Duquesne Brewing Company (1899–1972)

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Duquesne Brewing Company
Location Latrobe, Pennsylvania
Opened

1899 (1899) – 1972 (1972)

2008 (2008) – present
Owner(s) Mark Dudash
Website www.duquesnebeer.com
Active beers
Name Type
Duquesne Pilsener (Euopean Pilsener)
Duquesne LT (Light Beer)
Fort Pitt Ale (Ale)
Inactive beers
Name Type
Silver Top Lager Pilsner
Silver Top Ale Ale
Duke Ale Ale
Duquesne Pilsener Pilsner
Duquesne Bavarian Beer ?
Duquesne Bock Beer Bock
Duquesne Heavy-Dry Beer ?
Duquesne Draft Beer Draught
Old Nut Brown Ale Brown ale
Frontenac Pale Ale Pale Ale
Carnegie Beer ?
Duquesne Buccaneer Beer ?

The Duquesne Brewing Company was a major brewery in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, from its founding in 1899 until its dissolution in 1972. The brand was revived in 2008, in order to re-establish the beer in Western Pennsylvania starting in the summer of 2010.[1]

History[edit]

Founding[edit]

Old bottle of Duquesne Pilsener showing the Fort Pitt Blockhouse mislabeled as "Fort Duquesne".

The Duquesne Brewing Company was officially incorporated on April 4, 1899.[2] The first president was Henry Miller, formerly a furniture salesman. The original trademark of the brand was a depiction of Fort Duquesne (though it actually featured a depiction of the Fort Pitt Blockhouse with the words "Fort Duquesne" underneath it[3]), and the more recognizable "Prince of Pilsners" trademark was added later.[2]

The brewery decided to use refrigerated train cars to ship the beer, an innovated move the early twentieth century. A Chicago stockyard man, Max Epstein, connected Duquesne with Armour and Company, and had Duquesne's company logo emblazoned on one of the cars. At first sight, the Duquesne reps thought the car was a giant billboard for their company and purchased twenty cars. The money that Epstein netted from the sale enabled him to found the General American Transportation Corporation.[4]

Even before Prohibition, Pittsburgh's brewing operations had begun to combine into fewer players, with most ending up under either the umbrella of the Pittsburgh Brewing Company or the Independent Brewing Company of Pittsburgh. Duquesne was among one of fifteen joining the latter in 1905.[5]

The obverse and reverse of an old Duquesne Beer coaster, showing some of the beer's branding

Prohibition[edit]

Starting in 1920, Prohibition forced many breweries, distillers, and taverns to close. Duquesne was one of only 725 American breweries left when the movement was repealed in April 1933. In 1937, the company renamed itself as the Duquesne Brewing Company of Pittsburgh. The company, reformed under their original charter, emerged as the largest brewing company in Pennsylvania at a yearly production rate of 325,000 barrels.

Expansion[edit]

Duquesne's production capacity increased to two million barrels after World War II when a new building opened at the South Side site in 1950,[6] making it one of the top ten breweries in the United States. The company's best known brand was "Duke," and its popular advertising slogan was "Have a Duke!"

The company had plants in Carnegie (Plant 3) and McKees Rocks (Plant 2),[7] in addition to the South Side flagship brewery, although those soon closed after the new brew house opened at Plant 1 in 1950 (Plant 3 closed in 1952, and Plant 2 in 1950).[8] The curved profile of the 1950 building at Plant 1 was to accommodate the PRR Whitehall Branch, which serviced the brewery from sidings along and off Mary Street.

