries of Northeastern Pennsylvania was the Stegmaier Brewery located in the commercial center of Wilkes-Barre.
 
Although the brewery closed in 1974, the Brewhouse has been recently restored as a modern office building and has been designated a local landmark.
 
Today, the Lion Brewery produces several of the Stegmaier beers at their current location a few blocks away. The brewery that is now known as "The Lion" started out as the Luzerne County Brewing Company in 1905. We visited the company in 2005 while celebrating their 100th anniversary!
 
Luzerne survived Prohibition, but was bought out in the early 1930's and renamed The Lion Brewery. Also known as the "Lion-Gibbons" brewery, it was a successful regional brewery, producing an average 200,000 barrels a year from the early 1940's on with their famous "Gibbons" brand...
 
"If it's Gibbons...it's Good!"
 
When Stegmaier closed in 1974, The Lion acquired their brands.
 

The "Porter" has a rich, black, malt flavor that goes down easy and finishes dry. The taste hints of coffee, caramel and chocolate. An "Old World" taste!

 

U-Permit #PA-U-342 (Stegmaier)

U-Permit #PA-U-355 (Lion)

Stegmaier Porter
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Click Here for Lion Brewery

Stegmaier Porter "Gold Medal"
World Beer Championships (1997)

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Stegmaier Coaster (1950's)

Kaier Brewery, Mahanoy City, Pennsylvania
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Remains of the once spacious brewery complex

What are U-Permits?

The end of Prohibition (the repeal of the 18th Ammendment) brought increased taxation of alcoholic beverages by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

An Internal Revenue Tax Permit known as a U-Permit, was mandated for each brewery, on beer containers produced from April 7, 1933 to early 1936.

What does IRTP mean?

Internal Revenue Tax Paid was an IRS requirement on all beer containers manufactured from April 7, 1933 to March 1, 1950.

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The Chas. D. Kaier Brewery Company of Mahanoy City was founded in 1862. The brewery sold over 100,000 barrels of beer in 1903. By the late 1940's, peak production reached 200,000 barrels per year. In August 1950, Kaier's received the "The Star of Excellence" award in Brussels, Belgium.
 
Kaier's was later sold to Ortlieb's of Philadelphia in 1966 and closed in 1968. Television advertising and the national brewers forced Kaier's and many other smaller breweries to close during the 1950's and 1960's, due to advertising and price reduction (since the smaller breweries could not compete).
 
U-Permit #PA-U-320 (Kaier)

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Some Pennsylvania Trays

Here is a sampling of "post-prohibition" brewery trays in our collection. The majority are former breweries of New York City and eastern Pennsylvania.

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Some New York Trays

Kaier's Brewery
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Mahanoy City, Pa.

The borough of Mahanoy City was established in 1863 and played a central role in Schuylkill County's anthracite coal production during the Industrial Revolution. During the 19th century, it was also the center for a clandestine society of Irish coal miners known as the "Molly Maguires." Members would engage in violent activities against anthracite companies to protest labor injustice. I would imagine the beer flowed frequently throughout the 40 taverns owned by Charles Kaier!

 

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Eastern Pennsylvania Coal Region Breweries
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
Neuweiler - 100,164 barrels
Mount Carbon - less than 80,000 barrels
Columbia - less than 60,000 barrels
 
 

Straub Brewery, St. Marys, Pa.
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The boys visited the brewery in May, 2005

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Click Here for Straub Brewery

 
Straub is a small, family owned brewery operating since 1872 in St. Marys, PA.
 
Distribution is limited to Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio. Vistors can tour and sample some of the freshest beer around from the famous "Eternal Tap" located at the brewery. 
 
U-Permit #PA-U-304A (Straub)
 
 
 

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Jon & Josh at Straub Brewery (November 24, 2006)

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Tradition is gone!

Rolling Rock is a brand of lager beer developed in Latrobe (PA). It was distributed in green glass bottles with painted, rather than the more common printed labels. The number "33" appears on all bottles of Rolling Rock. Several explanations have surfaced regarding the mystery behind this number. One account refers to prohibition (repealed in 1933), while another offers the brewery location on 33rd Street in Latrobe. However, according to a former brewery CEO, the "33" signifies the thirty-three words in their slogan:

"Rolling Rock from the glass lined tanks of Old Latrobe, we tender this premium beer for your enjoyment as a tribute to your good taste. It comes from the mountain springs to you."

An executive wrote the number of words in the slogan to indicate how much space was required on the bottle. The draft was sent to the printer and the first batch of bottles had the number "33" imprinted (during the "Depression" years, there was no reason to throw away perfectly good merchandise). Even as the wording on the labels changed over the years, the main paragraphs were carefully structured to retain a length of "33" words.

Rolling Rock also coined the term "Pony Bottle" referring to a smaller (7 ounce) bottle derived from the company's horse image.

Until 2006, Rolling Rock was brewed at the Latrobe Brewing Company. In May, the Rolling Rock and Rock Green Light brands were sold to corporate America.

 

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Click Here for Stoney's

The Jones Brewing Company, located in Smithton (PA), was founded in 1907 as the Eureka Brewing Company. It operated as the Puraqua Products & Ice Co. under Prohibition and resumed brewing in 1933 as the Jones Brewing Company. Brands included Stoney's and Esquire. Brewery production closed in 2001 under bankruptcy protection, however, a sales office still operates at the Smithton facility. Stoney's is now brewed and marketed by the Pittsburgh Brewing Co.
 
 

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Koehler Brewery (Erie, PA)

The Eagle Brewery was purchased by Jackson Koehler in 1883, which became the Jackson Koehler branch of The Erie Brewing Company in 1899. The brewery closed in 1978 and was demolished in 2006.

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Our Recommended Choices (current Pennsylvania Brands):

 

- Lion Brewery (Wilkes-Barre) Regional – Stegmaier Porter, Oktoberfest, Holiday Warmer, Bock

 

- Jones Brewing Co (Smithton) Contract – Stoney’s

- Straub Brewery (St. Marys) Regional – Premium, Peter Straub’s Special Dark

 

- D. G. Yuengling and Son (Pottsville) Regional – Porter, Black & Tan, Premium, Lager

 

- Pennsylvania Brewing (Pittsburgh) Regional – Penn Dark, Penn Oktoberfest, St. Nikolaus Bock

 

- Iron City Brewing (Pittsburgh) Regional – Augustiner, IC Light

 

- Erie Brewing (Erie) Micro – Presque Isle Pilsner, Mad Anthony’s Ale, Railbender Ale

 

- Stoudts Brewing (Adamstown) Micro – Winter Ale, Double India Pale Ale

 

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Hope you enjoyed our website.
Proud to be, own and buy . . . AMERICAN!

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