HERE IS A GREAT HISTORY ON THE WEST END BREWING CO. WHICH I REMEMBER DRIVING BY AS A KID GROWING UP IN ADIRONDACKS, I ADDED THE PICTURES
On March 15, 1888 a group of Utica people associated together to form a corporation tomanufacture and sell ale and lager beer. The company?s capital stock was $20,000 and was divided into 200 shares of $100 each. With this petition, The West End Brewing Company of Utica, New York came into existence but any chronicle about this brewery would be incomplete without first reciting the history of Charles Bierbauer and his brewery. Charles Bierbauer was born in Bavaria Germany on February 18, 1818. In 1848 he immigrated to this country locating at Lyons, New York. There he married Barbara Strohm and moved to Utica, New York in 1850. Mr. Bierbauer operated a small brewery at 93 Third Street for three years after relocating to Utica. This location proved to be inadequate and Mr. Bierbauer purchased six lots on Edward Street where a new brewery was erected
and his lager brewing operation was moved. Up until the 1840?s the beer made in the United States was the top-fermented type English ales and porter also called ?common beer.? When Charles Bierbauer came to Utica in 1853 he introduced lager beer to the area. The arrival of large numbers of German immigrants during this period created a demand for lager beer. Lager beer is of the ?bottom-fermented? type requiring a period of rest which
is the meaning of lager. This resting period develops its taste properties, gives it a sparkling quality and lightens the alcoholic content. Mr. Bierbauer?s business thrived and for many years supplied the bulk of the lager beer consumed in Utica. In 1878, Theodore Matt moved his family to America and settled in Utica where he opened a meat market at 148 Schuyler Street. Mr. Matt?s son, Francis Xavier Matt was age 19 at the time and had
learned the art of making beer in his teenage years at the famed Duke of Baden Brewery in Rothous Germany. Because of his experience in the unrivaled old world method of brewing lager beer, F. X. Matt immediately found employment at the Bierbauer brewery. A year later F.X. Matt was asked to go
to Canajoharie, New York to work for Charles Bierbauer?s brother Louis who had a brewery there. A short time after working at this brewery, F.X. matt was promoted to brew master and continued to work there for seven years. On August 17, 1885 Charles Bierbauer died in Utica at the age of 68. His wife Barbara and adopted son George were unable to continue managing the Bierbauer Brewery and consequently put it up for sale a few months later.
On December 17, 1885 a group of people bought the Bierbauer Brewery and formed The Columbia Brewing Company. They continued operations on Edward Street, the capital stock consisted of $50,000 and the five trustees elected to run the corporation were John Kohler (Barbara Bierbauer?s
brother-in-law), Henry Roemer, M. Bremmer, Frank Schaub and George Fretscher. John Kohler was president of the entity. It is not known why the Columbia Brewing Company failed but competition was plentiful during this period. The company defaulted on their $10,000 mortgage from Barbara
Bierbauer and the company and premises were sold on February 11, 1888 at public auction at the sheriff?s office in Utica. The business and property was bought by the group of men who would transform it into the West End Brewing Company. Included in the sale of the premises were ?all the
fixtures, machinery, vats, pipes, hogsheads, barrels, and all other personal property used in and connected with the business of the manufacture and sale of ale and lager, including all the horses, wagons, sleighs, harnesses and other equipment used around said premises.? When the new owners formed the West End Brewing Company they continued operating the brewery on Edward Street. The actual brewing of beer probably never ceased during the transition. The five trustees elected to manage the corporation for the first year were Henry Roemer, Robert Cromie, Sylvester D. Powers, Frank X. Matt, John J. Fuess and George H. Bierbauer. The new owners of the brewery could only raise $17,000 cash when they bought the business and agreed to issue
$3,000 capital stock to Barbara Bierbauer as the balance of the purchase price. Henry Roemer served as the first president and Sylvester Powers owner of the Senate Saloon, 116 Court Street was the first vice President. F.X. Matt returned from the Louis Bierbauer Brewery in Canajoharie to help form the
West End Brewing Company and served as the superintendent and brew master. What part Robert Cromie and J.J. Fuess had in the corporation other than being financial investors is not known. As a company logo and trademark, the West End Brewing Company chose a round circle with an
image of Miss Columbia in it. It seems almost too much of a mere coincidence that an establishment evolving from the Columbia Brewing Company chose Miss Columbia as a trademark. The Columbia Brewing Company probably used the same or similar emblem and the new company continued to use
it. This handsome patriotic motif is still used today by the brewery. When the West End Brewing company started doing business they had to compete with approximately ten other Utica breweries including the well established Gulf and Oneida breweries. The new and larger Eagle Brewing Company started in business the same year as the West End Brewing Company. In addition to Utica breweries, there was competition from many other beers
brought into the area to be sold. The famous Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company and the Genesee Brewing company both sold beer in Utica in 1888.
To make the West End Brewing company a success in 1888 required an aggressive manager not only to produce a quality beer but also to market it. F.X. Matt proved to be this energetic and forceful leader. Under the direction of F.X. Matt, in spite of all the competition, the West End Brewing
Company was very successful. The brewery grew step by step and many extensive improvements to both buildings and equipment took place. With this success F.X. Matt became president in 1905. Mr. Matt continued to be very active in the brewery until his death in 1958 at the age off 99.
Many of the other Utica breweries went out of business during prohibition. The West End Brewing Company survived by selling non alcoholic beverages and other food stuffs. At a special meeting of the stockholders held at the brewery on January 22, 1920 the certificate of incorporation was changed
to include other purposes, powers or provisions ?to wit, the manufacture, production and sale of non alcoholic cereal beverages of every description, ginger ale and other soft drinks of every name and nature, ice, cold storage, packing preserves, syrups, vinegar and industrial alcohol, in addition to those
now set forth in the certificate of incorporation.? For 13 years the company survived manufacturing and selling soft drinks and other items.
