Brew Museum's
PA Exhibit

mugs

Overview

We started out with the goal of making the Story of Beer in Pennsylvania a pop-up, interactive museum exhibit in a downtown storefront within the Cultural District of Pittsburgh.

Unfortunately, those plans were derailed by a certain virus. Nevertheless, we wanted to forge ahead with showcasing the legacy and vibrancy of Pennsylvania beer, from the origins of the Commonwealth to the vibrant craft beer scene in Pennsylvania today. So, we present this online version of the Story of Beer in Pennsylvania for your edification and enjoyment.

Browse through our timeline of some of the significant events in PA beer history, many of which are also noteworthy in the story of beer in America. Take our “quiz” for a chance to earn prizes. Check out our interactive map of all the breweries in PA. Look through all the medals won in the 21st century at the Great American Beer festival by Pennsylvania breweries. Cheers!

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    Timeline

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    Medal Winners

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    Beer Quiz

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    Made in PA?

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    PA Breweries Map

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    Video Tap Room

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    Additional Resources & Acknowledgments

  • beer mug icon

    Timeline

  • beer mug icon

    Medal Winners

  • beer mug icon

    Beer Quiz

  • beer mug icon

    Made in PA?

  • beer mug icon

    PA Breweries Map

  • beer mug icon

    Video Tap Room

  • beer mug icon

    Additional Resources & Acknowledgments

Timeline
  • 1682 Beer in Pennsylvania

     Beer was there at the start of Pennsylvania. William Penn was a beer guy. He appreciated a good beer and he understood the role beer could play in making friends. Image from Library of Congress, American Memories site.    

    1682
  • Painting by Benjamin West

    1682 William Penn Negotiating a Treaty

    This painting by Benjamin West depicts William Penn negotiating a treaty with the Lenape Turtle Clan for the land that would become Pennsylvania. Penn began his successful diplomatic efforts with the local Native Americans by gifting them with a barrel of beer. The original oil painting is in the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia.

  • Philadelphia Harbor

    1683 PA’s First Brewer Granted Land

    Penn granted land to Pennsylvania’s first brewer, William Frampton, who erected a brewery in Philadelphia on Front Street between Walnut and Spruce at the Dock Street Creek. Philadelphia circa 1683.  Retrieved from https://www.mixedgenes.eu Penn had his own brewery built on his estate in Pennsbury in 1684. Retrieved from https://tehistory.org/

    1683
  • Colonial Philly

    1734 Edinburgh Brewhouse

    Mary Lisle, the first known “brewster” in America, takes over her late father’s Edinburgh Brewhouse in Philadelphia, which she operates until 1751. From a mural commemorating female brewery workers in the Yuengling brewery, Pottsville, PA. Today, the Pink Boots Society focuses on furthering education, building community, and breaking down barriers for females in the brewing…

    1734
  • Fort Pitt

    1765 Fort Pitt

    The American colonists would have considered Ft. Pitt the edge of the world in 1765. You can imagine the soldiers pleading with their officers, “If you are going to keep us in this Godforsaken place, you at least have to provide us with beer.” The Army obliged, making Ft. Pitt the first brewery west of…

    1765
  • George Washington

    1774 Porter Beer

    Robert Hare Jr. Introduces Philadelphia and America to Porter Beer The beer was a favorite of the founding fathers. George Washington wrote,   “I beg you will send me a gross of Mr. Hairs (sic) best bottled Porter. If the price is not much enhanced by the copious droughts you took of it at the…

    1774
  • James O'Hara

    1795 Pittsburgh’s First Commercial Brewery

    George Shiras establishes Pittsburgh’s first commercial brewery, which he later sold to James O’Hara, a prominent businessman in Pittsburgh who also founded Pittsburgh Glassworks, a salt business, and a sawmill. He became president of the Bank of Pennsylvania.  Retrieved from https://www.urbanartantiques.com/2009/furnishing-the-frontier/. Artist unknown.

    1795
  • Barrels

    1810 132 Breweries in the Country

    1810 U.S. Brewery Tally: 132 Breweries in the Country Pennsylvania had the most, with 48 New York was #2, with 42 There was 1 brewery for every 17,000 people in the country. Today we have about 1 for every 47,000 people.

    1810
  • Pittsburgh 1817

    1817 Commercial Breweries in Pittsburgh

    By 1817 there were at least 4 commercial breweries in Pittsburgh, a town of around 7000 people. From the Debold American Gallery, Bloomfield, New Jersey. Artist unknown

    1817
  • Yuengling

    1829 D.G. Yuengling and Sons

    David G. Yuengling founds the Eagle Brewery in the burgeoning coal mining town of Pottsville, PA. Later renamed D.G. Yuengling and Sons, it has remained a family-owned and managed enterprise into the sixth generation and is the oldest brewery in America. Photo retrieved from: https://www.yuengling.com/our-brewery/

