Pittsburgh Brewing – Iron City Brewery
The History of the Iron Pittsburgh Brewing Company

This Document First Published: March 31, 2017
Updated on June 30, 2019

The Man Who Started it All

Anton Benitz
The beginning of the Pittsburgh Brewing Company can be traced back to the year 1838 when Anton Benitz arrived in America from Endingen, Baden, Germany. He was a cooper who came over with his wife May, his brother John Evangelist and his sister Nancy. We can trace his movements and activities by entries in the Pittsburgh Directories, published in various years and accessible in the University of Pittsburgh Digital Research Library. Note: browse the directories by date or title.

Page 11 of the 1841 directory shows that he was a cooper and vinegar maker on Penn. By 1844 (page 33) he was brewing on Penn and the directory indicated 5
th Ward. The 5th Ward at the time is known today as the Strip District. We will track his movements further into this story and we will see that after he started brewing he eventually moved to Quarry Street by 1857. The brewery on Quarry Street is the location that was first known as The Iron City Brewery. Grab a cold one because it all starts here.

Note: I have a lot of information on the Benitz family up front in this work. In many ways they were “founding family” of the Iron City Brewing Company. In addition there is some confusion and misspelling of their name that has never been addressed other than here. When third parties say “Vilsack learned his trade at the old Bennett brewery” they are referring to the Benitz brewery.

Anton Benitz was born in 1803 and arrived in Pittsburgh at the age of 35 in 1838. He became a naturalized American citizen. He appears to have lived at 4 Sixth Street his entire life until he died in 1852 at the age of 49. What caused his death at such a young age is not known to me.

It was not uncommon for Europeans to either Americanize their name or have it Americanized for them by people who could not or would not understand the pronunciation. The directories often listed Anton as Anthony and sometimes used both in the same directory and on the same page if there were more than one location (brewery, beer hall). After wading through all of this I concluded that whenever the directories or other documents referred to Anthony they meant Anton.

The Benitz Family

Anton was the son of Anton Böntz (a cooper) and Maria Anne Wagner. Anton’s wife, May was born in Germany but their children were all born in Pittsburgh, according to
Benitz.com. The family website, Benitz.com does not give a date when they were married. Anton was born in 1803 making him 35 when he came to Pittsburgh. Mrs. Benitz was 38.

A cooper is a person who makes (by hand) wood barrels used to store and transport liquids and other goods.

When Anton applied for naturalization in 1838 he indicated that he had a brother, John Evangelist and a sister Nancy (b. 1819), who married Urban Hahrer (b. 1812). The family website,
Benitz.com does not give a date when they were married.

The Benitz Spelling – Anton or Anthony?
Much like the officials on Ellis Island, English-speaking Americans often corrupted European names. The name Benitz has been spelled Bennets, Benetz and Bennett in the Pittsburgh Directories during his lifetime. This leads me to believe that there was only one individual. The spellings below are in keeping with the way they were written in published documents. The directories listed Anthony before Aton’s son was born. But in his letters to family members Anton referred to himself as Anthony, although not his given name but appears to be his preferred name.

Only One Anthony
Anton came to Pittsburgh with a brother John. Anton’s son Anthony would have been a pre-teen child when the name was used in the directories and Anton has no other relatives by that name. The directories from one year to the next have often misspelled the name of the same person. I have to conclude that prior to 1858 any mention of Anthony is a deviation of Anton.

The family website, Benitz.com indicates the Benitz children were all born in Pittsburgh but it also has a bit on a son Frances who would have been born in Germany. A number of the family are buried in St. Mary’s Cemetery, which is adjacent to the Allegheny Cemetery in Lawrenceville.

Anton’s Brother and Sister
John Evangelist was born in Endingen, Germany on December 12, 1812. He did not appear to ever brew but operated a beer hall with his mother on Sixth Street.

There was another John Evangelist who was born in Pittsburgh in 1847 and died here in 1910. Obviously he was a son of one of the family members but I have not found that person.

Nancy was born in Endingen, Germany in 1819 and came to American with her mother and father when she was 19 years old. She married Urban Hahrer, born in 1812, but it is unknown when that took place. Urban and Nancy moved to Cleveland until 1874 when they moved to Argentina. After two months they returned to Pittsburgh. Benitz com says that she moved back to Pittsburgh to be close to her brother Anton, which probably meant Anthony.

The Children of Anton and May
-1- Francis Benitz
Was to have been born in 1830. This would have been when May was in Germany. But other documents in Benitz com suggests that he was born in Pittsburgh.

-2 Anna
Born in Pittsburgh in 1839 or 1840 and married John Adam Miller. Although I cannot find a marriage notice this would be the John Miller who partnered with Anton in the brewing business.

-3- John J. Benitz
Born in Pittsburgh in 1841 or 1842. He joined the army and fought in the Civil War. Upon his return he moved back into the Sixth Street home until his mother died and appears to have moved to 139 Fourth Street.

John Benitz, brewer, and mother at beer hall at Sixth St 1859
No entry in 1861 leading me to think Mrs. Benitz had died.

History of Beaver County, has John J. Benits listed as 1st lieutenant, September 1, 1862; promoted from 1st sergeant to second lieutenant, April 25, 1863; to 1st lieutenant July 23, 1863; discharged September 18, 1864. He was in Company B, 139th Regiment P. V. This has him with Company K being recruited in Allegheny County on August 1, 1861and resigning on March 11, 1861. But he is listed with Twelfth Regiment, Company I as a private April 25, 1861 recruited from Pittsburgh.

Allegheny County, Pennsylvania in the War for the Suppression of the Rebellion 1861 – 1865, Roll of Honor Defenders of the Flag, Published by Board of managers, Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall, Pittsburgh, 1924
Page 42 has John J. listed as
Private, Company I, 12 Regiment, Infantry, Tablet Number 51
nd Lieutenant, Company K, 61 Regiment, Infantry, Tablet Number 40

Andrew Benitz not a son. Had a lager bier saloon in 1857. At the time he was living at 106 Smithfield Street.

-4- Joseph
(b. 1844) was a cooper 881 Penn in 1859. What little we know about Joseph seems to show that he remained a cooper.

