Baltimore was a major brewing center in the nineteenth century, partly because of its large German population and also because of its ready supply of grain. By the end of the century there were dozens of small, independently owned breweries . The industry remained a prosperous one until Prohibition crippled it in 1920. Brewery architecture, the only remains of this once thriving industry, with its romantic, Germanic character and elaborate decoration, has given Baltimore some of its most interesting industrial structures. The Eigenbrot Brewery in West Baltimore, founded in 1873 and remodeled in 1896, is an excellent example of brewery architecture.
101–113 Willard Street, Baltimore, MD 21223
This description of the Eingebrot Brewery is adapted from the Maryland Inventory of Historic Places Form for the building.
The majority of the Eigenbrot Brewery company was built in 1873 by Ferdinand Joh. This group of structures includes those which border South Warwick Street at the foot of Lipps Lane. Central to this early group is a two-story brick building with a gable roof which later served as a “wash and storage” room. This was probably part of the original brewhouse . North of this building and adjacent to it is a one story brick building which later became part of the brewery ‘s bottling plant. South of it is a three-story hops storage building with a highly decorative brick cornice. In 1892 the brewery began a modernization program which greatly increased its capacity . Key to this was the installation of a refrigeration system to expedite the cooling of the wort.
An elaborate boiler house and compressor house fronting on Willard Street housed the unit. The former has a rooftop lantern now in badly deteriorated condition . In 1896 and 1897 a new brewhouse and cold storage warehouse was added . The brewhouse is a five-story brick structure fronting on Willard Street just north of the office. The warehouse is also five stories but is much higher – each floor having sufficient clearance for the large wooden fermenting vats and storage tanks.
In 1906 the company added three new structures to house its expanded distribution facilities: A two-story brick stable along Hollins Street , a two-story addition to the bottling plant and a new stock house . In 1909 a new refrigeration plant was built be tween the 1873 and the new warehouse.
Baltimore was a major center of brewing in the nineteenth century, partly because of its large German population (and appeal to new German immigrants)and also because of its ready supply of grain . By the late nineteenth century there were dozens of small, independently owned breweries. The industry remained a prosperous one until Prohibition crippled it in 1920. Brewery architecture, the only remains of this once thriving industry, with its romantic, Germanic character and elaborate decoration, has given Baltimore some of its most interesting industrial structures. The Eigenbrot brewery in Southwest Baltimore founded in 1873 and remodled in 1896, is an excellent example of brewery architecture.
The Eigenbrot Brewery on Willard Street in West Baltimore was actually founded by Ferdinand Joh in 1873. Joh died in 1876, however, and the brewery was inherited by his daughter Louisa, who married Henry Eigenorot the same year. Eigenbrot was a thirty year old machinist, the son of a saloon keeper . Though he became the manager, Louisa retained title to the brewery. The brewery was not incredibly successful, but it did enough business to continue, and to support the Eigenbrots in a comfort able style. In 1892, however, a reorganization of the brewery came about, and Alexander Straus, the son of malt supplier Levi Straus, became the new manager. (As a result of their role as malt suppliers, the Straus family had a great deal of power in the brewing industry.) A new company was formed, and lexander Straus became the principal owner along with Louisa Eigenbrot .
The brewery underwent a great deal of expansion and modern ization under Straus. The plant was enlarged and new equipment, including refrigeration units , was installed, In 1891, the year before Straus took over, the brewery produced about 14,000 barrels of beer, but by 1895 production reached about 45,000. A fire at the brewery in 1896 precipitated the erection of a new and larger brewhouse, and in 1897 a new large storage building was erected as well.
In 1899, the Maryland Brewing Company, a newly formed con glomerate , purchased the Eigenbrot Brewery along with seventeen other Baltimore breweries. Straus was retained as manager, but Eigenbrot retired at this time. The Maryland Brewing Company was sold to the Gottlieb- Bauernschmidt- Straus Brewing Company in 1901. This sale included the Eigenbrot property. Henry Eigenbrot died in 1906.
A two-story addition to the bottling and storage house, a new stock house and a two-story stable were built in 1906. In 1909, concrete floors, electric lighting and steam heat were installed, and in 1911 a 75 ton amonia condenser and new vertical single – acting compressors were added. Straus left the brewery in 1912, and Charles Bach became brewmaster and manager. He retained this position until 1920 , when Prohibition closed all the breweries . A moving and storage company took over the property at that time. It is currently owned by a furniture distribution company.
Last Updated: November 24, 2015