Saint Benjamin Brewery

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Some of you have been following the saga of my brewery for a while. Well, one big part finally fell into place, I now have a building at 5th & Cecil B Moore to house the brewery. It is a former carriage house that was owned by a brewery in 1917, it's in great shape and it's big enough that I'll never have to relocate.

I'm excited to get started on building it out, hopefully I will be open by the summer. If I get really lucky (doubtful, considering my luck so far) I could be ready for Beer Week this summer.

sdm's picture

*Hits Like Button*

From welfare to Mayfair.

dan

Congrats!

"I like my way of doing it better than your way of not doing it." - D.L. Moody

Jordan's picture

SHAWEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEET!

So glad to hear it. More glad to drink some tasty brews.

A. Jordan Rushie
Fishtown Neighbors Association - Vice President
2424 East York Street, Suite 316
Philadelphia, PA 19125 215.385.LAW1 (5291)
Blog: www.phillylawblog.com
Website: www.fishtownlaw.com

c0llins's picture

Coolest thing I've read all week. Good luck with everything. If you need a helping hand building and I am not working, I'll gladly contribute my time to helping you move forward!

Leo's picture

We can rent it out for parties, right?

Mulvihill & Rushie LLC
The Fishtown Lawyers
Criminal Defense • Civil Trials
www.FishtownLaw.com
215.385.5291

stein's picture

excellent news

Ken Milano (before he went and edited this comment out to avoid the consequences of having wrote it) wrote:
I don’t have much sympathy for renters, for me, they are non citizens

Lauraska's picture

Congratulations!!!!

This is my passive aggressive signature. Yeah it's about you.

stbenjamin's picture

Leo wrote:
We can rent it out for parties, right?

If I'm not open by the summer I'm thinking of letting the PEX people host there.

Matt Benatar's picture

I'm very glad to read this. Will you just be brewing, or doing any sales / sampling? Maybe some time on my way home from Temple, I'll make the second half of my bike ride home borderline impossible.

Love is a Mattlefield.

2014 york's picture

Thumbs Up. I could probably be persuaded to do a little free labor for a project like this.

Laurie's picture

Great news!

codergrrl's picture

Great news. So sorry you had to go through all the crap in the first place.
I guess its true, one door closes and another one opens.

"Je Suis Prest"

stbenjamin's picture

Matt Benatar wrote:
I'm very glad to read this. Will you just be brewing, or doing any sales / sampling? Maybe some time on my way home from Temple, I'll make the second half of my bike ride home borderline impossible.

The plan is to brew and distribute in kegs only initially. I'll definitely have tours and tastings at the brewery and if the law changes to allow me to sell pints then I will do that. The fact that the law just changed to allow breweries to sell 6-packs and single bottles means I may get into bottling/canning sooner than expected. The limiting factor is my brewhouse size, even though the building is huge I am starting with pretty small equipment.

spacemonkey's picture

I am soooo excited.

Socialism works great until you run out of other peoples money.

bikegirl's picture

Congratulations! Beautiful building, glad to know it's coming back into use.

p.s. did you ever get a straight answer re: ServSafe?

new kenzo's picture

congrats and good luck! this is great news.

"vinegar of lil richard ninja" , yo

Atomic Larry's picture

Awesome. Real beer = Good! Can't wait to check out the brews and your space. Best of luck we' re all rooting for you!

bozoloper's picture

congrats!

nothin' bring you down like your hometown.

th's picture

Very good news. Looks like a great building!

You wanna dance? LET'S DANCE!

stein's picture

Very pretty building. I know you have bigger fish to fry but I hope someday you are able to replace the windows on the 2nd floor to complete the look.

Ken Milano (before he went and edited this comment out to avoid the consequences of having wrote it) wrote:
I don’t have much sympathy for renters, for me, they are non citizens

austen's picture

Congratulations!

meredith's picture

congrats! that's awesome!

“Try to learn to let what is unfair teach you.” – David Foster Wallace

stbenjamin's picture

stein wrote:
Very pretty building. I know you have bigger fish to fry but I hope someday you are able to replace the windows on the 2nd floor to complete the look.

I do want to restore the facade as best I can. Besides the windows, I'd like to put the original front entrance way back in (which was replaced by cinder blocks in the past) and maybe restore the original name of the brewery, you can make out some letters under the black paint below the cornice.

TLP's picture

stbenjamin wrote:
stein wrote:
Very pretty building. I know you have bigger fish to fry but I hope someday you are able to replace the windows on the 2nd floor to complete the look.