-5- Josephine Benitz
(b. 1845 Pittsburgh d, July 12, 1896 Pittsburgh) Married Rudolph Bechtold

-6- Anthony E. Benitz
(b. 1847(1848 per census) – d. 1910 (1900 per census)) was believed to have married Emma Logan and lived at 20 Shakespeare Street on property owned by William Logan. Anthony was a coach builder. This could not have been the Anthony at Quarry Street in 1857 as he would have been 10 years old. Could this Anthony be a Jr.? Anthony is a major player in the brewery but I can find no real information as to his relation with Anton.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette 1905
Anthony E. Benitz had a daughter named Ann Estelle Bradley. She she married Martin Stark in 1905. Ann’s brother is William L. Benitz, professor of Notre Dame. Anthony was married to Jane E. when he was 50 in 1900. This came from her marriage notice in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. William L. was related to our Anton. This Anthony E. would have been Anton’s son. Anthony is buried in St. Mary’s Cemetery in Lawrenceville.

This is on Benitz com
Anton’s son, Anthony E. Benitz born in 1847 or 1848 was to have married Emma J. Logan, daughter of William Logan. Anthony was a wagon maker and he and Emma lived on her father’s property at 20 Shakespeare Street.

Anthony E. Benitz (b. 1847(1848 per census) – d. 1910 (1900 per census)) was believed to have married Emma Logan and lived at 20 Shakespeare Street on property owned by William Logan. Anthony was a coachbuilder. This could not have been the Anthony at Quarry Street in 1857 as he would have been 10 years old. Could this Anthony be a Jr.? Anthony is a major player in the brewery but I can find no real information as to his relation with Anton.

Further Confusion: Benitz 1796
Benitz com identifies Joseph Benitz living in Pittsburgh Fifth Ward at the same time as our Anton. Joseph Benitz 1796 was not related to Anton 1803 nor was he from Endingen but from Bavaria. But the two were coopers. Joseph 1796 was married to a woman named Susan who was born in 1802. Susan had three children: Charles, Leopold and Mary.

The Benitz Timeline in Pittsburgh

This timeline tracks the Benitz family in Pittsburgh relative to brewing. The entries come mostly from the Pittsburgh Directories in the Pitt Digital Library but include other documents as well. There is a lot on John J. Benitz and his timeline follows.

Benitz Family Timeline
1841 page 11: Anthony Bennitz, cooper and vinegar maker, Penn
1844 page 33: Anthony Bennett, brewer, Penn, 5
th Ward
1847 page 22: Anthony Bennett, brewer, Liberty
1850 page 7: Anton Bennetz, brewer, 204 Penn
1850 page 7: Anthony Bennetz, beer house, 524 Liberty
1850 page 11: Antoni Brewer, 204 Penn
1852 page 6: A. Benitz, tavern, 139 Wood
1852 page 6: A. Benitz, brewery 204 Penn
St. Mary’s Cemetery has Anton’s death as 1852, which may be an error
1852 page 6: Joseph Benitz, cooper, 176 Spring Alley
1854 page 91: Joseph Benitz, cooper, 176 Spring Alley
1854 page 185: A. Benitz, hotel, 139 Wood Street
1856 page 11: A. Benitz, brewery, Quarry
1857 page 15: Anthony Benitz, brewer, ns Quarry bt Harrison & Carson
1857 page 15: Andrew Benitz, lager bier saloon, h 106 Smithfield
1858 page 19: Anthony Benitz, h & s 139 Wood
1858 page 19: Anthony Benitz, beer hall, 4 Sixth
1858: Death of Anton
1858 page 149: John Miller, beer hall, h & s 466 Liberty
Includes Boarding House 468 Liberty (Connection w/ Benitz unconfirmed)
1859 page 19: Mrs. A., beer hall, 4 Sixth
1859 page 19: John Benitz, brewer, h 4 Sixth
1859 page 19: Joseph Benitz, cooper, h 881 Penn
1859 page 169: John Miller, brewery, Penna av, Oakland
This is Pennsylvania Avenue, now Forbes Avenue
This was John M. Muller, brewery in 1858 page 156.
A John Binitz died by 1861 as his widow at Gist Street was noted in 1861.
1860: Mary (May), widow of Anthony, Harrison at Quarry
1861 page 23: John Bennett, brewer, h Quarry n Harrison
1862 page 21: John Benitz, laborer, 136 Forth
John J left for the army in 1861, discharged in 1864
John J Benetz brewer at Perry north of Carson East Birmingham 1862
Prentiss St, Perry St from the river to Muriel (now vacated)
This creates a conflict suggesting a John and John J.
Continue with John after the war. Add Miller to this.
1863 page 222: Lists John M. Mueller, brewery, Pitt Tp n Oakland
1863 page 23: No entry for Anthony or John
1864: John Benitz, blacksmith, 205 Liberty
1864: Anthony E. Benitz, wagon maker, Harrison/Liberty
1865: Anthony E. Benitz, wagon maker, Harrison/Liberty
1865: John J. Bentz, bar keeper, Diamond Alley
1866: John Miller, brewer, 46 Quarry
1866 page 42” Frauenheim, Miller & Co. Iron City Brewery, Quarry Street near Harrison, Edward Frauenheim, manager
1866: Bauerlein Brewery, 46 Quarry
1868 page 52: Anthony E. Benitz, coach maker, Greensburg Pike, East Liberty
1869: C. Baurerlein & Bro, Eagle Brewery, Quarry
1869, 1871: Fraurenhem & Miller Iron City Brewery, 33
rd & Penn
1870, 1873: Fraurenheim & Vilsack Iron City Brewery, 33
rd above Penn
1874: Fraurenheim & Vilsack Iron City Brewery, 34
th & Liberty
1874: W. H. DeWald, brewer, Third Ave

Based on directory entries it appears the names Anton and Anthony were used interchangeably and stopped all together in 1858 when Anton died. John left for the war and this may be why no Benitz was with the brewery after 1859.

