Old San Francisco Breweries

greenspun.com : LUSENET : San Francisco History : One Thread

I found a old beer bottle in a wall with it's cap still on,when i was remodling the inside of an old apt building in San francsico.The lable reads " John Wielands Brewery San Fancisco June 30th ,1906 Does anyone know anything about this Brewery? Thank You Hank

-- Hank Nunes (Nunboy@aol.com), August 17, 2001


The brewery was located SOMA and was (one of) the largest in SF of its time. From http://www.dolphinclub.org/3_wieland.html:

John Wieland, gold miner, baker and beer baron, was one of the founding members of the Dolphin Club.

As an immigrant from Germany in 1849, Wieland at first settled in Philadelphia, but in 1851, he set out for California. He mined enough gold along the South Fork of the Yuba River to move to San Francisco and go into the baking business. Wieland subsequently bought into the Philadelphia Brewery, a thriving San Francisco concern, finally becoming its sole owner and building it into the most successful and largest business of its kind on the Pacific Coast. He had few years to enjoy his success, for in 1885 his home caught fire and Wieland and several members of his family died in the blaze. John Wieland was only 55 years old.

From http://www.calhist.org/frost1/prev- exhib/transitions/transitions.html:

Heavy industry and large companies were not the only economic forces evident South of Market. Small businesses sprang up everywhere, serving the rapidly expanding population that lived and worked throughout the area. Chinese laundries, German beer halls and butcher shops, furniture show-rooms, boarding houses, hotels, groceries, and drugstores; merchants, bakers, shoemakers, coopers, tailors, barbers, and oyster dealers: the list of small but essential businesses that made life possible South of Market seems virtually inexhaustible. But it was the neighborhood saloon that was the most ubiquitous sight.To slake the thirst of the clamorous populace, breweries were founded and pilsner and porter began to flow. By 1856, fifteen breweries were in operation. including the Philadelphia Brewery, founded by August Hoelscher and taken over by John Wieland shortly thereafter.

From http://www.valhallabrewing.com/dboard/dbnewsl/t9802l.htm:

John Wieland Brewery, 1856-1920. Now here’s a brewery that never changed names - kind of a rarity. Located at 228-246 2nd Street, this brewery tried to restart after prohibition, but never got into production.

Hope this is of any help, Bob

-- Bob Verbrugge (bob_verbrugge@compuserve.com), August 17, 2001.

For more on the history of San Francisco's breweries, check out Anchor Brewing's new website, anchorbrewing.com.

-- Dave Burkhart (info@anchorbrewing.com), January 06, 2003.

I have I believe the largest collection of items related to San Francisco breweries before prohibition. I believe the date of 6/30/06 relates to the "Pure Food and Drugs Act" of that year. The bottle may date later. If it has a patent stopper (porcelain) then it dates prior to about l908. It sounds like this bottle has a crown cap (like beer bottles today) which would date after 1908. John Wieland was burned to death in the early 1880's when his son started a fire while attempting to fill a keroscene lamp in an outbuilding behind the family residence in front of the brewery on Second Street. Wieland heard his son's cries and in an attempt to help him his clothes caught fire. He ran to the house and his daughter attempted to extinguish the flames but her clothes also caught fire. They both died, the father lingering for some time before death. The son survived. The family sold the brewery to an English syndicate (San Franciso Breweries LTD.) which bought up much of the local brewing capacity in 1890. They owned the United States, Chicago, Wieland (Philadelphia), and Willows breweries in San Francisco and the Fredericksburg in San Jose and the Hoffburg in Berkeley. English syndicates bought breweries in other major American cities also. The Wieland sons when disposing of their interest in the brewery started the California Bottling Co. which bottled Wieland's beer. The earthquake in l906 destroyed the brewery. I own the brewmaster's log books kept between 1903 and 1906. The final entry is the day of the earthquake, April 18, l906, in German. It seems the brewmaster had started a batch of beer that day and was able to save these large leather-bound log books prior to the fire reaching the brewery. The brewery had trouble collecting on the insurance policy after the fire and earthquake and the files of the court case still exist. They started bottling their own beer when the brewery was rebuilt using the slogan "Brewerys Own Bottling". You label probably has this slogan. I have the leather mud flaps off the side of a beer wagon with this slogan painted on it. When the brewery started its own bottling the Cal. Bottling Co. bottled Weinhards Beer from Portland but this proved to be unsuccessful and the company was disbanded. I hope this helps. I would like to see a picture of your bottle. Tom

-- Thomas A. Jacobs (tom-com@pacbell.net), November 26, 2003.

I was born and raised in San Francisco from 1933 until 1952 when I enlisted in the Army. Wieland's Brewery was in operation all during this time. The Brewery was shut down sometime around 1953. My father received a case of canned and a case of bottled beer the day before the brewery closed it's doors for the last time.

-- Fred Wieland (cj1ics@usintouch.com), November 12, 2004.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