The 1903 Bernheimer & Schwartz Brewery — Amsterdam Avenue and 128th Street


On August 7, 1903 the New York Tribune reported on the sale of the J. F. Betz Brewery, “which is considered one of the best brewery plants in equipment and one of the largest in size in this country.”


The old brewery was established in 1876 as the Yuengling Brewery.  The New York Times noted that “The establishment, whose structures make up a small town…now has equipment which comprises all the latest ideas in brewing science.”   It drew its pure water from artesian wells on the property which the newspaper said were “of unlimited capacity.”


While the Betz Brewery was operating, so was the Lion Brewery, owned by Max E. Bernheimer and his brother Simon, along with partners August Schmid and Anton Schwartz.  Like the Betz Brewery, the Lion was extremely successful.


With the death of August Schmid in 1889, his share of the business went to his ambitious widow.  Josephine Schmid had exceptional business sense and was cunning, shrewd and greedy.  By 1901 the business relationship with her partners had become so argumentative and unworkable that she bought them out for $1.4 million, leaving the Bernheimer brothers and Schwartz without a brewery.


The men purchased the old Betz operation for $850,000.  But if anyone expected a beer war between Josephine and her former partners, the men crushed the idea.  Max Bernheimer told the press “We have no such intention.  According to the agreement with Mrs. Schmid there is no clause prohibiting us from going into the brewery business again.  We do not intend to fight the Lion Brewery or any other brewery.”


Apparently working for Josephine Schmid had was a problem for the workers as well, and The Times remarked that “some of the most valued employees of the concern will be associated with Bernheimer & Schwartz.”


Although the Betz buildings were apparently operational; the new Bernheimer & Schwartz Brewery would have all new ones.  The management commissioned architect Louis Oberlein to design the complex, centering around a main five-story red brick building.  The plant was demolished, and two years later in 1903 the new brewery was completed.

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Bernheim and Schwartz Hall
5 stars
2911 Broadway New York, NY 10037

Phone: (212) 335-2911

Opening Hours:
Mon-Tue: 12:00 pm - 11:30 pm
Wed & Thu: 12:00 pm - 12:30 am
Fri & Sat: 12:00 pm - 1:00 am
Sun: 12:00 pm - 11:30 pm


Price Range: $$

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