John J. Benitz Timeline:
Born in Pittsburgh in 1841 or 1842
1859: brewer, and w/ mother at beer hall at Sixth
1860 No directory
1861: brewer, Quarry, n Harrison (as John Bennett)
1861: resigning on March 11, 1861
1861: a private April 25, 1861 recruited from Pittsburgh
1861: recruited in Allegheny County on August 1, 1861
1862: 1
st lieutenant
1862: John was a laborer on Fourth Street
1862: John J Benetz brewer at Perry north of Carson East Birmingham 1862
1863: April promoted from 1
st sergeant to second lieutenant
1863: to 1
st lieutenant
1864: discharged September 18, 1864
1864: brewed in Pittsburgh until 1870 when he went to Munich
1865: John J. tavern keeper
1867 page 54: John J. Berrity (Benitz?), n Penn Fifth Ward
1868 page 52: J. J. Benitz, music teacher, 12 St. Clair (
this is near 6th St)
1870: Went to Munich, Germany as an opera singer
1881: returned to Pittsburgh
1881 directory has him as a vocal teacher room 10, Bank of Commerce Building, Wood & Fifth. He was living at 40 Chatham Street
1887: John J. Benitz died in Pittsburgh

Benitz by Location
(List by first date entered in The Pittsburgh Directories)

The family lived and or worked in a number of locations while they were in Pittsburgh. Rather than trace their endeavors in a time-line fashion a location specific picture will give a better focus. The Pittsburgh Directories are a series of books listing the residents of Pittsburgh along with their address and occupation. Although they are accurate they have misspelled people’s names from one year to the next.

Penn Street
The 1841 Pittsburgh Directory listed Anthony Bennitz as a cooper and vinegar maker at Penn between O’Hara and the canal in the 5th ward. The canal was the Pennsylvania Canal, now 11th Street and O’Hara is 12th Street today and would place this in The Strip District. He was listed as a brewer in the1844 Directory. Benitz operated a brewery here in he 1850’s. The 1850 Pittsburgh Directory did not list Anthony but he had to be the operator. John Beck also had a brewery nearby at 541 Penn near factory Street (14th Street).

524 Liberty Street
Anthony Bennett was first listed as a brewer at Liberty (sans address) in the 1847 Pittsburgh Directory.

Wood Street
This was the location of the tavern supposedly with the name Iron City Beer Hall. The tavern was at 139 as noted in the 1850 Pittsburgh Directory, which was the first time the tavern was identified. The name Iron City Tavern was not mentioned in the directory nor is there confirmation of the use of that name.

Pittsburghbrewing com has Iron City beer being sold at the Iron City Beer Hall and Restaurant, later known as the Iron City Lager Beer Saloon at 137 (sic) Wood Street. This may not be historically accurate but written as it was known when the website was created.

The Iron City moniker
The name Iron City was first used to denote Pittsburgh about 1840. Although we know the brewery took on the name in 1861 I can find no firm evidence that it was used prior to that date. The property on Wood Street was a tavern, restaurant and hotel and the Sixth Street property was a beer hall. There is no third-party source identifying either using the name Iron City.

Quarry Street
The 1850 as well as the1856 Pittsburgh Directory, listed A. Benitz as having a brewery here. Quarry Street sat along the hill and running parallel to Liberty from what is now Grant Street to about 19th Street in the Strip. Anthony was brewing here in 1859. Bauerlein had a brewery here as late as 1869. Eventually the railroad acquired this land.

Anthony Benitz Letter May 6, 1852
In a letter to his brothers and sisters he wrote that he built a new brickhouse and two cellars “
which are now filled with barrels of Lager-beer, as good as in Munich”.

Location, Location, Location
The directories place the Benitz brewery on the north side of Quarry between Harrison and Carson, which places the brewery between Quarry and Liberty. This would explain why some identify the brewery (as well as other breweries) being on Liberty.

204 Sixth Street
The 1850 directory had Antoni Brewer (as a person) at 204 Penn. This was the location of a beer hall in 1859. Anton had died in 1852 and his widow and son Joseph were living here. The Pittsburgh Daily Post on September 5, 1854, page 3 had an entry that A. Benitz just opened a new lager hall. If Anton died in 1852 could this have been the elusive Anthony?

The Benitz Brewery

The Pittsburgh Directories tell us that Benitz had a brewery on Penn as early as 1844 as well as on Quarry Street in the 1850’s. In the 1840’s he was living on Liberty but there is no evidence of him brewing there. Suffice to say the Penn Street brewery could have been small or not best suited for expansion. Whatever his concerns he moved to another location on Quarry. He was on Penn as late as 1852.
Pittsburghbrewing com has 1844 when Benitz opened his tavern at 137 Wood Street. The site says he served “his own brews”.

When Anton died his brother and wife took over the beer hall on Sixth. What happened to the breweries? The Penn brewery would have closed once the Quarry Street brewery became operational. Prior to Quarry Street we can assume that he had some money but perhaps not rich. It was common for merchants to rent space during these times. Quarry would have been his but he seemed to have some money problems. He wrote to his brother in Germany for $2,000, which would be over $50,000 today. In March, 1855, his brother Wilhelm writes to Thaddaeus:
A short time ago I received the first letter from our brother Anton, saying that he had been ill for a long time, and wants $2.000.- from me, which under the present circumstances is impossible. I heard he is very well off. (Source: Benitz.com)

The date 1855 is after the date Anton was to have died. I have also seen 1858 for his death. He is buried on St. Mary’s Cemetery, Lawrenceville and his marker has 1803 to 1852. I do not think the marker is wrong. Still, how could Wilhelm’s 1855 reference be so far distant from 1852?

The “Old Bennett Brewery”
Anton’s son Joseph was at Sixth Street in the 1850’s but there is nothing in the directories on John, Anton’s brother until 1861. He was living on Quarry Street at the time and undoubtedly working as a brewer. We see he was at the same location as Frauenheim and Miller. Frauenheim, Miller & Co. became the company name for the brewery but it was Hoeveler & Miller just before that as noted in the 1859 directory being on Quarry, north of Harrison. This is the “old Bennett brewery that is repeated by others in noting Leopold Vilsack’s arrival to the firm. Frauenheim as well as Miller had to have invested money into the brewery to have their names over the door.

