The William Ulmer Brewery Complex in Bushwick, Brooklyn is now a historical site, placed under the aegis of the Landmarks Preservation Commission. “The Ulmer plant is a remarkably intact reminder of one of Brooklyn’s most important industries,” said Commission Chairman Robert Tierney. “It’s also one of many examples of New York City’s rich industrial past.”
Founded by German immigrant William Ulmer in the late 19th century, his brewery was at the vanguard of 45 breweries that were pumping out the suds in the borough. In fact, beer was one of Brooklyn’s leading commodities at the time (a leader in the industry) and the Ulmer Brewery accounted for 10% of America’s beer consumption; the brewery’s output was approximately 3.2-million gallons a year in the early 20th century. By situating his brewery on Belvidere Street between Broadway and Beaver Street, close to a rich water supply and sufficient rail and water transportation, Ulmer gave himself an edge over the local competition.
According to the Brownstoner, the four sections of the Ulmer Brewery were constructed between 1872 and 1890 in the German round-arch style; but the two-story office building (header photo), designed by Theobald Engelhardt in Romanesque Revival, is considered to be the “gem” of the complex. “If it’s the first brewery in the city of New York to become a landmark, it’s appropriate that it’s in Brooklyn,” said Frederick Bland, a member of the LPC board. “This is an extraordinary building.”
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