    1829
  • 1840 German Immigrants

    In the mid-19th century, German immigrants were fleeing turmoil in Europe. At one point, 33% of Pennsylvania’s population came from Germany. Of the thousands of German immigrants who came to Pennsylvania, many brought family beer recipes with them and established breweries here. Ultimately, the anti-immigrant sentiment would be a significant factor in beer’s inclusion in…

    1840
  • Boniface Wimmer

    1856 Boniface Wimmer

    Boniface Wimmer founded the first Benedictine monastery in the United States at St. Vincent Parish in Latrobe. Consistent with German and Benedictine tradition, Wimmer looked to include a brewery as part of the operations. The bishop for the region objected to the brewery and demanded that it be “closed down.” Wimmer appealed to the Pope…

    1856
  • St. Vincent Brewery

    1856 St. Vincent Brewery

    The St. Vincent brewery remained controversial. There were vituperative attacks in local and national newspapers. Anti-Catholic and anti-immigrant biases meshed with the temperance movement. The brewery was burnt down on January 13, 1926, when a mysterious fire destroyed the brewery after locals objected to monks from Germany “corrupting” the townspeople by selling them the surplus…

  • 1865-1895 The Golden Age of Pennsylvania Breweries

    There were thousands of small and regional breweries in the U.S. through the second half of the 19th century and Pennsylvania continued to lead the nation. Tour the private, 8,000 square foot Breweriana collection of Chip Echnoz. Conducted by Chuck Puckett, Curator.

    1865-1895
  • 1866 15+ Breweries in Brewerytown Section of Philadelphia

    Philadelphia remains a hub of brewing in America, with the Brewerytown area alone being home to 15 or more breweries. “I defy anyone to find a neighborhood more loaded with breweries, at any time, anywhere!” —Rich Wagner, Beer Historian Bergdoll, Bergner & Engel, and Poth Breweries. From Repository Audiovisual Collections and Digital Initiatives Department, Hagley…

    1866
  • Straub

    1872 Straub Beer

    Peter Straub came to America in 1869 from Felldorf, Wuerttemburg, Germany. He worked at the Eberhardt and Ober Brewing Company (where Penn Brewery is now located), among others, before setting in St. Mary’s where he began working at his father-in-law’s brewery in 1872. By 1878, he was the owner. Straub is the third oldest family-owned…

    1872
  • Bottling

    1899 Consolidation Dominates the Beer Industry

    From a peak of over 4000 breweries in the U.S. in 1873, less than half that number would exist by the start of the 20th century. For over a hundred years, breweries transitioned from being small, local, and family operated, to large, national beer factories. The brewing industry was quick to adopt mechanization and other…

    1899
  • 1905 Independent Brewing Company

    Fifteen of the remaining breweries in town merge to form the Independent Brewing Company, of which Duquesne was the largest and longest-lasting component. Stock certificate for the Independent Brewing Company. Reproduced from the Senator John Heinz History Center archives. Duquesne was close to bankruptcy during Prohibition but thrived afterward and became one of the ten…

    1905
  • 1919 Prohibition

    Prohibition begins with the ratification of the 18th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution on January 16, 1919, effective January 16, 1920. Retrieved from the National Archives: https://www.docsteach.org/ Pennsylvania did not take Prohibition lying down. “What right does a Prohibitionist in Kansas or Alabama or Maine to command a steelworker in my district who faces 2,000…

    1919
  • 21st Amendment

    1933 Prohibition Ends

    Retrieved from the National Archives: https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/21st-amendment Prohibition ends and Pennsylvania celebrates! Once the brewing industry began to recover from Prohibition, Pennsylvania again had more breweries than any other state in the Country–112. Duquesne Brewery in Pittsburgh was the largest in the State, and C. Schmidt’s in Philadelphia was second.

    1933
  • 1933 The 3-Tiered System

    In the aftermath of Prohibition and the resumption of legal brewing, the government had to consider appropriate regulation of the beer industry. Some of the larger breweries had amassed capital and were poised to dominate all aspects of the industry. There was concern regarding monopolistic practices, specifically, that the large breweries would attempt to take…

  • 1941 Pennsylvania Beer and Breweries in WWII

     Breweries across the U.S. and in Pennsylvania support the war effort at home and abroad. In the era of WWI, brewers had often been viewed with suspicion because of their German heritage. Prior to the start of WWII, patriotism and national defense became frequent topics in beer advertisements. This time around, the brewers wanted…

    1941
  • Brewery Workmen logo

    1946 The National Union of United Brewery Workmen

    The National Union of United Brewery Workmen was founded in 1886, making it one of the first industrial unions in the U.S. Retrieved from https://8e5199b8-a-62cb3a1a-s-sites.googlegroups.com/ The AFL and CIO were still separate organizations in 1946 and each vied for control of the brewers’ union in Pittsburgh. Retrieved from https://newsinteractive.post-gazette.com/thedigs/2017/07/27/pittsburgh-forgotten-union-beer-war/ The members voted in favor of the CIO…