Benitz first starts brewing
Benitz moves to Quarry
Benitz brewery side by side with Bauerlein
Benitz becomes Iron City
Iron City moves to Lawrenceville
Bauerlein continues to 1868 at least

Associated with Benitz
Frank Hogl brewed for Benitz and Adam Bauerlein. Adam had a nearby brewery on Liberty but built another brewery next to Anton’s on Quarry. Frank moved to South 18th Street in Birmingham and opened his own brewery. I do not have a firm date when he moved to the South Side. His brothers took over the brewery in 1860 after the death of Frank.

John J. Benitz was in East Birmingham in 1862 at Perry Street, north of Carson. As John J. was in the service at the time I can’t help but think this is a mistake. The family lived at 206 Sixth Street for the time they were in Pittsburgh. After his death Anton’s wife May continued to operate the beer hall on Sixth Street.

The End of the Benitz Brewery
We see John Benitz at the brewery on Quarry in 1859. But he was living on the South Side by 1862 and went off in 1863 to fight in the Civil War. Frank Hogl worked for Benitz before moving to South 18th Street where he opened his brewery in 1860. I would venture to say that Hogl left on his own to open his own place. I don’t see Benitz leaving his family’s brewery to work in another community. There had to be some friction between him and the new people who now controlled the company.

I am making two assertions: 1) Anton Benitz was not involved with the brewery, as it appears either Anthony or Andrew was the “originator”. 2) If there was a Benitz family member(s) involved by 1859 they had a small interest in the operations. It one or more of the Benitz family had money problems and outside investors came in it would be reasonable to see the family having a smaller stake in the company and eventually be removed. It is a sad note that the family who started this would no longer have the family name attached to one of America’s greatest breweries.

Anton Benitz was the owner of the Quarry Street brewery until his death. We have to conclude that his son Anthony continued. We do know that Miller was involved but there is no date when he started. Anthony was here as late as 1857 but why is his name never attached to the company? Anthony E. would have been 10 in 1857 so there had to be another Anthony or the death date is incorrect.

If Anton died prior to Hoeveler’s arrival, how did Anton’s wife or brother not gain control of the brewery? May was very old, but John was still young as he was going to fight in the Civil War.

The Bentz (not Benitz) Brewery
Do not get Benitz confused with Frederick Bentz. Frederick operated the Bentz & Siedele Brewery in Allegheny City (now North Side) in the 1860’s. That brewery was on Liberty Street in Allegheny and Bentz lived on Hare’s Island, which was in Duquesne Borough. The 1856 directory had an A. Bentz listed as a brewery on Quarry but I believe that to be a misspelling on Benitz. To add to the confusion both Allegheny and Pittsburgh had a Liberty Street.

Hoeveler & Miller Brewing Company 1859

John Miller at Quarry Street takes on investor Agustus Hoeveler in 1859 or 1858. The 1859 directory has Hoeveler & Miller brewery but the company became the
Hoeveler & Miller Company in 1860. The company could have formed in 1859 but was not listed as such in the 1859 directory. This was the same location the Bauerlein brewery. John Miller was brewing with Benitz in and prior to 1859.

Old Breweries com has Edward Frauenheim and August Hoeveler Brewery from 1863 until 1866. They offer no support for this and I cannot find other documentation to support this.

Hoevler & Miller, South Side
The 1862 Pittsburgh Directory has Hoevler (sic) & Miller, brewers, Perry (S16th St) north of Carson, Birmingham. The Strip District did not have a Perry Street at the time and Carson was a north-south street. I can’t say the directory is wrong but I can’t explain this.

Agustus Hoeveler was born in Hanover, Germany in 1820 and died in Pittsburgh in 1868.

Very little is known about Mr. Miller. John Miller was living at 46 Quarry Street in 1866.

Frauenheim & Miller Brewing Company 1861

Edward Frauenheim and 22 year-old Leopold Vilsack buy into the Hoeveler & Miller Company in 1861. The company is renamed
Frauenheim, Miller & Company (may be due to Hoeveler’s health) and the brewery on Quarry Street becomes the Iron City Brewery. The brewery moves to 33rd and Penn Street in 1868 the same year that Hoeveler died.

The 1868
Pittsburgh Directory listed the Frauenheim, Miller & Company, Iron City Brewery, as being near Boundary Street, which is 33rd Street today.

In 1861, Edward and Charles Frauenheim had a grocery store at Penn, north of Logan.

Edward Frauenheim died on June 16, 1891. At the time he was living at Liberty Avenue. His sons, Aloysius, Agustus A., E. J. and Edward were connected with the Iron City Brewing Company as it was noted in the 1891 Pittsburgh Directory.

John Miller (spelled Millor) was living on Quarry north of Carson. During this time Charles Marks was a brewer living at Quarry and Harrison, now 17th Street. I do not know if Marks was brewing with Miller or Bauerlein.

Carson Street in the Northern Liberties, now the Strip District was renamed Columbia (now vacated). It was parallel to and in between 16th Street and 17th Street and ran from the Allegheny Rover to Penn Avenue.

Frauenheim & Vilsack Brewing Company 1870

Frauenheim, Miller and Visack were the three principals of the Frauenheim, Miller & Company when they opened in Lawrenceville. The Benitz family was out of the picture and Hoeveler had passed away. Miller died in 1870 and the company becomes
Frauenheim & Vilsack until 1891 when Edward Frauenheim died on June 16. At that time the company becomes the Iron City Brewing Company.
A third party says Vilscak joined in 1866

Vilsack’s Start in Brewing
It is hard to tell when Leopold Vilsack first started brewing. He was born in the Borough of Etna but attended school in the Strip. It was common then for young boys to enter the work force at a young age; some in their early teens. His school was surrounded by factories and a good many breweries. As he was born in 1838 he would have been 17 years old when he was to have first met Frauenheim. Clearly he would have been an apprentice. The brewery would not have been the Penn Street location but Quarry Street.

Vilsack and the BBC, London
In 2001, the British Broadcasting Company reported that Frauenheim and Vilsack first met in 1855. They offer no support for this claim and I do not know why the BBC mentioned this. Frauenheim and Vilsack would not become partners in the brewery until 1861. Vilsack could have been working there but I do not know if Frauenheim was involved before then. Frauenheim arrived in New York City in 1840 from Oesede, Bardinghaushof, Germany and Pittsburgh before 1850.

