F & M Schaefer Brewing Co
Business Type: Brewery (NY 490 b-g & NY 145)
Years of Operation: 1842 to 1976 (location changed to Brooklyn 1916 to 1976)
Location: Park Avenue between 50th & 52nd Street, Manhattan (430 Kent Avenue in Brooklyn 1916 to 1976)
Description: F & M Schaefer Brewing Co. was the longest operating and perhaps most famous brewery of all NYC establishments. The company was started by two brothers from Germany, Frederick & Maximilian Schaefer. Frederick moved to the U.S. in 1838 and upon setting in NYC he began working for a small brewery on Broadway owned by Sebastian Sommers. One year later Maximilian Schaefer also left Germany to join his brother in America. According to The Breweries of Brooklyn (Anderson, 1976) “He (Maximilian) arrived in June of 1839 and brought with him the formula for lager, a type of beer popular in Germany but unheard of in the United States”. Once reunited, the brothers spent the next few years of gaining experience and saving money until 1842 when they were able to purchase Sommers brewery. The Schafer Brother’s “new” lager beer quickly became popular and by 1845 they were able to expand to a bigger location on 7th Ave. By 1849 The F & M Schaefer Brewery once again needed to expand and moved to a much larger location on Park Ave. & 51st St. where they would remain until 1916 when a final location change to Brooklyn occurred. The Schaefer brewery would continue to grow into a nationwide brand and develop even greater momentum after prohibition (producing over 2 million barrels by 1944). By 1976 a decision was made to close the Brooklyn location in favor of focusing on much larger modernized plants in Baltimore and Pennsylvania. By this time F & M Schaefer was the last remaining brewery in all of NYC, by 1977 there was not a single brewery left in the city.