HISTORY NEVER TASTED THIS GOOD

Anaheim Gazette ad from October 29, 1870.

Anaheim Gazette ad from October 29, 1870.

The first Anaheim Brewery opened in 1870 in downtown Anaheim. The second and third locations were nearby.  Then we took a 90 year break after National Prohibition closed the taps in 1920. Today, the fourth home of the Anaheim Brewery is the Packard Building, a 1920s structure within the city’s Historic District.

First Owners:  Goldstein & Davis

As early as 1870, the Anaheim Gazette ran ads for the Anaheim Brewery. The early proprietors were Solomon Goldstein and Samuel Davis.  Even then the brewery had a Tasting Room, or as they put it “A Bar is Attached to the Premises.”

Davis was a Justice of the Peace, and sold his share of the business to Goldstein within a year.  Goldstein’s doctor recommended he move to Los Angeles when his health began to fail a few years later.  We have no photos of either gentleman, but we’ve visited Goldstein’s grave.  Read about it here: https://anaheimbrewery.wordpress.com/2010/10/18/day-of-the-dead-part-one/

Friedrich Conrad circa 1888

Second Owner:  Friedrich Conrad

Anaheim Gazette ad July 31, 1890

Meanwhile, Friedrich Conrad, a Bavarian-born, Anaheim resident started his first brewery and called it the California Brewery. Located at 113 Adele Street between Lemon and Anaheim Boulevard (then called Los Angeles Street), the brewery did well.  When Goldstein decamped for Los Angeles, Conrad began calling his business “Anaheim Brewery.”

In 1888, Conrad purchased 10 acres on West Broadway at today’s Manchester Street, conveniently next to the railroad that runs north to Los Angeles and south to San Diego. There he built a large brick building to house the Anaheim Brewery, famous for its “Anaheim Beer.”

On the west side of the brewery, Conrad built a park with trees, tables and benches, and a central pavilion. He called it Tivoli Gardens, and later Columbia Gardens. The park became a popular gathering place for picnicking, with people bringing their own food or buying sandwiches and beer at the brewery.

Friedrich Conrad with family and workers at Anaheim Brewery on West Broadway.

The brick brewery F. Conrad built was re-named when the Hessels took ownership.

The brick brewery F. Conrad built was re-named “Union Brewing Company” when the Hessels took ownership in 1904.

Third Owners:  The Hessel Family

In 1904, Friedrich Conrad sold his brewery.  The Hessel family lived in Los Angeles, and several of them formed a corporation:  married couple Anton & Eva Hessel, Anton’s brother, Leonard Hessel, John Bauer, a San Diego brewer, and two others.

Anaheim Gazette ad October 10, 1909

The Hessels set about modernizing the plant.  The brought in new equipment and made a show of destroying the beer made by Conrad.  They wanted to signal a change of ownership by renaming the business Union Brewing Company, but the product remained “Famous Anaheim Beer.”

If you go to the site of Union Brewing Company, you’ll notice that the small street on the west side of the site is called Hessel Street.  There’s plans to put a park there again.

Tivoli Gardens at Union Brewing Company (left to right) standing: Joseph Hessel, unidentified Hiltscher, Anton Hessel, unidentified Hiltscher, unidentified Hiltscher; (left to right) seated: unidentified Bennerscheidt, Leonard Hessel, Frank Hogle, unidentified.

As the Teetotal Movement gained ground, the Hessels tried to keep the business going.  The city of Orange had voted itself dry years earlier, yet plenty of folks still wanted to drink beer.  The Hessels even invested in a process to make non-alcoholic beer, but it didn’t sell.

The brewery closed at the beginning of National Prohibition in 1920.

Fourth Owners:  Greg and Barbara Gerovac

Flash forward to present-day Anaheim. Following tradition, the Gerovacs re-opened Anaheim Brewery closer to it’s original location.  Read about them here: https://www.anaheimbrew.com/about-us

Union Brewing Co. meets modern Anaheim Brewery. Left to right, standing Eduardo Gomez, Lupe Mota-Duran, Enrique Mota, Monica Lewis. seated Greg Gerovac, Barbara Gerovac, Jess Kelly.