Leopold V.
The 1863 directory has Leopold V, brewer, living on Perry in Allegheny City.
Leopold Vilsack buys into the firm in 1861 and was living on Greensburgh Pike in Lawrenceville in 1868. The directory did not give the full last name of the person living in Allegheny but we can conclude that it was not “our” Leopold. Greensburgh had the “h” as it was before the ban.

1881 Brewery Fire
The Pittsburgh Commercial Gazette, March 13, 1881 reported on a 3 AM fire in the cooper’s shop of the Frauenheim & Vilsack Brewery that caused $85,000 damage. The frame building was located at 34th Street and Liberty Avenue. Before the firemen could hose the fire it spread to the carriage and wagon shed, which was also a frame structure.

1881 Bloomfield location
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported on October 27, 1911 that The Charles Donnelly manufacturing site at Winebiddle and Cypress Street was put on public auction. Joseph Vilsack purchased this site for $30,000. The property had been under various owners since 1881 when Frauenheim, Vilsack and Hoveleler bought this land for a new brewery. The Post reported that the brewing company decided on another location. Augustus Hoeveler died in 1868 so this would have been his son, Augustus, born in 1860. This property in 1882 belonged to the heirs of Rebecca Baum (as in Bum Blvd) as shown on the Hopkins map.

Pittsburgh Public Works installed a 15-inch sewer in Mahogany, Laurel and Edmond Streets and private property of Frauenheim, Vilsack, Hoeveler, et al, from a point 80 feet south of Liberty Avenue to Two Mile Run. This location is not the same as described as the 1881 Bloomfield property.

Pittsburgh Brewing Company 1886

Cited in: John W. (John Woolf) Jordan: Encyclopedia of Pennsylvania biography (Volume 5, 1915). Harry Darlington sold his brewery in 1886 on First Street to the Pittsburgh Brewing Company. In reporting on the death of Harry Darlington, The New York Times, in the September 28, 1914 edition said that he sold his Downtown brewery to the Pittsburgh Brewing Company in 1886. This could not have come from the Encyclopedia as it was not published until 1915.

Darlington worked for the Philadelphia, Wilmington & Baltimore railroad but then left to serve in the army for three years during the Civil War. He them moved to Pittsburgh. He was first known to be on First Avenue in 1867.

Darlington had a brewery on First Avenue, which he retained and rented out to another firm. That firm remodeled the interior for their own use in brewing and bottling. But this was in 1891.

Darlington partnered with J. M. Carson and they rented the Rhodes brewery on Duquesne Way, which was called the Pittsburgh Brewery. But this was only from 1867 until 1870. They were successors to Rhodes in Pittsburgh and Anderson in Allegheny. W. W. Anderson was listed as a brewer at 465 Rebecca but not listed under Brewers & Malsters. The Times must have thought that was the name of the company. But this was in 1867. There is nothing to indicate the Darlington sold to the Pittsburgh Brewing in 1886. PBC did form in 1891 on First Avenue but rented the property at 110. Darlington also had a brewery at 112. Either the Times had the wrong date or there is a big piece of a puzzle missing from the story.

Iron City Brewing Company 1991
The Pittsburgh Brewing Company of 1891

Two companies were formed in 1891, the Iron City Brewing Company AND the Pittsburgh Brewing Company. They were different companies in different locations. It is common knowledge the Pittsburgh Brewing was form in 1899, of which the Iron City Brewing Company became a part. This continues in the next part of this work. But let us take a look at the “other” Pittsburgh Brewing Company of Pittsburgh that nobody talks about. We will look at each of the companies separately starting with Iron City.

Eberhardt & Ober Connection 1889

The Pit Digital Library (University of Pittsburgh Digital Library) has a collection titled: Guide to the Eberhardt Ober Brewing Company Records, 1883-1897 AIS.1994.07a. It’s summary sheet has this passage under History: In 1889 the Eberhardt and Ober Brewing Company allied its interests with those of the Pittsburgh Brewing Company, with which it was consolidated into in 1899. I cannot confirm this independently but have tpo think there is something nit right about it. In 1889 the company was called The Frauenheim & Vilsack Brewing Company.

Iron City Brewing Company – Pittsburgh, Pa. 1891

Edward Frauenheim died on June 16, 1891. This caused the company to change its name from The Frauenheim & Vislack Brewing Company, operating the Iron City Brewery, to The Iron City Brewing Company. That same year the Pittsburgh Brewing Company was formed on First Avenue. Remember Darlington? Now we introduce William DeWald. There is more detail on this below. The Iron City Brewing Company operated as such until the 1899 merger.

Brewery Snapshot:
Anton Benitz known as a brewer 1844
Anton Benitz dies in 1858
The brewery was already established on Quarry Street.
___Miler was either in or came in by 1859
___Unknown when Hoeveler came in. John J. was 17
John J. Benitz & John A. Miller unofficial company name in 1858
Hoeveler & Miller Brewing Company 1859
Frauenhein & Miller Brewing Company 1861
The Iron City Brewery was “founded” in 1861 on Quarry Street
___Name taken from Iron City Beer Hall?
___John M. Miller dies in 1861? Check this
___John A. Miller was with Iron City
___John J Benitz, brewer was at Perry n Carson EB
___John Miller, brewer 739PPenn 1862
Vilsack becomes an investor in 1861
May have entered in 1858 (to help Miller & Benitz?)
___The brewery moves to Lawrenceville in 1868
Frauenheim & Vilsack Brewing Company 1870
Iron City Brewing Company founded in 1891
Acquired by Pittsburgh Brewing Company in 1899
These dates are based on the Pittsburgh Directories)
Established in 1861 is cast in the building wall)
My publishing software does not work with indents)

Bloomberg com in their overview of the Pittsburgh Brewing Company has the company being founded in 1844 but offer no support. Anton Benitz was first listed in the Pittsburgh directory of 1844 as a brewer.

