Tag: Breweries

  • Fort Pitt Brewery, Sharpsburg

    Inscription: Fort Pitt Brewing Co.
    Fort Pitt Brewery

    Fort Pitt was the biggest beer brand in Pennsylvania in 1952. Then there was a big brewery strike, which affected the big three in Pittsburgh—Fort Pitt, Duquesne, and Iron City. When the strike ended, Fort Pitt rushed to be the first back on the market by shipping the past-its-prime beer that had been sitting around in its warehouse. Drinkers could tell. People with functioning olfactory senses in the vicinity of the drinkers could tell. The famous slogan “Fort Pitt—That’s It” was passed around with a slurred sibilant, and the brand declined precipitously.

    Slogan: Fort Pitt—That’s It

    Pittsburghers of an older generation still have this slogan on their lips, using it to mean “I’m done with this.”

    As you can see, the brewery still stands in Sharpsburg. Much of it has been turned into apartments; one of the buildings now houses the Hitchhiker Brewing Co.

    Hitchhiker Brewing Co.

    The office is a fine example of late Art Deco.


    The Blockhouse was an obvious choice for an emblem.

    Composite view
  • Duquesne Brewery, South Side

    Duquesne Brewery

    This started out as a fine Romanesque design for an industrial building; it sprouted more and more haphazard additions, and became something more like a European castle with its layers of contradictory history. Today, after an adventurous history of abandonment and adaptation, it is called “The Brew House” and is filled with lofts and artists’ studios.

    Brew House
    Duquesne Brewery
  • Duquesne Brewery Clock Illuminated

  • Duquesne Brewery Clock

    Duquesne Brewery Clock

    It is difficult to convey a sense of the scale of this enormous clock, but seeing it looming behind the rowhouses of 21st Street gives us some idea.

  • Duquesne Brewery in Evening Light

    Duquesne Brewery

    The Duquesne Brewery mushroomed into a titanic operation after the Second World War, and then rapidly collapsed in the 1960s and was gone by the 1970s. At its peak it took up three blocks on the South Side, and of course it was famous for the largest clock in the world. This 1899 building, the center of the empire, was abandoned for some time, then taken over by artist squatters, and finally, as the Brew House, became lofts and studios. It is an architectural curiosity, added to over the course of the brewery’s history with some regard for consistent style but no regard at all for symmetry.

  • Duquesne Brewery

    In the late 1970s, artists began to take over the vacant Duquesne Brewery. Now (after many battles over ownership) it has been renovated as artists’ lofts and studios.

  • Eberhardt & Ober Brewery, Dutchtown

    Eberhardt & Ober was one of Pittsburgh’s favorite beers for many years—E & O, for “Early and Often,” as the advertisements put it. (What a cheery slogan—and yet one that would probably not be tolerated today.) The building is a fine example of German-American brewery architecture.

    Mr. Eberhardt and Mr. Ober were not only business partners, but also friends for life—and even beyond life.

    Though Eberhardt & Ober conscientiously brewed beer to the strict German standards of purity, the beer that comes out of this building now is probably better than anything E & O ever produced. This is now the home of the Penn Brewery, which—in addition to making some very good beer—operates a restaurant serving the kind of German food that makes beer sing.

    The buildings you see here are on Vinial Street, which is the arbitrary dividing line on city planning maps between East Allegheny and Troy Hill. No sane Pittsburgher would call this Troy Hill, though, or say that the brewery is in a different neighborhood from the bottling plant a few yards across the street. By any reasonable standard, the brewery is in Dutchtown—which, fortunately, is not an official neighborhood name, and so can have any arbitrary boundaries common usage would like to assign to it.

    Addendum: The architect of the buildings was Joseph Stillburg, one of our most successful mid-Victorian architects. Many of his buildings are gone, but his influence on Pittsburgh architecture was huge. Teenage Frederick Osterling worked in Stillburg’s office, where he would have seen firsthand how to manage the kind of large architectural operation that his own practice later became.