Breweries within The City of Pittsburgh & Allegheny County
Please see the Notification page for latest information
February 4, 2015 (date of this page)
See the Notification page for update listings.
Sept. 2015: The Regional Count is nearing completion yet many brewery locations may never be known.
Welcome to Pittsburgh Brewers: The site that lists every brewery ever to have operated in Pittsburgh and something about them.
About this Work
The intent of this work is to identify every brewery that operated in the City of Pittsburgh and the City of Allegheny, as together they make The City of Pittsburgh that we know today. Breweries outside the City of Pittsburgh and City of Allegheny, but within Allegheny County are included in a separate section in this work. Breweries outside Allegheny County may be mentioned in a brewery entry for historical reference and they are referenced in the Brewer’s Index but are not a part of this work.
This work is constantly being revised as I continue to find new information or information that causes a revision. I am not sure how to indicate a revision other than the date at the top of each page.
Brewery Listings by Political Location
Breweries within the City of Pittsburgh are grouped by city neighborhood as known by the end of the 20th Century. They are found in the Neighborhoods section of this work. Breweries outside the city limits are in the Allegheny County section by municipality name.
Since there is not a wealth of information on many of these breweries, this is more of a directory that an illustration. In addition to breweries, other associated businesses are listed such as warehouse, beer vaults, etc. Please be aware that this work is not meant to be a bedtime story although it will no doubt put you to sleep. As I have said, this work is to document a brewery location and then give information about it.
Breweries are entered in alphabetical order by brewery name, owner’s name or company name. A brewery beginning with a number shall be entered either with the number as a numeric value or spelled-out depending on how it was given in historical documents, e.g.: 14th Ward Brewery, Ninth Ward Brewery.
Identification of Breweries by Third Parties
Breweries have been identified in the works of third parties. The author of such work may not have the actual name of the brewery as it may not be known to him or copied from earlier work. This may imply to the reader a false or inaccurate name.
Entry Format and the Regional Count
The Regional Count
The count for the total number of breweries within Allegheny County is shown in the Regional Count in the Index. The count comes from an off-line spreadsheet of mine. There are two methods of counting the number of breweries. The first is to count by location and disregard the number of individual owners. The second method is to identify each owner as an entry. The regional count is based on a brewery’s physical location. The number of owners are not specifically counted but can be tracked in the brewery entry.
Many breweries were owned in partnership, but many times documentation will note only one of the principals. There are many reasons for this. Some may be investors only or minority partners. A document may also be focused on one of the owners for the subject at hand. This work will list all of the partners if known but often there is little to no information on all the people involved in the brewing history of Pittsburgh.
A Brewery Having a Brewery Name
An entry will be listed as a Brewery by the brewery name, if know.
Brewery Name (Owner), e.g. Amber Brewery (Ober)
Brewing Company (With brewery name), e.g: Amber Brewery (Ober & Company)
A Brewery Not Having a Brewery Name
Not all breweries were given a name by the owner.
If no brewery name is known, the name of the owner will be listed.
When a brewery is listed or identified by a single owner’s name, it will be done so using the person’s last name. The Brewers Index will have the name listed as it is shown in the individual pages.
Two brewery trusts were formed in Western Pennsylvania; Pittsburgh Brewing Company and the Independent Brewing Company. These two are listed as a Trust and not counted in the in the number of breweries in the region. All of the breweries they controlled were previously in operation prior to the respective mergers and are not counted in the regional count. The breweries were counted when they were independent of the Trust.
The Pittsburgh Brewing Company did not dissolve until all of their breweries closed, other than the Iron City Brewery.
The Independent Brewing Company dissolved leaving breweries to operate afterwards. Such breweries have not been counted twice as they were counted prior to the merger.
Brewpubs are typically given by name: Rock Bottom Brewery, Church Brew Works. Some brewpubs have a name given for the brewing operations: Sweetwater for the Foundry, Lawrenceville Brewery for Church Brew Works.