In 1859, Mrs. Benitz and John Benitz were living at 4 Sixth Street: she running the beer hall at that address and he as a brewer. But we should not assume that he was brewing there. Joseph Benits was a cooper and living at 881 Penn Street. Oddly there were only two entries in the 1858 directory, both of them for Anthony. He was living at 4 Sixth and running a beer hall at 139 Wood Street. Further, Anthony was brewing at Quarry Street in 1857. There was an Andrew Benitz working at a beer hall in 1857 but no address given.

Pittsburgh Brewing Company 1891

William DeWald
William H. DeWald was president of the Pittsburgh Brewing Company in 1891 when he first appeared to begin brewing on First Avenue. The Pennsylvania Department of State has January 14, 1891 as the incorporation date (sans owners). The New York Times reporting on Harry Darlington’s death in 1914 and said he sold the brewery to Pittsburgh Brewing Company but no date was given. The DeWald, Wuesthoff & Company was operating on First Avenue from 1892 to 1896 and Pike Street (Strip District) from 1895 to 1896. William DeWald continued brewing until 1900. Prior to 1891 DeWald was an agent for Darlington and in a single move DeWald become president of a company and takes over a brewery that Darlington built and simply walks away from. Or so it seems. DeWald was from Allegheny City living near the Allegheny Brewery operated by Booth. When Pittsburgh Brewing was formed Booth became the Secretary. I have to think that there is more to this story.

Pittsburg Dispatch 1 May 1891, page 3 noted that The Pittsburg Brewing Company, 110 and 112 First Avenue (First ward) received a brewing license from the license court. This along with entries in the directories of the time pretty much establishes a company called Pittsburgh Brewing. What occurred between 1891 and 1899 is lost to history but would be interesting, I am sure.

The 1891 Directory had an advert for the Pittsburgh Brewing Company (110-112 First Ave) as the successors of the Darlington Breweries. William H DeWald was president. In 1890 he was an agent for Darlington and living in Allegheny. Thomas B. Booth was secretary in 1891.

William H. Dewald was noted to be the President of the Pittsburgh Brewing Company at 112 First Avenue in Pittsburgh. At that time he was living at 206 Dinwiddle Street. The year before he was a clerk living at 40 Colwell Street, Uptown.

Thomas B. Booth
Thomas B. Booth started brewing in 1861 in Allegheny City as he was associated with the Allegheny Spring Water Brewery on Rebecca Street. When Pittsburgh Brewing was formed he was its Secretary and living at 129 Webster Street in Allegheny. William DeWald was also a resident of Allegheny City. As with DeWald, he was a clerk in 1890 and living at 465 Rebecca Street in Allegheny City. 1890 as Thomas B. Booth Real Estate and Insurance Agent at 112 First Avenue. Living at 129 Webster. In 1889 the agency was at 135 Forth Avenue.

It should be noted that in 1890, the year before Pittsburgh Brewing was formed, Harry Darlington owned both the First Avenue Brewery as well as the Allegheny Brewery on Rebecca Street. DeWald was an agent for Darlington in 1889. DeWald, Wuesthoff & Co. was at First Avenue as wholesale beer dealers. This could have been a second company but Pittsburgh Brewing Company was not mentioned in the 1892 directory.

The Missing Years
We know that Pittsburgh Brewing existed in some fashion in 1891 and 1899 but I can fine now mention of the company between these years. DeWald seemed to have had his name detached from the company, which makes me wonder if he was used to hold the company for others.

A New Company To Be Organized

William Tann
In 1890 William Tann was owner of Phoenix Brewing. Joseph Spencer was with Phoenix and living on Spencer Street, north of Lincoln near Tann. Robert Liddell was also with Phoenix at this time. Joseph Spencer founded the Phoenix. It was bought by Tann but went into receivership after he was convicted of selling alcohol on Election Day and went to the workhouse.

The 1891
Pittsburgh Directory listed the following officers of the Phoenix Brewing Company: Hermann Bartels, President; F. N. Mueller, Vice President; Frank Drabaer, Secretary and Treasurer. Frank Travner was also with the brewery. The directory listed Tann as a brewer.

This list of dates will be moved in the next clean-up.
1861 Allegheny Brewery owned by RA Campbell
1880 DeWald was a collector living on Rebecca
1880 Allegheny Brewery owned by Booth
1885 Thomas Booth brewer living at Ridge & Allegheny Avenue
1885 DeWald was a collector at 128 Washington
1885 Darlington had both breweries

William Tann Brewing Company 1883
In Shields, et. al. v. Casey (1893), J M Shields and John J O’Reilly were trustees for use William S. Pier, receiver of the William Tann Brewing Company against T D Casey, to recover stock made out to Casey’s wife, M J. but claimed it was for him. O’Reilly and Tann were in New York when they received a telegram from Spencer that Casey was interested in buying stock. When O’Reilly and Tann met with Casey in Pittsburgh the stock transfer went through but the name on the papers was M J Casey. The signing was done in another room of Casey’s house out of sight of O’Reilly and Tann. Mr. Casey did not want to sign his own name as he had a license to sell liquor and did not think he could own stock in a brewery. O’Reilly gave testimony that this took place before the company changed its name from Pittsburgh Brewing Company to William Tann Brewing Company. Tann owned the Phoenix in 1890 with Joseph Spencer (son) and Robert Liddell working for him. The company of Spencer & Liddell was in existence in 1889 but apparently the brewery was closed in 1888 or 1889.

Pittsburgh Dispatch February 5, 1891 reported on the court auction that took place at the Phoenix Brewery on February 25, 1891. The property was in two parcels. The brewery was on the southeast corner of 24th & Smallman and one the northeast corner a stock house.

William Tann bought the Phoenix Brewery from Spencer & Liddell. O’Reilly’s testimony suggests that the Pittsburgh Brewing Company was or was going to be, incorporated prior to 1899. It should be noted that O’Reilly was a director the Pittsburgh Brewing Company when it was formed in 1899. His name is not often mentioned but he was central in the brewing business of Pittsburgh for most of his life.