In January 1963, Duquesne expanded into the Cleveland market by purchasing the rights to P.O.C. Beer from the Pilsener Brewing Company after they closed their plant.[9]

Dissolution[edit]

While the company had been profitable through the 1950s, profits had declined by 1962 to $211,586 and the trend showed no sign of abating.[10][11] A proposed 1965 acquisition by Pittsburgh Brewing ran afoul of anti-trust laws, and was enjoined in United States v. Pittsburgh Brewing Co. and Milton G. Hulme. The Friday family, longtime stewards of the brand, would lose control to investor Raymond Sigesmund in a stock battle in 1966. Sigesmund brought in his son-in-law, Franklyn D. Jeans, to run the brewery, but the problems continued. Jeans fired Lando, Inc., the company which had replaced long-time agency Vic Maitland in 1965 on the Duquesne Brewing advertising account, and replaced them with his own company, Admark.[12]

Sales at Duquesne Beer had fallen to $13 million by 1971.[13] The company, due to competition from national brands sold its labels to C. Schmidt & Sons Brewing Company of Philadelphia in late 1972, and closed the flagship plant. Schmidt brewed Duquesne in Cleveland into the 1980s, but sales fell drastically after Allegheny County commissioner Thomas Foerster called for a boycott of out-of-town beers; by the very end of the beer's production, the packaging was even changed to look like Schmidt's.[13]

Revival[edit]

In June 2010, Pittsburgh-area attorney Mark J. Dudash announced plans to resurrect the Duquesne Beer brand, to be brewed by City Brewing Company at the Latrobe, PA.[14] Dudash and his wife, Maria, incorporated Duquesne Brewing Company in late 2008 as a formal start to the project and also re-registered the brands trademark, which had expired.

In 2008, Maria was diagnosed with breast cancer. The Dudash’s didn’t let that hold them back, but instead worked even harder to bring their dreams to fruition while Maria underwent a bi-lateral mastectomy and chemotherapy.[15]

In June 2010 Dudash requested Father James Farnan, pastor of St. Thomas More Parrish located in Bethel Park, PA, to perform the ancient Roman Catholic ritual of the blessing of the beer.[16]

The initial launching of Duquesne Pilsener in August 2010 resulted in an astounding production of 14,000 barrels in its inaugural brew. Duquesne Pilsener was created in the style of a true European pilsener. This award winning pilsener entailed both Saaz and Hallertau hops to provide the consumer with a gentle bite with no after taste and a clean finish. The recipe also included 100% two-row malt which provides a thick and bright white head with a vibrant hop aroma. In 2011, the World Beer Cup Championship awarded Duquesne Pilsener with the top award in the pilsener/lager category, truly making Duquesne Beer “the finest beer in town.”

In 2012, Duquesne Brewing Company launched its second award winning beer named Duquesne LT. LT is a premium light pilsener brewed in the style of a Central European pilsener. LT has the pale gold color because of its two row malt which provides the consumer with a crisp finishing taste. Unlike the majority of its light beer competitors, LT has a thick, bright head, a clear, golden brightness, and has no strange aftertaste. As is the case with Duquesne Pilsener, Dudash once again chose the family of European Noble hops in order to maintain the longstanding tradition of a true pilsener with limited calories and carbs. In 2012, the World Beer Championship awarded Duquesne LT with a bronze medal

Since the 2010 revival, Duquesne Brewing Company has expanded from its base from Pennsylvania to Ohio in 2013.

In the spring of 2014, Duquesne Brewing Company will launch Fort Pitt Ale. In maintaining its traditional roots in the Western Pennsylvania region, Fort Pitt was crafted in the spirit of the first brewery established by the British Army within the confines of Fort Pitt west of the Alleghenies in 1765. In order to maintain these historical roots, Fort Pitt is an ale using two-row malt, caramel, and the finest English hops. Fort Pitt pours with a thick brown head and projects a deep caramel glow. Fort Pitt’s recipe provides the highest quality of natural ingredients with the addition of roasted caramel malts providing a subtle sweetness and a gentle hop aroma. The rebirth of this Pittsburgh classic results in a refreshing taste within the spirit of Pittsburgh’s deep rooted glorious past history – “Fort Pitt, That’s It!”

