Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Before the Ban Part 2 - Pre-Prohibition Baltimore Breweries - The August Beck/Frank Steil Brewery

Now long forgotten to history, Baltimore was once a major brewing city with over 45 breweries operating at one time. In this series, I hope to bring to life this long lost history.

The August Beck's Lager Beer Brewery was established on Garrison Road, now South Franklintown Road by August Beck in 1861.

August Beck's Lager Beer Brewery 1869

Beck was born in 1821 in Rottenburg, Wurtenburg and was married to Frederica Beck.
Employing 12-15 men, in 1878 the brewery sold 7,706 barrels of beer and in 1879 it sold 6,935 barrels of beer.

1887 Advertisement 
By the time of Back's death in 1880, the brewery complex consisted of a number of buldings. There was a recently built 40'x40' dwelling house with a mansard roof and a two story 24'x24' brick back building which served as the residence of August Beck. There was a two story brick 40'x140' beer brewery, beer cellar, engine house, office and ice house.Just north of Beck's dwelling house was a two story brick house which was used as a dwelling house and a beer saloon. Behind this was a 24'x120' two story brick building used as a stable and adjoining this was a 24'x70' brick wagon shed. At the rear of the property was a 40'x95' large frame "sommerhaus" built for and used as a beer and concert hall. Also on the property was a brick stable for cows, a small frame cooper shop and an open frame shed. The brewery itself contained 8 large fermenting tubs of 300 barrels each and 16 fermenting tubs of 600 barrels each, 2 maish tubs, 2 large copper kettles and a beer cooler. There was also four large double and three single beer wagons. The brewery had the capacity to produce 10,000 to 12,000 barrels of beer per year.

1888 Advertisement

In 1881 the brewery was sold to August Beck, son of the founder.

John Marr, formerly of Bauernschmidt & Marr, bought the brewery in 1899 to run it as John Marr's Independent Brewery, under the management of Frank Steil. The brewery went bankrupt and in December 1900 was purchased by Steil, operating under the name of the Frank Steil Brewing Company. In 1913, Steil added a 45'x46' bottling house designed by George Repp.


With prohibition, the brewery was converted into a slaughter house and meat packing plant.

1908 Advertisement

Some of the brewery survives today. The most obvious survivor is the former house of August Beck built in 1875. The two story beer saloon and the row of buildings behind it were torn down sometime between 1983 and 2016. As late as 1983 the beer cellars below this row of buildings survived, but it is unknown if they survived the demolition of the buildings themselves. The brewhouse itself burned in 1969 and has been replaced by a more recent structure.




A. Beck's Brewery 1890
200 South Franklintown Road

Frank Steil Brewing Company (formerly A. Beck's Brewery) 1901
200 South Franklintown Road

Frank Steil Brewing Company (formerly A. Beck's Brewery) 1914
200 South Franklintown Road

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