The Brewmaster’s Castle

The Brewmaster's Castle in Washington, DCCaught this article on CNN about the Brewmaster’s Castle in danger of being sold. The mansion was built in 1894 by Christian Heurich, the premier Washington, D.C. brewery at the turn of the 20th century, and today is a public museum. There’s another article about it here at Bella Online.

As interesting as the mansion itself is, I did a search for more information about Heurich and his brewery. Found an interesting page on the history of the Heurich Brewing Company that covers it really well.

Not only was Heurich beer consumed by presidents, the brewery was also one of the few to survive Prohibition. Heurich himself died at age 102 in 1945, running the business himself up until about a week before he died!

During Prohibition, which lasted until 1933, the brewery stayed in business producing ice and for many years won the contract to supply the US Congress and the US Supreme Court with their ice.

In March 1933 the Volstead Act was replaced and it became legal to make and sell 3.2% beer. In December 1933 the 21st amendment to the Constitution repealed the 18th Amendment and it became legal to make and sell higher alcohol beverages again. Heurich originally planned not to return to the beer business but the tremendous demand for beer —even though the only legal kind had only 3.2 percent alcohol —convinced him otherwise. There had been five breweries operating in Washington when Prohibition began, but only Christian Heurich and the Abner-Drury Brewery reopened and the latter only lasted two years. Apparently the Abner-Drury brewery rushed their beer to market and sold it while it was still "green" and so quickly gained a reputation for selling bad beer!

Incidentally, his grandson is also brewing, under the Foggy Bottom label. This is the same grandson who is trying to save the Brewmaster’s Castle—so you see, it all comes back full circle…

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