Albany’s Historical Brewery Prohibition Tour

First Location- Beverwyck Brewery

Source
Source

Beverwyck Brewery first opened in 1878, being one of many at the time. Once the Erie Canal opened in 1825, brewing business in Albany grew exponentially due to the access to the River, as well as a new route of transportation. The difference between Beverwyck Brewery and all but two other breweries, this one didn’t go out of business due to the prohibition of 1920. Instead of completely shutting down and closing it’s doors, this brewery had a license to produce non-alcoholic beverages instead. When the prohibition ended in 1933 Beverwyck Brewery began brewing again. When they reopened they created 6 different products. These products included Beverwyck India Ale and Porter which was produced from 1933 through 1944. From 1933 through 1950 they brewed Beverwyck Ale, Bock, Beer and Irish Cream. Sadly, the Brewery was sold in 1950 to F & M Schaefer Brewing Co. of Brooklyn, New York. In 1972 F&M Schaefer closed down the brewery for good.

Wikipedia. Accessed March 02, 2016. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beverwyck_Brewery.
“Old Beer Ads: Beverwyck Beer Newspaper Ad (1936).” Old Beer Ads: Beverwyck Beer Newspaper Ad (1936). Accessed March 02, 2016. http://oldbeerads.blogspot.com/2013/04/beverwyck-beer-newspaper-ad-1936.html.

 

Second location- Albany Pump Station

Advertisement and label design for Evans' Ale, c. 1900
Advertisement and label design for Evans’ Ale, c. 1900

The original family to start the Albany Pump Station was the Evans family. Their family was in the brewing business for three generations. Their original brewery was built in Hudson at one of the country’s earliest known bottling facilities in 1786. This brewery drew in water from the Hudson River and pumped underneath Clinton Avenue. This Brewery continued to produce beer up until the prohibition of 1920. This current location opened up in 1999 when Neil Evans decided to buy the building back from the city of Albany. Neil Evans was the next generation down from the part of his family that lost the building to prohibition. He renovated the building and named it C.H. Brewing Co. This brewery is still open today, and a year after opening the Preservation League of New York recognized it with an award for project excellence.

Wikipedia. Accessed March 02, 2016. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albany_Pump_Station.
“History – Albany Pump Station.” Albany Pump Station. 2010. Accessed March 02, 2016. http://www.evansale.com/2010/12/03/history/.

 

Third Location- John Taylor & Son’s Brewery

In the early 1820’s John Taylor opened up his first brewery with his partner Lancelot Fidler. He then opened a  second larger brewery in 1831 when he bought out his partner. John Taylor was the first man to take advantage of the Erie Canal for use of transporting his beer to New York City, and then the rest of the world. By the 1850’s John Taylor would go on to open the largest brewery in Albany, producing over 200,000 barrels of beer a year. His fame grew from his flagship beer, which he named “Imperial Albany XX Ale”. After he created this beer, which was double the strength of a normal beer, many Albany brewery’s around him started to create their own version of double strength Albany Ale beer. At the time, his sons were running two brewery offices in Boston and New York City. Next thing they knew, Albany Ale was being sold everywhere you could imagine. In 1952 Taylor Brewery, now Taylor and Son’s Brewery, moved to their most recent location at Broadway and Arch Street in Albany, New York. The new location was huge. In fact, it was one of the largest in the country. The brewery contained two buildings that were both over 5 stories high. The buildings included a grain elevator, fire malt houses, pressure kettles, and a “pontoon” refining system. Within 30 years they were the largest brewing company in the U.S. John Taylor passed away in 1863, with a net worth today being over $400 million dollars. The Son lived another ten years and then once he died the brewery went to family. The brewery had it’s last days in 1905, but Albany Ale still lives on.

“Albany Ale Project.” Albany Ale Project. Accessed March 02, 2016. http://albanyaleproject.com/history/rise.html.
“Drinkdrank: The Session 56: Thanks to John Taylor – the Original American Big Boy.” Drinkdrank: The Session 56: Thanks to John Taylor – the Original American Big Boy. Accessed March 02, 2016. http://www.drinkdrank1.com/2011/10/session-56-thanks-to-john-taylor.html.

 

Fourth location- Dobler Brewing Company

Dobler Brewing Co. opened in 1865 on the corner of Park Ave. and South Swan Street in Albany New York. Dobler Brewing Company is also pretty important because it was one of the three brewery’s that out lasted the prohibition in 1920. This brewery produced a version of Albany ale that was known as XXX Amber Ale. At the peak of business Dobler Brewery produced more than 20,000 barrels a year. In April 1959 it was then sold to Hampden-Harvard Brewery’s of Williamansett, Massachusetts, and knocked down in 1960.

“The History of Beer: Albany, New York, Once the Largest Brewing Hub in America.” – Hudson Valley Magazine. Accessed March 02, 2016. http://www.hvmag.com/Hudson-Valley-Magazine/August-2013/The-History-of-Beer-Albany-New-York-Once-the-Largest-Brewing-Hub-in-America/.
“The John S. Dobler Brewing Company.” The John S. Dobler Brewing Company. Accessed March 02, 2016. http://dreimiller.com/genealogy/dobler/.

 

Fifth location- Amsdell Brother’s Brewery

In the early 1830’s a man by the name of William Amsdell was employed by John Taylor’s Brewery on Green street. At the saem time, he had his own small brewery that he was running pretty much all by himself. In 1840 William left working for John Taylor to pursue his own brewery with his two sons, George and Theodore. In 1854 his son George opened his own brewery at Lancaster, Dove and Jay street in Albany. Three years later Theodore would join him and they would call this brewery The Amsdell Brewery. Business grew in the 1860’s and 70’s due to the popularity of their version of “Albany XX Ale”. When the business had enough money, Theodore decided to leave and buy into Dobler’s Brewery with his son in law.  When Theodore left , George then renamed the brewery George I Amsdell Brewery. He ran the business up until 1906 when he passed away. After his death, the building was bought by Kircher Brewery and shortly fell into bankruptcy. From there, a New Hampshire company bought the brewery and continued the business as is. Today the brewery is permanently closed and the original building is apartments that go by the name of Knickerbocker Apartments.

“Drinkdrank: Albany Ale: The Brothers Amsdell.” Drinkdrank: Albany Ale: The Brothers Amsdell. Accessed March 02, 2016. http://www.drinkdrank1.com/2013/10/albany-ale-brothers-amsdell.html.

 

 

For my tour I talk about the very beginning of brewing in Abany, as well as breweries that have survived the prohibition of 1920. Albany was once one of the largest beer distributors around, coining the type of beer “Albany XX Ale”.The audience for my tour would be a group of friends, or a couple, over the age of 21. They could be beer enthusiasts, or even just looking to learn more about Abany’s breweries. The big take away point from my tour is how huge Albany was in the brewing industry, and how some breweries went about staying alive during prohibition. During the mid-19th century, Albany was the second among cities with the largest capacity for beer production. With prohibition almost all breweries in Abany closed with the exception of Beverwyck Brewery, Dobler Brewery, and Hendrick Brewing Co.

Google estimated my tour will take approximately a little over an hour.

Three question I need to figure out still are:

  1. What was being produced during the prohibition, when the three different breweries were closed, and producing non-alcoholic beverages?
  2. What’s more information about Dobler Brewery?
  3. Who owned Dobler Brewery?

 

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