History of the Independent Brewing Company
The History of the Duquesne Brewing Company

July 27, 2015, Revised

A Harmoniously Beginning

Marcus Aaron and John D. Nicholson were members of the executive board of Pittsburgh Brewing and promoted the formation of Independent Brewing. Nicholson was on the advisory board of Pittsburgh Brewing and Aaron was on the executive committee. It was reported in several publications that the two brewing companies were to have independent officers but operate “harmoniously”.

The Brewing Company of Pittsburgh was chartered in Pittsburgh on January 7, 1905 with a capital of $10,000. The Pennsylvania Department of State has the Independent Brewing Company of Pittsburgh incorporated on February 6, 1905.
Review of 1905 had February 10, 1905 as when the plants were taken over by Independent, but the Review also listed July 1, 1904 as the take-over date. The Review cited Pittsburgh Brewing as the “old company” and Independent Brewing as the “new company”, making the inference that Pittsburgh Brewing had a financial stake in Independent. The Review also noted that the Independent Brewing Company would be independent of Pittsburgh Brewing leading one to venture how Independent came to have that name. The securities of each company were exactly the same as the formation of Independent was to merge with Pittsburgh in the near future.

Pitsburgh Press, February 17, 1905: The "directors of the Pittsburg Stock Exchange have listed $1,095,000 each of the bonds, preferred and common stock of the Independent Brewing Co. of Pittsburg. The company was incorporated January 7. 1905 under the laws of Pennsylvania, with an authorized capital of $13,500,000 equally divided into bonds, common and preferred stock.

Commercial and Financial Chronicle, Volume 80, Part 2 listed the plant takeover date to be February 9.

Independent Brewing Company 1900

Official Documents, Comprising the Department and Other Reports Made to the Governor, Senate and House of Representatives of Pennsylvania, Volume 4, 1900.
The company paid a bonus on charter of $83.34 to the state in 1900.

Independent Brewing Company 1905

The Independent Brewing Company was incorporated on January 7, 1905 (date of its charter) but Independent took possession of the breweries on February 10, 1905. Pennsylvania Department of State has February 21, 1905. The state also has an entry for October 26, 1898. Unlike the Pittsburgh Brewing Company, whose breweries were located primarily within Pittsburgh, the Independent Brewing Company of Pittsburgh's breweries were outside of Pittsburgh and in other counties. At its inception the main office for Independent was the Colonial Trust Building. The
Commercial and Financial Chronicle, volume 80, part 2, 1905 indicated that Nicholson was the person who incorporated the company.

Some publications give February 1905 as the formation of the company. This has occurred with the formation date of Pittsburgh Brewing Company of 1899 as well. The February date in this case is possibly the date it was published in a newspaper.

The Foundation of the Company

American Brewers Review, Volume 19, 1905 reported that Independent took possession of the following 16 breweries on February 10, 1905:
American Brewing of Bennett (Millvale)
Anterton Brewing of Beaver Falls
Anton Brewing of Monongahela City
Butler Brewing of Butler
Charleroi Brewing of Charleroi
D. Lutz & Son of Allegheny
Duquesne Brewery of Pittsburgh
First National Brewing of McKees Rocks (Stowe Township)
Gambrinus Brewing of New Kensington
Highland Brewing of East Liberty (under construction at the time)
Hill Top Brewing of Mt. Oliver
Hoehl Brewing of Millvale
Home Brewing of Braddock
Homestead Brewing of Homestead
Monessen Brewing of Monessen (Rostraver Township)
New Kensington Brewing of New Kensington

1918 Breweries
First National
New Kensington

The Independent Brewing Company Portfolio

The breweries indicated * were the original 14
The following 17 breweries were active with Independent for the years listed:

