Tuesday, September 21, 2010
During the last quarter of the 19th century, the industrial neighborhood of Brewerytown became flooded with giant warehouses in which half of the city’s beer was crafted. As was the case with many emerging cities, industry and business flourished along riverfronts. Brewerytown’s western border lies along the shores of the Schuykill River, and when this area became a hub for emigrating Germans, they brought their brewing heritage with them.
Following the institution of the Prohibition Law, which took effect in January 1920, nearly all of the breweries collapsed. A few businesses, including the Poth Brewery, were forced to employ new tactics for gaining revenue including selling malt to malt shops and making soda.
All brewing companies that once dominated this section of Philadelphia had completely vacated the area by 1987. The neighborhood looks much different today, with looming husks of spacious buildings dotting street corners that were once the crux of a lucrative industry in the city. Many breweries, including Bergner & Engel which used to be located at 31st and Master Street, are no longer standing. Much of the land in this vicinity is being plotted for the building of condominiums. The Brewerytown Square condominiums, or at least “phase one” of the project, lie a block away from the Red Bell Brewing Company, and large signs line the street advertising that the continued development of this housing district is coming soon.
While the brewing industry may have died in Philadelphia, there is hope that redevelopment in the area will increase the quality of Historic Brewerytown.
Posted by Brad Larrison at 8:28 PM