Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Other Straub of Pennsylvania

When we think of Straub we think of St. Marys, Pennsylvania. After all who doesn’t know of Straub’s beer? But in Pittsburgh’s history there was another Straub named John. Both Peter and John came to America from Germany but were not related other than by name. Peter from Baden-W├╝rttemberg and John from Hesse-Darmstadt in the Grand Duchy of Hesse by Rhine. John Straub landed in America on July 4, 1831. Talk about a day to remember.


It is said the Peter Straub worked for the Eberhardt & Ober Brewery on what is now Pittsburgh’s North Side. In the 1800’s it was Allegheny City. It is also said that Peter work under John Straub. Facts: They were note related. Fact: er, no, Peter most likely worked for John Straub at the Canal Street brewery. Peter was in St. Marys in the 1870’s and E&O did not buy John’s brewery until 1883. Whilst in Allegheny County Peter Straub worked in McKeesport and then moved to Brookville and Centerville. But then a brewer’s daughter, Sabina Sorg caught his eye and the rest is history.


John Straub came to America and essentially walked to Pittsburgh from Baltimore. He lived in the area near Ross Street and was befriended by a tailor who gave him start-up money to open a brewery. Straub opened in 1834 at Third Avenue at Market Square, then called Diamond Square. John moved from Pittsburgh to Allegheny in 1843 and built a brewery at South Canal Street adjacent to the Pennsylvania Canal that opened in 1834.


John is not listed in the list of Pittsburgh Firsts but should be. In 1849 he sent an order to Philadelphia for something new to America; lager yeast. It came via canal boat and in 1850 John Straub brewed Pittsburgh’s first lager beer.


John’s brewery burned in 1858 and as his insurance expired the day before he was out of business but re-built. The Eberhardt & Ober Brewery bought him out in 1883.


John’s son, Henry went into the brewing business. In 1882 he bought the Union Brewery in Bloomfield from John Gangwisch. There were strong connections between the Gangwisch and Straub families. Two of the Gangwisch boys alone with J. Straub bought the old Depple brewery in Manchester.   


In 1899 the Pittsburgh Brewing Company formed and acquired a number of breweries in Pittsburgh. One on the list was Straub’s Union Brewery in Bloomfield. After 1920 the name Straub was never used in Pittsburgh until Peter’s brews came to town. His brewery continues to thrive to this day. The Henry Straub Brewery closed in 1920 and Pittsburgh Brewing converted the facility to the Tech Ice Cream factory.


P.S., don't ask me how/why this plopped in here with such big gaps. I have no idea how this works.