Pittsburgh Brewing Company was incorporated on January 12, 1891, as recorded by the Pennsylvania Department of State. This was before the 1899 merger. Let us remember that the Iron City Brewing Company was an independent company just like the William Tann Brewing Company. I do not know if forming a trust was a part of their business plan but they certainly took advantage of it after the 1895 Supreme Court decision.

to a new company to be organized
As reported in the
Pittsburgh Dispatch, April 24, 1891, William DeWald applied for a brewer’s license on behalf of the Pittsburgh Brewing Company and stated to the license court that they did $100,000 of business last year. The William Tann Brewing Company also received a brewer’s license but transferred it “to a new company to be organized”. Other breweries such as Straub and Iron City received brewing licenses.

We have seen that Pittsburgh Brewing was a company as early as 1891. The next chapter, The Merger, shows that the United Brewing Company was formed in 1899. Tann’s “
new company” could be interpreted to be United.

The Master Brewers Meeting of 1894
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on June 9, 1894 published a meeting of the Master Brewers Association of Pittsburgh. It reads:
There was a special meeting of the Master Brewers association on the South Side last night. It took partook of a social feature, which proved of considerable interest. It was held at the establishment of J. Sieferth & Bro., where a dinner followed the meeting. Representatives were present from fourteen local brewing firms and speeches were delivered on the present status of the industry by unreadable word Ganwich of the Phoenix Brewing Company, Adam Hane of Eberhardt & Ober, Davis Wooster of the Bauerlein Company and J. H. Nusser of the National Brewing Company.
Jason Gangwisch sent this to me in March 2017.

The meeting could have been general in nature but as we have seen a change in the industry was planned a few years earlier, if not more. But this meeting certainly would have invoked discussion on the mergers.

1897 Commission of Valuation
The July 20, 1897 issue of
American Brewers Review announced that the bigger breweries of Pittsburgh and Allegheny are consolidating. The Review noted Wainwright, Iron City, Phoenix, Straub, Keystone, M. Winter, Hippely & Son, Eberhardt & Ober, F. L. Ober Brothers and Bauerlein. The commission of Valuation visited each brewery and began negotiations. The object of the consolidation is to bring about a uniform conduct of business and it is thought that without any advance in prices profits will increase and many expenditures be cut off.

Iron City Brewing Company – Lebanon, Pa.
Placed here for historical information

Iron City was a brewing company in Lebanon from 1889 until 1920. It was located on Mechanic Street and North Eighth Street. It made Rhenigold Beer and had no connection to Iron City of Pittsburgh. The Company under ownership of Fred Ehrhorn went to Harry G. Wunderlich and Gustave Schneider in 1915. It went into bankruptcy in 1917 or 1918. John Hartman and Adam Freund were owners at that time according to the Brewers Handbook for 1918. Some authors say it closed due to prohibition, but this was not the case. http://blogs.ldnews.com/rhentime/2013/01/04/brewing-in-lebanon-county-a-history/

A Bold Conclusion
The Real Beginning of the Pittsburgh Brewing Company

In can be asserted that Pittsburgh Brewing was not incorporated in 1899 but 1891 when DeWald became the company’s first president. What happened in 1899 was the company became the trustees of other breweries. It can also be asserted that the company was founded on First Avenue in Pittsburgh under DeWald. But what happened between 1891 and 1899 is mysterious. One thing that seems clear is that Benitz, Miller, Hoeveler, Frauenheim and Vilsack had nothing to do with Pittsburgh Brewing until the company they formed merged with the already existing company. In reality there were others who were the seed in the creation of the Pittsburgh Brewing Company. The company legally existed in 1891 under DeWald but Darlington and Rhodes put things in motion as early as the 1850’s to make that happen. If we factor in the Verner family we can go back to the early 1800’s.

The Merger of 1899

See the next chapter in this work for the merger and some very interesting notes on the creation of the Independent Brewing Company.

The Years Before Prohibition
In a timeline fashion

Each of the individual brewery plants operated as such. They advertised using their own name and made their own brands. Pittsburgh Brewing identified each of the plants as departments. The Independent Brewing Company did not use that term with their individual plants. Pittsburgh Brewing was able to purchase large quantities of goods and supplies which were then re-sold to the plants at a cost savings.

The Official Railway Equipment Register, Volume 19, Issue 2, 1901, page 12, noted that Pittsburgh Brewing has refrigerated railroad cars in 1900. The two cars were numbered 101 and 102. Reports of movement and mileage along with bills for repair and remittances were to be sent to the Pittsburgh Brewing Co., Carnegie Building. The entry was dated July 1900.

A brand of beer for Pittsburgh Brewing was advertised as Special, Pittsburgh Press, May 22, 1905.

American Brewers Review, Volume 19, 1905 reported that members of the board of directors of the Pittsburgh Brewing Company promoted the creation of the Independent Brewing Company. This is in more detail in the Merger page.

1906 Tech Beer (Minor change to this paragraph 2017-04-02)
According to Pittsburgh Brewing Company’s website, Gustav “Gus” Fritz develops Tech Beer. Pittsburgh Brewing received a patent in 1906 for the name. Ruth Ayers, writing for the Pittsburgh Press, 19 November 1932, had a story of Mr. Fritz. He was retired from the business but told of his time at the brewery and his involvement in Tech beer.

Gustav lived at 4706 Penn Avenue according to the 1905 Pittsburgh Directory. In his senior years he lived in Valencia, Washington County.

The Pittsburgh Press, 19 November 1932 ...last of a series of articles by Ruth Ayers

1910 Commonwealth v. Pittsburgh Brewing Company
In 1910 The Commonwealth took The Pittsburgh Brewing Company, The Independent Brewing Company, et al, to court for violating its corporate charter. Breweries were supposed to be manufacturing beer. But thre were manufacturing ice and disposing excess ice by giving it those buying their beer or selling it outright. The Commonwealth’s opinion was that breweries could not make a profit from selling excess ice. The courts ruled in favor of the breweries, as there were no laws preventing them from making ice or disposing it. They were allowed to make ice as it was necessary for the preservation of their product.

Pennsylvania Act of April 29, 1874 and its supplements for the purpose of the manufacture and brewing malt liquors (P. L. 73, No. 32) known as the Corporation Act of 1874 for the creation of corporations for profit.

The Book of Prominent Pennsylvanians: A Standard Reference, Pittsburgh: Leader Publishing, 1913 wrote about the beginning of the Pittsburgh Brewing Company.