A brewpub is counted as a Brewery-Pub entry if it does not have a separate brewery name known to me; such as Strip Brewery. Such entries are counted in the number of breweries to have existed in this region.
If a brewery-pub (Church Brew Works) has a separate brewery name (Lawrenceville Brewery), the name of the brewery-pub is listed as a Brewery Pub Room and not counted in the brewery count. The brewery operations of the Pub is listed a Brewery Operations and is included in the regional count.
Brewpub Supplemental Licenses
Brewpubs have a license to operate as a combination brewery and restaurant. It would be a reasonable assumption that they have a supplemental Sunday license for the restaurant but it is not required. One should not assume that a brewpub has a supplemental license to serve wines and spirits as they are not required to have such.
Breweries Known by Different Names
Breweries may be known under the owner’s name more so than the brewery name. This work identifies the brewery name over the owner’s name (unless the brewery name is not known). In this instance the owner’s name may be listed as a reference with a notation. Such listings are not used in the regional count.
Street Names & Ward Numbers
Please be aware that names of streets may have been different than what they are today. I will note the change if I am able to. Streets of the same name that existed in areas, towns or boroughs and Pittsburgh were changed after annexation with Pittsburgh to avoid confusion. Streets on the South Side that ran perpendicular to the Monongahela River were individually named but renamed with a numbering system similar to Downtown and the Strip District.
Pittsburgh and Allegheny were divided into political Wards but after annexations and mergers, the wards were re-numbers for the entire city. Ward numbers used in this work are old numbers unless indicated.
Street addresses have changed over the years and caution is in order when trying to place a brewery. It is common today to number properties with a cross street as a beginning. Properties in the Strip between 12th & 13th Street are numbered 1300, 1201, 1302, etc, but in the 1800’s they were in the mid to high 400’s as the beginning of the numbering system was at the point in Downtown area.
Boroughs and Townships
The dates used for the boroughs and townships are taken from the Hopkins 1876 Atlas, Plate 4: Alleghany County; its Formation, its Cities, Wards, Boroughs and Townships, by W. B. Negley, Esq., of Pittsburgh.
Verification of a brewery and material relating to it are verified in a number of ways.
A brewery can be entered on this site by just being identified as a brewery from any other source. It is typically classed as un-confirmed until the reliability of the source can be ascertained. Checking an un-reliable source against a reliable source does this. A reliable source is an original hard copy (or scan of such) showing the name, illustration or the presence of a brewery.
Original sources of material used in this document are:
Hopkins Atlas (scanned and original plates)
Pittsburgh Dispatch (scanned newspaper pages)
Pittsburgh Post (scanned newspaper pages)
Pittsburgh Press (scanned newspaper pages)
Published census records
Published death records
Sanborn Fire Insurance maps
Other material that does not have “cut & paste” material created by others
Material not considered that has content repeated from other documents where the content appears to be suspicious
Written material after a brewery was re-named, sold or closed may have a certain degree of inaccuracy. The writer may have used the name of a brewery as it was know at the time of the writer’s period, but not necessarily the name for the time the writer was referring to.
Newspapers in the late 1800’s printed the names and location of people that applied for a license to sell or serve alcohol. They were grouped by city ward or town and it was noted if they were accepted or rejected. These papers are available to the pubic on-line or through libraries.
Thank You & Reader Feedback
A number of people, including family members of brewers have made contributions to this work. I am re-thinking how I want to acknowledge them and will update in the near future.
About Ed Vidunas
Creator and editor (11 years) of the newsletter, The TRASH Can, for the Three Rivers Alliance of Serious Homebrewers.
Created Pubnetwork.com: documents bars and brewpubs in Pittsburgh.
Frequent traveler to London: resulting in the Good-London-Guide.com.
Civil-Structural draftsman: 40 years of experience since 1973.
Appeared on WQED Television, Pittsburgh: A History of Pittsburgh in 17 Objects. Produced by Rick Sebak, June 5, 2014 (first air date). I gave brief responses to questions on the Ft. Pitt Brewing Company and the history of brewing in Pittsburgh.
I have been known to eat cookies when updating my website.