Beer Here at New-York Historical Society 3
During the early nineteenth century, New York City brewing was dominated by small brewers
who produced limited quantities of common beers, ales, and porters. Beer was also supplied to the city
by large upstate breweries, particularly M. Vassar & Co. in Poughkeepsie and the John Taylor Brewery
in Albany. With access to Croton water, among other infrastructure advances, New York’s brewing
trade grew between 1842 and 1919 from small workshops to a thriving industry led by several largescale
breweries. This transformation was strengthened by Manhattan’s changing landscape, as streets
were pushed northward in accordance with the city’s 1811 Grid Plan.
During the mid-nineteenth century, New York and Brooklyn, like many American cities,
absorbed increasing influxes of European immigrants. Beginning in the 1830s, Germans from beerproducing
regions such as Bavaria, Württemberg, and Baden came to the United States seeking asylum
from political turmoil and widespread unemployment. These immigrants brought with them brewing and
beer-drinking traditions, knowledge about the production of lagers, and public consumption rituals.