Pennsylvania Brewing Company Timeline

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

Pennsylvania Department of State, Corporation Search

Penn Brewing Company: AKA Moose Brewing, Roscoe, Pa.
May 19, 1933, County Orphan

Penn Brewing Company: AKA Moose Brewing, Roscoe, Pa.
January 1, 1933

Pennsylvania Brewing Co.: 800 Vinial Street, Pittsburgh
March 3, 1986

Allegheny Brewery Ratskeller: 800 Vinial Street, Pittsburgh
July 25, 1994

Penn Brewery: 800 Vinial Street, Pittsburgh
July 25, 1994

Pennsylvania Brewing Co.: 800 Vinial Street, Pittsburgh
June 27, 1997, County Orphan

Pennsylvania Brewing Co.: Wilks-Barre
December 5, 2008


Thomas V. Pastorius

Key Date & General Notes

March 1986: Pennsylvania Brewing Co. incorporates in Philadelphia, Pa. (assumed city). The Pennsylvania Department of State has the following dates:
1986, March 3, Created
1987, July 29, Amendment
1989, May 30, Amendment
1989, August 21, Amendment
2003, September 17, Merger
2011, February 17, Amendment

From Penn’s website (at the time): The Beginning of Penn Pilsner and The Beginning of Craft Brewing in Pennsylvania. Tom Pastorius introduces Pennsylvania Pilsner to Philadelphia in June 1986. (A number of websites incorrectly date the Penn Brewery as 1987. This is false and misleading. It also shows a lack in research on their part.)

Tom had a website called Mr. Beer. It had photos of him distributing his beer in Philadelphia. I think if was with a wagon. I think he started this in Philadelphia before moving to Pittsburgh, but I could be wrong. I did not have a need to remember this back then and I can’t find any documents to support this. I did keep a lot of flyers and material, as it was beer related.

Pennsylvania's First Craft-Brewed Beer since prohibition. Tom Pastorius starts the Craft Brewing Renaissance in Pennsylvania by introducing Penn Pilsner at City Tavern, Philadelphia, in June 1986. (This supports the Philadelphia incorporation) Actually, in as much as the term craft-brewery is used today, the word microbrewery was the common distinction back then.

Tradition Is Brewing Two Pennsylvania Beer Lovers Lift A Toast To A Taste Of The Past
February 05, 1987 by Tim Blangger, The
Morning Call.
First, Pastorius and then Ware began last year to contract space at existing breweries and, using their own recipes and ingredients, started marketing and selling distinctive beers that resemble brews from an earlier time, before national breweries and slick advertising campaigns.

Although neither has a brewery of his own, a fairly expensive proposition, both are considered part of a growing wave of small brewers who market and sell premium beer at a premium price. They are the first two to do so using Pennsylvania as headquarters.


Pastorius does not have a brewery but was looking to open in Philadelphia in either Old Town or Northern Liberties. Northern Liberties was the name of the Strip District when it was a borough of Pittsburgh.

March 3, 1986 Creation of Pennsylvania Brewing Company

June 1986
Penn Brewery beer introduced to Philadelphia, but contracted out in 1986

(This year is correct): Production (of Pennsylvania Pilsner) begins at Pittsburgh Brewing prior to the Allegheny Brewery opening.

This is the year Penn contracted out to Jones. This may have been when Penn and Pittsburgh Brewing discontinued their partnership.

(Rich Wagner has 1987) Penn Pilsner was brewed at the Jones Brewery in Smithton, Westmoreland County.

1989 April
Brewing began in Pittsburgh at the Allegheny Brewery. (Pa. Liquor License application lists April 10, 1989). The copper kettles were made in Germany and assembled in Pittsburgh by German craftsmen brought over for the job. The beers made at this brewery are of the northern German style. Alex Demel was the start-up brewer. The brewery’s name is taken from the City of Allegheny, the former city prior to being annexed by Pittsburgh.

When the state first permitted brewery – restaurant (brewpubs) it was the first time a brewery could sell beer in an attached restaurant. The license permitted beer only. It would be a while before the state permitted the sale of wines and spirits.

The brand, Pennsylvania Pilsner, was contracted out to Pittsburgh Brewing. Production was moved to Jones Brewery, Smithton, Pa. after a dispute with Pittsburgh Brewing.

Pittsburgh Brewing had a no-compete clause in the contract with Tom. Tom wanted to open in Pittsburgh as Mary Beth was from this area. She was born in Green County and grew up in Washington County. Tom was from Baldwin.

The same time Pennsylvania Pilsner was contracted out to Jones, the brand changed names from “Pennsylvania Pilsner” to “Penn Pilsner”.

1989 June
Penn Light and Penn Dark are introduced, but only on draft.

1989 September 12 (Tuesday)
Restaurant opened for business as the Allegheny Brewery & Pub; Pennsylvania’s first brewpub since prohibition.

I never knew if Tom had a brewery-pub (GP) license when this all began but at the time a brewery could not have ownership in a restaurant. Tom changed that. I also do not know when the state created the GP license but no doubt just after when the law was passed..


Bivens, Terry, Inquirer Staff writer, June 30, 1986, Philly(dot)Com.
June 30, 1986:
Tom Pastorius introduced Pennsylvania Pilsner to Philadelphia the week before this date.
He is credited in introducing the first beer made in a “micro-brewery”.
Jeffery Ware is expected to introduce his beer after Labor Day.
Stoudt’s did not get a license until May 1987.
Tom introduced his beer before Stoudt but his brewery opened after Stoudt’s.
Boston came out in 1985.

Joseph Owades, director of the San Francisco Center of Brewing Studies developed Pennsylvania Pilsner. Owades also was consulted for Sam Adams.
Brewer, Mort Brynner formulated Ware’s beer.

Dock Street: first commercial brewery in Philadelphia opened in 1985.
Ware’s brewery is expected to open by August.
Pastorius does not have a brewery but was looking to open in Philadelphia in either Old Town or Northern Liberties. North Liberties was the name of the Strip District when it was a borough of Pittsburgh.

Bivens, Terry, Inquirer Staff writer, June 11, 1989, Philly(dot)Com.
This sets a firm timeline to openings.

Curtin, Jack, Liquid Diet, March 3, 2009:

Great American Beer Festival: 1987 List of Winners.

Wagner, Rich, Philadelphia Beer:
David Mink owned the Sansom Street Oyster House (above Fifteenth Street)
Created February, 19, 1976 per Pa Dept of State
He partnered with Jim Koch. Wagner told me that Koch always maintained that there was no partnership. Koch started contract brewing in 1981 (in Philadelphia). Koch had only a recipe and Mink operated the brewpub.

Pennsylvania in 1989 allowed brewpubs to sell food and beer but only the ones they made.
Wagner says this took place on November 29, 1989 (Sam Adam’s birthday).
The Sansom proclaimed to be the first brewery since prohibition.
The actual brewer was Jim Pericles, who went to work for Koch in Boston.
William Reed replaced Pericles at Sansom.

Boston Beer Co, Liberty Avenue was created January 21, 1985

March 3, 1986 Creation of Pennsylvania Brewing Company
Tom came back from Germany in 1982