Beers[edit]

The Duquesne Brewery's stable of brands included Silver Top Lager, Silver Top Ale, Duke Ale, Duquesne Pilsener, Duquesne Bavarian Beer, Duquesne Bock Beer, Duquesne Heavy-Dry Beer, Duquesne Draft Beer, Duquesne Porter, Old Nut Brown Ale, Frontenac Pale Ale, Duquesne Beer, Carnegie Beer and Duquesne Buccaneer Beer.

The revived Duquesne Brewing Company currently brews its flagship Duquesne Pilsener, Duquesne LT, a light beer, and Fort Pitt, an ale.

Duquesne Brewery building[edit]

The old Duquesne Brewing Company building, built in 1899, at Mary and 21st Streets in the South Side Flats neighborhood of Pittsburgh, is now home of the Brew House Association.

The 1899 Duquesne Brewery brewhouse building, located at Mary Street and 21st Street in the South Side Flats neighborhood, now is home to the Brew House Association, which provides housing, studio space, and a gallery for Pittsburgh artists. The adjacent 1950 brewhouse building has been partially restored but is currently vacant. The cellar and keg department is now a self storage facility. A storage and garage building has become living space. The former office building has become Beitler-McKee Optical. The bottling works has become U.S. Cargo. Raff Printing and Rynn's Luggage occupy the case storage and shipping buildings. The bridge between the bottling works and case storage stands, while the bridge connecting the two brewhouses has been dismantled.

Duquesne Brewery clock[edit]

See main article Duquesne Brewery Clock

The clock, with AT&T logo on the face

The Duquesne Brewery is distinguishable from other buildings on Pittsburgh's South Side by its large clock, visible from throughout the city.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Olson, Thomas (16 June 2010). "Duquesne Beer to flow again in Western Pennsylvania". Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. Retrieved 3 July 2010. 
  2. ^ a b "Duquesne Brewing Co. history began with founding in 1899". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 28 June 1950. p. 10. Retrieved 3 July 2010. 
  3. ^ http://www.usbeerstuff.com/irtp/duke02.jpg
  4. ^ "GATX Corporation". Company histories. Retrieved 4 July 2010. 
  5. ^ Van Wieren, Dale (2007). "Chronology of the American Brewing Industry". BeerHistory.com. Retrieved 3 July 2010. 
  6. ^ "Civic leaders attend opening of Duquesne's modern brewhouse". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 28 June 1950. pp. 9–10. Retrieved 3 July 2010. 
  7. ^ Evans, J. Kenneth (26 July 1988). "Heat wave is blamed for fire in Stowe". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. 6. Retrieved 3 July 2010. 
  8. ^ Kern v. Duquesne Brewing Co. of Pittsburgh, 739 Pa. Dist. & Cnty. Dec. LEXIS (72), 17 Pa. D. & C.2d 299 (Common Pleas Court of Allegheny County 1958).
  9. ^ Lahmers, Ken (8 April 2009). "Kaleidoscope: Brewing relics dot landscape". Aurora Advocate (Aurora, OH: Record Publishing Co.). Retrieved 3 July 2010. 
  10. ^ "Kaiser Reports Greater Income". New York Times. 9 March 1963. p. 9. 
  11. ^ "Duquesne stockholders get offer to sell stock". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. 14 December 1965. p. 37. Retrieved 3 July 2010. 
  12. ^ Smock, Douglas (22 July 1974). "Old hassles haunting Duke Beer". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. pp. 1, 20. Retrieved 3 July 2010. 
  13. ^ a b Boselovic, Len (27 June 2010). "Duke Beer chief 'rolling the dice'". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved 4 July 2010. 
  14. ^ Funk, Harry. "Jon Delano's interview of Mark Dudash" KDKA, The Sunday Business Page 2011
  15. ^ Funk, Harry. "Duquesne Pilsener: His Idea, Her Blessing" Brookline Patch, 12 July 2012
  16. ^ WTAE Channel 4 YouTube, "Duquesne Beer Is Back; First Batch Starts Brewing"

External links[edit]

News articles