1904 – 1920 *Anderton Brewery, Beaver Falls, Beaver Co. (3)---

1904 – 1912 & 1918 – 1920 *Butler Brewing, Butler, Butler Co. (2)---

1905 – 1920 *American, (Bennett), Allegheny Co. (2)
1904 – 1920 Chartiers Valley, Carnegie, Allegheny Co. (1952) (1)
1905 – 1933 *Duquesne, Pittsburgh Allegheny Co. (1972) (1) (2)---
1904 – 1920 *First National, McKees Rocks, Allegheny Co. (1951) (1)---
1904 – 1920 *Hill Top, Mount Oliver, Allegheny Co. (3)---
1904 – 0000 *Hoehl, Millvale, Allegheny Co.
1904 – 1920 *Home Brewery, Braddock, Alleghany Co. (1937) (1) (4)---
1904 – 1920 *Homestead, Homestead, Allegheny Co. (1953) (1) (2)---
1904 – 1909 *Lutz & Son, Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, Allegheny Co. (5)---
1904 – 1920 Gambrinus, New Kensington, Allegheny Co. (2)---
1904 – 1920 *New Kensington, New Kensington, Allegheny Co. (2)---

1904 – 1920 *Charleroi, Charleroi, Washington Co. (2)---
1904 – 1920 *Globe (Anton), Monongahela, Washington Co. (2)
1905 – 1920 *Monessen, Monessen, Washington Co. (3)---

1904 – 1920 Loyalhanna, Latrobe, Westmoreland Co. (3)
Moody’s Analyses of Investments, Volume 2, 1918, gives April 1907 when Independent acquired Loyalhanna.

Congressional edition, Volume 6514 of the United States listed 16, which could have been a typo. I can understand the 1904 dates preceding the 1905 merger date but I can find little supporting it.

NOTES for The Independent Brewing Company Portfolio
(1) The date at the end of each of the breweries listed above is the closure date of the brewery after prohibition.

(2) Denotes breweries that continued operating during prohibition producing cereal beverages, as reported in the
Brewers Journal, Volumes 52-53 of 1919.Lutz was not listed in the Journal.

(3) Denotes breweries closed at the onset of prohibition.

(4) Home Brewery under Independent closed in 1902 and re-opened as General Braddock in 1933 as an independent brewery. General Braddock in 1933 was owned by the Rooney family. Art Rooney, founder of the Pittsburgh Steelers was associated with the brewery, which was founded by his father, Dan.

(5) Lutz, as the Lion Brewery, North Side, was closed in 1909.

Additional Notes on the above Breweries

American Brewers’ Review, Volume 19, 1905 listed two breweries in New Kensington, which yields 17 breweries. Third-party authors may have taken New Kensington as a single brewery giving 16 breweries to the list.

Anderton Brewery Note
James Anderton came to Beaver Fall in 1867 and built the Spring Water Brewery. His first product was an ale. James and Jonathan Anderton founded the brewery. The name was changed to Anderton Brewing Company in 1891 when John and W.T. Anderton became owners. The brewery became a part of Independent Brewing Company on February 9, 1905.

Anton Brewing Note
The American Brewers Reviews of 1905 (Volume 19) indicated that the Independent Brewing Company bought the Fred M. & Anton Brewing Company of Monongahela in 1899.

Highland Brewing Company
Thomas & Richland Avenues (North-East corner)
Their charter was filed with the Pennsylvania Secretary of State has the corporation enrolled on September 10, 1902.
American Brewers’ Review, Volume 19, 1905 had Highland being partially completed in 1905 and as a branch of the Independent Brewing Co. Prior to the IBC acquisition of the brewery, Highland filed for bankruptcy

Hoehl Brewing
American Brewers’ Review, Volume 19, 1905, listed Hoehl being acquired by Independent.

Loyalhanna Brewery Note
August Schneider was a brewer in Germany and Switzerland. He came to America on May 1, 1880, arriving in Philadelphia. Eventually he came to Millvale and was brewmaster for the Enz Brewing Company. He then founded the American Brewing Company, above. After four years he went to Latrobe along with his partner Philipp Herman, founded Loyalhanna Brewery

Independent Brewing Company Officers

Officers: per American Brewers Review, 1909
John Benz, President
Born in 1852. Organized the Duquesne Brewing Company and became president of the Independent Brewing Company. He was associated with the contracting firm of L. Benz & Company.