American Brewer’s Review, Volume 29 reported in 1915 that the Pittsburgh Brewing Company leased a site in Ashtabula, Ohio for the purpose of building a cooling plant. One has to ask why but the Review only prints what it is told. PBC actually leased the site for cold storage plant and distilling depot. Before prohibition it was legal for brewers to distill.

The bottling plant at the Iron City Brewery was expanded. The company also installed three additional O. & J. automatic labeling machines bring the total to six.

From American Brewers Review, Volume 26, 1912: Reports from San Francisco identified several brewers from the East Cost who were interested in consolidating breweries of the Pacific Coast. Those identifies were: Joseph D Madigan of Newark, Julius Eberhardt of Pittsburgh and John Ober of McKeesport. They were to offer capital of 25 million dollars through the firm of Kuchn, Loeb & Co.

A new stock house was built at the Eberharst & Ober Brewery at a cost of $25,000. The Brewers’ Journal made note that the brewery was in Allegheny, Pa. in which they probably meant to say North Side as it was no longer a city since 1907.
Fort Pitt built a three-story bottling house, 66 X 84 feet at a cost of $35,000.

Prohibition changes America in many ways. See the Prohibition and After page.

Closing Dates of Individual Breweries Prior to Prohibition
This will be added in the future.

Of Related Interest

The Fifth Ward

James A. Beck lived in the ward and was a clerk of vital statistics in the City Department of Heath for 20 years. His writing:
The Old Fifth Ward of Pittsburgh, Recollections of James Beck is from what he and his parents remembered. They were published in the Western Pennsylvania Historical Magazine, No. 28, 1945.

The document
The Old Fifth Ward of Pittsburgh has no date but was written shortly after the city was divided into 27 wards after the 1907 annexation of Allegheny City. The Fifth Ward was situated between Quarry Hill and the Allegheny River and Canal Street (now 11th Street) and a line in the vicinity of 17th or 18th Street.

The Fifth Ward had five breweries according to Beck and three were along the hillside, known at one time to be Quarry Hill. Quarry Street sat at the base of the hill until vacated by the railroad during the 1860’s. As Beck only named one of the breweries, I have given each a number to separate them for identification. The first 3 were along the Quarry Hill.

The Northern Liberties was laid out by James O’Hara in XXXX

The Breweries of the Fifth Ward

These brewery locations were noted by Beck and supplemented by information in the Pittsburgh Directories. The directories note Bauerlein, Benitz and Frauenheim & Miller here as well as the Eagle Brewery. John Hoyle was a brewer living on Quarry in 1857 and John Benitz living here in 1861.

Every publication repeats that Leopold Vilsack started at the old Bennett Brewery. Never is a first name revealed but we can see that the brewery had to be that of John. Miller was a brewer and Frauenheim a grocer and most likely an investor. Remember that Anton needed money so it would be no surprise that John need support to keep the brewery running.

Brewery No. 1 was opposite Factory St (14th).
Adam Baeuerlein (above) had his first brewery at 455 Liberty between 12th & 13th Streets. Fifth Ward Breweries does not name this brewery but I speculate that it could have belonged to Baeuerlein.

Brewery No. 2 was at Harrison St (17th).
As Beck locates this unknown brewery along the hill and brewery number 4 at Liberty, essentially the same location, he seems to be very clear that there were two breweries in this vicinity. Beck (Old Bayardstown, below) does not name Ganwisch in his work but Peck places him on the south side of Liberty between 15th & 16th Streets.

Brewery No. 3 between Harrison St (17th) and Allegheny St (21st).
This is a rather broad distance given to locate one brewery.

Beck mentions the caves in the hill that were used to cool the beer. Gangwisch was known to have built a cave or caves along this hillside.

Brewery No. 4 was Bennett’s Brewery at Liberty St and Harrison (17th) on the site of St. Patrick’s Church, which was destroyed by fire (see below). Hoeveler & Miller moved to this location in the 1850’s. This is suspicious. Thurston’s 1860 directory identifies Frauenheim & Miller at this location. Harris’ Business Directory of Pittsburgh of 1844 has Anthony Bennett (Brewery), Penn Street 5th Ward. But in 1847 Harris had the brewery listed at Liberty.

Brewery No. 5 was at Factory St (14th) and Penn St.
(The lot was on the riverside of Penn and towards Lawrenceville)
John Beck had a brewery at 541 Liberty and was to have lived at 20 Factory Street. Hopkins 1872 Atlas, Plate 32 shows J. Beck property at 14
th & Penn.
Harris in 1847 had the Jacob Beck Brewery here.

The Railroad

Other authors writing about the origins of the company say that the brewery outgrew its place and moved to Lawrenceville. This may be true but nobody can offer proof. One thing that did force them to move was the railroad. When the railroads originally came to Pittsburgh they had a line of track down the center of Liberty Street from the point to about 30
th Street. Both the City of Pittsburgh and the State of Pennsylvania passed legislation to move the tracks off the street. Property was taken by eminent domain.

The railroad had the land along Quarry Hill, which included Quarry Street up to the property line along the south curb line of Liberty Street. Based on entries in city directories the Iron City brewery was located on Quarry near Harrison Street until 1869 when it was moved to Lawrenceville. This showed that the brewer moved later than some people have reported.

Christian Bauerlein here adjacent to Frauenheim in 1869 until he moved the brewery to Shaler Township (Millvale).

April 5, 1860
Pennsylvania act authorizes the PRR to improve its tracks from Liberty Street. It also condoned a private right of way.


The Directories
The Pittsburgh Directories that are accessible from the University of Pittsburgh are not by consecutive years. There were different publishers over the years and some years either were not published or missing.

Names were spelled differently from one directory to another and could have been omitted between years. The same with occupations.

Street Names and Address Numbers
A number of streets were named as such until they were changed to Avenues. Street number were consecutive. Liberty and Penn had numbers starting with 100 and continued. There was no 300 block.

Errors and Omissions in Published Documents by Others

One Hundred Years of Brewing
noted the Frauenheim, Miller & Co. in 1869, which is true but the company formed under that name in 1861. The book also noted Iron City Brewing being established in 1874 but it was the Frauenheim & Vilsack Brewing Company in that year.