Pennsylvania’s First Craft Brewery

Document Date: November 25, 2015
First published: June 14, 2019

Who started Pennsylvania’s first “craft” brewery? This would be a good conversation in a bar but may take several pints to answer. This work brings information together in a time-line fashion in the hope of finding such an answer.

There are four breweries that are pertinent to this discussion: Boston Beer, Dock Street Brewery, Stoudt Brewery and Penn Brewery. The information is in their respective pages and the summary of this is below. I report, you decide, don’t fight.


Dates: First Beer Available
Boston Beer Company: 1985, Philadelphia (A Pittsburgh Brewing product)
Pennsylvania Brewing Company: June 1986, Philadelphia (A Pittsburgh Brewing product)
Dock Street Brewing: 1986 but after Penn, Philadelphia (An F X Matt Brewing product)
Stoudt Brewing Company: 1987, Adamstown (A Stoudt Brewing product)

Boston and Pennsylvania were made under contract by Pittsburgh Brewing Company
Dock Street was made under contract by F. X. Matt Brewing Company
Jack Curtain has Penn being Pennsylvania’s first craft brewery:

Dates: First Brewery in Operation
Stoudt Brewing Company: 1987 as a brewery
Pennsylvania Brewing Company: April 10, 1989 as a brewery-pub (First in Pa.)
Allegheny Brewery & Pub (Restaurant of Penn) opened September 12, 1989.
Boston Beer Company: December 1989 as a brewery
Dock Street Brewing: 1990 as a brewery-pub

Dates: First Incorporations
Boston Beer Company: 1984, Ma
Dock Street Brewing: February 12, 1985, Pa
Pennsylvania Brewing Company: March 3, 1986, Pa
Stoudt Brewing Company: January 5, 1987, Pa

Pa. LCB License date
Boston Beer Company: Unknown and not on current LCB database.
Dock Street Brewing*: Unknown and not on current LCB database.
Stoudt Brewing Company**: May 20, 1987 (License G 252)
Pennsylvania Brewing Company**: April 10, 1989 (License G 253)

*Pa. LCB has July 5, 2007 (G 387) but this is not for the original brewery.
**Note that the licenses are consecutive.

The Lion Brewery has license number G134, June 6, 1940