I do want to restore the facade as best I can. Besides the windows, I'd like to put the original front entrance way back in (which was replaced by cinder blocks in the past) and maybe restore the original name of the brewery, you can make out some letters under the black paint below the cornice.

Do you know what the original name was? It really is a gorgeous building!

stbenjamin's picture

TLP wrote:
stbenjamin wrote:
stein wrote:
Very pretty building. I know you have bigger fish to fry but I hope someday you are able to replace the windows on the 2nd floor to complete the look.

I do want to restore the facade as best I can. Besides the windows, I'd like to put the original front entrance way back in (which was replaced by cinder blocks in the past) and maybe restore the original name of the brewery, you can make out some letters under the black paint below the cornice.

Do you know what the original name was? It really is a gorgeous building!

Theodore Finkenauer Lager Beer Company. Unfortunately I haven't been able to track down any photos of the building that aren't recent.

Neilpuck's picture

stbenjamin wrote:
TLP wrote:
stbenjamin wrote:
stein wrote:
Very pretty building. I know you have bigger fish to fry but I hope someday you are able to replace the windows on the 2nd floor to complete the look.

I do want to restore the facade as best I can. Besides the windows, I'd like to put the original front entrance way back in (which was replaced by cinder blocks in the past) and maybe restore the original name of the brewery, you can make out some letters under the black paint below the cornice.

Do you know what the original name was? It really is a gorgeous building!

Theodore Finkenauer Lager Beer Company. Unfortunately I haven't been able to track down any photos of the building that aren't recent.

A few years ago, there was a lecture at PBC covering the history of brewing in Philadelphia with lots of photos. I'm sure Bill and Nancy can put you in touch with the lecturer to see if he has any info. Thrilled for you and cannot wait for the before and after tour. And also the inaugural toast when the first batch is released in your new home.

TheTracyL's picture

Congratulations!! I am very happy for you!

Co-owner of YIKEStopia, 204-206 East Girard Ave, www.yikesinc.com/blog
and Ruin Pornographer http://ruinporn.tumblr.com

zempf's picture

I imagine that's Rich Wagner, who's a local brewery historian. There's a website at http://pabreweryhistorians.tripod.com/ that may have some details (yes, a Tripod website, amazing). I see that there's a Hexamer Survey image on philageohistory.org with some nice drawings of the building circa 1896, too -- http://www.philageohistory.org/rdic-images/view-image.cfm/HGSv30.2944

bozoloper's picture

zempf wrote:
I imagine that's Rich Wagner, who's a local brewery historian. There's a website at http://pabreweryhistorians.tripod.com/ that may have some details (yes, a Tripod website, amazing). I see that there's a Hexamer Survey image on philageohistory.org with some nice drawings of the building circa 1896, too -- http://www.philageohistory.org/rdic-images/view-image.cfm/HGSv30.2944

i love the hexamer surveys. i ran across this site: http://www.workshopoftheworld.com/

it makes good use of the hexamer surverys and the old land use maps to provide histories on different factory buildings in philly. the kensington/fishtown section is pretty interesting. i've been researching the james kitchenman factory at huntingdon and jasper.

nothin' bring you down like your hometown.

TLP's picture

Those hexamer surveys are always really neat.

So, found this on the PA brewery historians site.... http://pabreweryhistorians.tripod.com/ASN0407LongLostLagers.htm

"...while Theodore Finkenauer sold Elmer Export (light) and Genuine Old Lager (dark)."

Some potential names to be resurrected for St. Benjamin lager?

stbenjamin's picture

I have Richard's book, it was pretty informative about other breweries but this one must have been mostly off the radar. Now that I am in the building I will have to contact him again.

A friend sent me some of that survey (there are a few different images with pieces of it on the site), but thanks for sending the whole thing. I'd seen these, how'd you find it with that typo in the name?

http://www.philageohistory.org/rdic-images/view-image.cfm/HGSv24.2285
http://www.philageohistory.org/rdic-images/view-image.cfm/HGSv25.2435
http://www.philageohistory.org/rdic-images/view-image.cfm/HGSv4.0344
http://www.philageohistory.org/rdic-images/view-image.cfm/HGSv5.0398

I love that in the earliest one, my building address was a "lagerbeer saloon".

I will try to research those old lagers, I want to eventually make lager beer as well as ales anyway. Also, the name of the alley behind the building, Mast St., is begging to be used in a beer.

zempf's picture

The owner's name is spelled right on that one, luckily that's what I was searching on instead of the (misspelled) brewery name.