Peter Hermes VP was out. William P. Hansell VP
Charles E. Succop, Secretary was out John H. Shaffer
F N Stucky, Treasurer was out. James P. Mulviihill
Directors: John Benz, C E Sucop, W P Hansell, Anton Lutz, Joseph Dieterle Jr. James P. Mulvihill, John H. Shaffer, W M Lindsay, Peter hermes.
Anton Lutz Chairman of the Board.
By 1909, 8 months and 20 days since the company formed the following plants were closed:
Lion Brewery, Allegheny
Gambrinus, New Kensington
Hoehl, Millvale
Highland Brewery was unequipped and uncompleted.

Aaron Family
See Aaron & Co. Malt House, Louis Israel in the North Side page. The Aaron family had connections to the American Malting Company of New York.

John D. Nicholson

Thomas Jefferson Connection
George Burton Nicholson was a son of John D. He married Flora Randolph Mason of Fredericksburg, Va. on April 12, 1917 in Washington, DC. They moved to their home at 153 Riverview Avenue, Pittsburgh on the North Side. What is noteworthy of this marriage and residence is that Mrs. Nicholson was the great granddaughter of Thomas Jefferson. Her father was Judge John E. Mason who was on the Circuit Court of Virginia.

Independent Brewing Company 1933

Office located in the First National Bank Building, 23
rd floor. The Pennsylvania Department of Highways in their 1917 edition of List Motor Vehicle Registrations and Licenses showed the company had 7 vehicles with licenses 6174 through 6180.

American Brewers Review, Volume 17, 1903 reported on the creation of a new brewery consolidation but did not identify it as the Independent. The Review indicated that 21 breweries would form the new concern but did not identify them.
John Benz (of Duquesne Brewing), President
Charles E. Succop, Secretary and Treasurer
James P. Mulvhill, General Manager

Brewer’s Journal & Barley, Malt and Hop Trades’ Reporter, Volume 41, published September 1, 1917 reported the new officers for the Independent Brewing Company to be:

W P Hansell, President
James P. Mulvilhil, Vice President and Sales Manager
C. H. Friend Vice President
J. H. Friday, Treasurer
H. C. Baxmeier, Secretary

For reference, the officers of Duquesne were:
Henry Miller (February 6, 1857 – August 19, 1901), President
He was a furniture salesman at 1312 E Carson St
Fredrick N. Stucky
John Benz (d. June 8, 1939 at 87)
Death notice for:
Peter Hermes & Justus Mulert Sr.

I have no information if these two groups of men had a common business interest prior to the forming of Independent, but I find it interesting that one would form a brewing company whereas the other formed a conglomerate. This would be similar to having a company buyout all of Pittsburgh Brewpubs.

US Patent Registrations

The following Trade Marks were filed with the US Patent Office on May 22, 1915, as shown in the
Official Gazette of August 3, 1915:

The company emblem using the letters IBC (Serial No. 86,823) was filed and claimed to have been in use since January 1912.

The image of a man plowing with horses (Serial No. 86,824) was filed and claimed to have been in use since January 1912.

The image of a toy top (Serial No. 86,825) was filed and claimed to have been use since July 1904.

The words and image for SILVER TOP (Serial No. 86,826) was filed and claimed to have been in use since July 1904.


Duquesne and two other breweries continued during prohibition.

The Independent Brewing Company dissolved in 1933.

The Common Mistake

It is common to mistake the Independent Brewing Company for the Duquesne Brewery. The Duquesne Brewery, like the others was a part of the family of breweries under the parent company of Independent Brewing. Third parties often interchange the two when citing dates, which is misleading. Independent brewing maintained the corporate office in downtown Pittsburgh until 1920, and due to the onset of prohibition when it moved in with Duquesne Brewing on Mary Street on the South Side.