In 1948, Fortune Magazine described the brewery as ?the model brewhouse? and at the present time is recognized as one of the cleanest and most modern breweries in the country. Today the brewery is operating at the same location and is the 12th largest in the nation. The name has been changed to the
F.X. Matt Brewing Company and is the only brewery located in Utica. In addition to its famous Matt?s beer, the company still bottles Utica Club beer under the name of The West End Brewing Company. The company is guided by F.X. Matt II, grandson of the founder. F.X. Matt II is no less proud of his
sparkling light bodied beer than his grandfather was 100 years ago. Like his grandfather, F.X. makes daily tours of the plant inspecting the brewing operation.......
by Jon j. Landers-88
Charles Bierbauer Utica, NY 1853 - 1855
Columbia Brewing Co. Utica, NY 1855 - 1887
West End Brewing Co. Utica, NY 1888 - 1920
Seneca Food Products Corp. Utica, NY Prohibition
West End Brewing Co., Inc. Utica, NY 1933 - 1981
West End Brewing Co. Utica, NY 1981 - 1982
F.X. Matt Brewing Co. Utica, NY 1982 - 1990
Matt Brewing Co. Utica, NY 1990 - Present
© TAVERN TROVE.COM
Schultz & Dooley were first introduced to television audiences in 1959 and rapidly became the West End Brewing Company’s (WEBCO) favorite “spokesmugs.” The actual steins that appeared on television throughout the Northeastern United States were made of wood and brought to life through the talents of famous puppeteer, Bill Baird. Their German and Irish accents were vocalized by one of America’s favorite comedians, Jonathan Winters. These commercials went on to win top honors at the Cannes Film Festival and several awards from the prestigious Art’s Director’s Club.
In 1959, the original issue of 5,000 steins were made in Germany by Wuerfel and Mueller (King Werks) and were imported for us by Schmetzer Inc. of New York. These steins are easily identifiable since they feature code numbers below their handles. (#59CSM on Schultz and #59CDM on Dooley). These steins were manufactured as promotional items, which were given to accounts of the brewery such as taverns, grocery stores etc. We also offered them for sale for $9.85 per pair. Today, it is not unusual to lean that someone has been offered as much as $1200.00 for an original set of Schultz & Dooley.
At this time the brewery gave Schmetzer, Inc. permission to sell the Schultz & Dooley steins in departments stores such as Subley’s in Rochester and Syracuse, and Henegerer’s in Buffalo. These steins were exactly the same as those referred to above EXCEPT they do not have the identifiable makings on them.
From 1972 – 1982, we started importing the steins from Ceramarte in Brazil. These steins were clearly marked “made in Brazil” WEBCO. The point on Schultz’s head was purposely colored gold and his body was white, rather than the off white to differentiate the Brazilian Steins of Schultz & Dooley, The Countess and Officer Sudds were also manufactured in Brazil until early 1984.
From 1984 – 1985 they were imported by MIE Importers, Liverpool, NY and bear the information on the bottom of the steins as well as WEBCO, made in Germany. From 1984 – 1985 they were imported by MIE Importers, Liverpool, NY and bear the information on the bottom of the steins as well as WEBCO, made in Germany. From 1985 till 1999, Gerz in Sessenbach West Germany manufactured our steins acting as our own import agent. Gerz helped us to introduce additional character steins by their interpretation of our designs. Gerz went out of business in 1999, and our steins were once again produced by King Werks Wuerfuel Mueller of Hoehr Grenzhausen, Germany from 2000 – 2003. In 2004 the steins were made in China and imported by Tradex Import/ Export, GmbH, Germany.
All Steins from the F.X. Matt Brewing Company bear the copyright, WEBCO, which stands for West End Brewing Company.
© 2008 The Matt Brewing Company
Here is a larger picture of the front of the brewery. If you look closely, you can see part of the Utica Club sign above the top left of the building behind the smokestack. You can also just make out the "West End Brewing Company" on the front of the brewery on the right below the top windows. The entrance to the brewery tours can be seen in the bottom right. The Utica Club red trolley which has moved many a brewery visitor is leaving the brewery in the bottom left. pictures and text © Bertlesman.com
Saranac Brewery Goes Up In Flames
Thursday night, F.X. Matt brewery in Utica, New York, maker of Saranac beer and ale, was engulfed in flames as four fire companies battled a fire and residents were evacuated from a six-block area surrounding the brewery.
Early reports are that the fire originated on the second floor of the bottling shop and quickly spread to the upper floors. Employees have said that a welding project may be to blame.
The brewery employees more than 100 people in the area, but some will be returning to work as early as Monday as Saranac resumes their kegging operations. No word yet on how the fire will affect Saranac’s ability to continue producing beer in the near future beyond the batches that need to be kegged.
Saranac sent the following message out on Friday:
As some of you may have heard, last evening, a major portion of our production facility was destroyed by fire. While the Brewery operations remain shutdown, it is our intention to rebuild our Brewery and plans are already underway to do so in the most efficient manner possible.
We cannot possibly thank everyone for their generous outpouring of support for our organization during this difficult time. We extend our deepest gratitude to the City of Utica Fire & Police Departments as well as surrounding municipal fire departments for their efforts to control this devastating situation. Having been faced with many challenges over our 120 year history, we are extremely confident in our ability to rebuild this area of our operations and come back stronger than ever. Thank you all for your support of Saranac Beer and Soft Drinks.”