“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Tonawanda in Erie County, New York — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

The Brewery

Niagara River Greenway

The Brewery Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Anton Schwarzmueller, October 8, 2016
1. The Brewery Marker
Inscription.  In 1847 George Zent opened the first Brewery in Tonawanda at Hinds and Niagara Streets directly ahead of you on top of the embankment. Lured by the unlimited supply of fresh water from from the Niagara River, economical shipping via the Erie Canal and a rapidly expanding market of thirsty dock workers and canawlers, Zent considered Tonawanda an ideal location. Water was brought in directly from the Niagara River via a pipe built over the canal. Initial production at the facility was 6,000 barrels a year.

Over time, a series of mishaps, including several fires and a tornado, damaged the wooden sructures; consequently a brick brewery was built in 1914 and under the watchful eye of renowned brewmaster Prosper Peuquet (1920-1933), operations were diverted to non-alcoholic production and forced the closure of the facility. But by 1934 the brewery was fully operational again.

After over 80 years of operation under a variety of names and owners such as Niagara River Brewing Co., Busch Brewing Co., and Tonawanda Brewing Co., Tonawanda's only brewery closed forever in 1948. The abandoned brick buildings were completely demolished in 1994
The Brewery Marker - on the Riverwalk image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Anton Schwarzmueller, October 8, 2016
2. The Brewery Marker - on the Riverwalk
East Branch of Niagara River at right. View is looking upstream.
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It Wasn't All Beer
Besides beer brewing, several Tonawanda families started soft drink production and/or distribution businesses. Foels Brothers Inc. founded by Charles J. Foels in 1889 on William Street produced ginger beer which they delivered by horse drawn wagon. Three brothers, Norman, Haraold and John Wulf operated Wulf Brothers Bottling Works from their basement on Minerva St. Their first order was for 25 cases of soda pop for a picnic sponsored by Grace Lutheran Church. By 1960 a new facility was turning out 85,000 cases of pop per year in 16 different flavors.

Other local families like the Rechs and Batts successfully ventured into the soft drink business as well, joining the list of familiar local family names appearing on bottles of root beer, Cherry and orange pop throughout the Twin Cities.
Erected by Historical Society of the Tonawandas.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Industry & Commerce. A significant historical year for this entry is 1847.
Location. 43° 0.833′ N, 78° 53.924′ W. Marker is in Tonawanda, New York, in Erie County. Marker can be reached from Niagara Street (New York State Route 266) 0.1 miles north of Hinds Street. Marker is on the riverwalk along Niagara Street, opposite Hinds
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Street. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Tonawanda NY 14150, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Engineering the Erie Canal (about 700 feet away, measured in a direct line); Grand Island Ferry (about 700 feet away); Erie Canal Site (approx. 0.4 miles away); Great Ships of the Niagara (approx. 0.4 miles away); Tonawanda Veterans Memorial (approx. 0.4 miles away); Westward to Buffalo (approx. 0.4 miles away); Dedicated to the Memory (approx. 0.7 miles away); To The Glory of God and in Grateful Remembrance (approx. 0.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Tonawanda.
Credits. This page was last revised on October 9, 2016. It was originally submitted on October 9, 2016, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York. This page has been viewed 370 times since then and 58 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on October 9, 2016, by Anton Schwarzmueller of Wilson, New York.

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Oct. 4, 2022