    1946
  • Ft. Pitt

    1952 First strike of breweries in the Pittsburgh region occurs

    All 2,100 of the Pittsburgh area brewery workers went on strike. National breweries took the opportunity to move into the market. Subsequent strikes in 1955 and 1972 further eroded patronage of regional breweries in favor of national brands. All three of the remaining Pittsburgh breweries, Fort Pitt, Iron City, and Duquesne, were hurt by the…

    1952
  • Pop top can

    1962 Pull-tab Can

    Ermal Fraze was the inventor of the “pull-tab” can, which eliminated the need to bring a can opener along on picnics. The invention was promulgated by Alcoa and the Pittsburgh Brewing Company. Retrieved from: https://www.alcoa.com/global/en/who-we-are/history/images/1962-10.jpg

    1962
  • Duquesne cans

    1972 C. Schmidt Brewing

    Most Duquesne brands were sold to C. Schmidt Brewing of Philadelphia and all brewing of Duquesne beers in Pittsburgh ended shortly thereafter. All production of the Duquesne brand ended in 1986. About 20 years later, Mt. Lebanon attorney Mark Dudash acquired the rights to the brand name and brewing commenced under contract with the City…

    1972
  • 1986 Craft Beer in the Modern Era

    1986
  • Schmidt's Brewery

    1987 C. Schmidt’s

    C. Schmidt’s was once the largest brewer in Pennsylvania. When it closed in 1987, it marked the first time in over 300 years that there was no brewery operating in Philadelphia. Retrieved from https://brookstonbeerbulletin.com/ Retrieved from https://www.schmidtsofphilly.com/ Adamstown’s Stoudt Brewing Co. begins operations in 1987; founded by Carol Stoudt, the first female brewmaster since prohibition.

    1987
  • Penn Brewery Logo

    1989 Penn Brewery

    After lobbying successfully to change the law, Pastorius opened the first “tied house” (brewery and pub under one roof) in PA since prohibition. Initially called “Allegheny Brewery & Pub,” the name was later changed to “Penn Brewery.” Retrieved from https://www.visitpittsburgh.com/

    1989
  • Pennsylvania Beer

    1990s Pennsylvania’s Earliest Craft Breweries

    Craft beer slowly started to gain traction in the 1990s but by the turn of the century, there were still just 22 craft breweries in PA. Order of Origin for PA Craft Breweries*  Order  Year  Brewery  1  1829  Yuengling  2  1872  Straub  3  1905  Lion  4  1987  Stoudt’s  5  1989  Penn  6  1990  Dock Street…

    1990s
  • 2000s Pennsylvania Beer in the 21st Century

    The number of brewery licenses in Pennsylvania has increased by more than eight-fold since the start of the 21st century. The numbers show active Tax and Trade Bureau (TTB) licenses, which is not the same as the number of breweries actually open and selling beer. Some breweries may be licensed but not yet operating, some…

    21st Century
  • Future Looking to the Future

16821682168317341765177417951810181718291840185618561865-18951866187218991905191919331933194119461952196219721986198719891990s2000s2019-2020Future

Medal Winners

The annual Great American Beer Festival (GABF), sponsored by the Brewers Association, is the preeminent beer festival in the country. In 2018, more than 8000 beers were submitted for medal competition across 100 different beer styles. The number of medals awarded to Pennsylvania breweries over the years is a tribute to the quality of beer being produced in the Commonwealth. 

Below are the medal winners. Click on the links below to see more information: Medal Year, Medal Awarded, Category, Brewery, and Location.

vintage beer

Which of the following beers are made in PA?

Sam Adams
Sam Adams
Yes/No
Iron City
Iron City
Yes/No
Rolling Rock
Rolling Rock
Yes/No
Guinness Blonde
Guinness Blonde
Yes/No
Southern Tier
Southern Tier
Yes/No
Hofbräuhaus
Hofbräuhaus
Yes/No
Brewdog
Brewdog
Yes/No
Pabst Blue Ribbon
Pabst
Yes/No
Yuengling
Yuengling
Yes/No
Red Stripe
Red Stripe
Yes/No
Genesee
Genesee
Yes/No
Iron Hill
Iron Hill
Yes/No

How Well Do You Know Pennsylvania's Beer History?

Enjoy our light-hearted “quiz.” Have fun with it. We promise we won’t keep score, Feel free to complete the quiz multiple times. You will get some different questions each time. 

Pennsylvania Breweries

To open and view the PA Breweries Map Key, click the toggle above the map. map-key-toggle

Additional Resources & Acknowledgments

Acknowledgments


Videos: Argentine Productions and Paul Young

Audio: Paul Young

Research and Content Development: Joe McAllister & Paul Young

Creative Consultant/Producer: Tim Steinouer, Design Island

Social Media: Debbie Stueber & Calen Alexandra Cygan

Brewery Outreach: Mike Orellano

Special thanks to the Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board and the Pennsylvania Malt and Brewed Beverages Industry Promotion Board for supporting this project. Drink Pennsylvania beer!