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New Jersey breweries

by Andrew Schanel
(Beer Delegate, NJ, USA)

Defunct New Jersey breweries: Beer Barons originated here

Defunct New Jersey breweries: Beer Barons originated here

New Jersey breweries: a history

The industrial corridor of New Jersey from Paterson to Elizabeth must have been a sight to behold during the 19th century. This area was a manufacturing hub for the rest of the country and it makes sense that some of the largest breweries of the time were located here.

In a moment during the 1880s, there were no less than six breweries in one city alone. Although the Prohibition all but destroyed most of these companies, a couple of large ones survived.

Picture this scene: sprawling brick fortresses on the banks of the Passaic pumping out thousands of gallons of liquid gold. Ships and trains arrive to pick up the barrels of Lager, India Pale Ale, Stout and Bock for export. Hundreds of smokestacks innocently puffing away steam from boiling wort.

Wait. Did I say Bock? IPA? Yep, these New Jersey breweries certainly didn't mass produce the watery, straw colored soma of the masses we know as macros today. These brewmasters and owners were mostly immigrants who preserved the style of beer from their homelands. And they made a ton of money doing it. Hence the term Beer Baron.

I certainly cannot list all of the breweries that ever existed in New Jersey. This daunting task would be more appropriate for a beer historian or such. I have compiled a small list of some of the better-known ones:

Ballantine – A lot of people are familiar with the famous three-ring logo adorning a big 40oz green bottle, now brewed elsewhere. But did you know that the original Ballantine brewery once crafted an ale that was aged in oak barrels for 20 years? The brewery was housed in an 1805 brick structure and started brewing beer there in 1840, surviving Prohibition and becoming bigger than Anheuser Busch.

Hard times fell in the '50s and the brewery finally closed its doors in the 1960s. The building is now a high school and is in the Ironbound district of Newark.

Krueger – Also hailing from Newark, the brewery began in 1865 and closed in 1961. This is the brewery that first put beer in a can in 1935. Some of these cans still exist today and actually have opening instructions printed on them.

Lembeck and Betz Eagle Brewing – This company started brewing pale ale and porter in 1869, then Lager in 1889 with the influx of Germans into the area. At its prime, this brewery produced 250,000 gallons per year.

Pabst – Good Ol' PBR didn't start, nor end, in Jersey – but did have a brewery here which closed in 1982. Before its removal, anyone who has ever taken a ride down the Garden State Parkway will remember seeing the huge 60ft tall beer bottle looming in the distance.

A few other defunct New Jersey breweries:

Lyon – Newark
Sprattler & Mennel - Paterson
Bermes – Union City
Peter Doelger - Harrison
Rising Sun – Elizabeth
Fiegenspan – Newark

Comments for New Jersey breweries

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Nov 29, 2014
Lembeck History
by: Lembeck Researcher

Also looking for Lembeck & Betz history. Have family tree to present. Trying to fill in some historical information.

Nov 30, 2012
by: Guenter Carl

This is not a comment, but a query. Did the Bacmeister family run a brewery in Newark at the end of the 19th and into the 20th century?
Please contact me at:

Dec 16, 2011
I am working on an update on Lembeck & Betz Eagle Brewery
by: Anonymous

Family Lore Has it that Lembeck travelled to Stuttgart in the year 1848 to find Brewmasters to brew Lager beer. He was referred to the Betz family who had a brewery, as well as my 14 year old Great Grandfather and His 16 year old brother.

He was looking for brewers, my family was looking for a means to avoid having their sons being turned into cannon fodder as the result of some minor German prince putting down the Communist revolutions occurring that year. They were thus hustled off to America to partner in Lembeck's Brewery. I have some commemerative documentation , and I will be working on the necessary corrections to fix the wholly erroneous account on Wikipedia

Feb 16, 2011
Thos Evans
by: tomari

Anyinfo out ther on Thos Evans in Paterson, NJ
late 19th or early 20th cent brewer. i have
seen some nice engraved bottles from this
co. but I have not found any info on this
brewer. Any info would be hlepful..


Oct 31, 2010
Rising Sun Brewery
by: Anonymous

I'm looking for more information about the Rising Sun Brewery. I'd like to know who owned it after it was sold in 1904. Any help is greatly appreciated. Thank you! Kim

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