Bier Hier!: Early breweries of Lindenhurst
Beer has played a prominent role in German culture for centuries. Bavarian native John Feller was not the first Breslau brewer, but became well-known. He is pictured below with his family at their East John Street residence (the current site of St. John’s Lutheran Church), in 1895. In 1881, Feller enlarged his establishment, and the
South Side Signal proclaimed, “Feller’s lager beer has already quite a reputation and his new vaults will enable him to brew an article which even the fastidious will praise”.
Except for “a few articles of furniture and a small quantity of beer”, as reported in the Signal, Feller’s original home and brewery was destroyed by fire on June 2, 1883. The foundation for his new residence and brewery started within a few weeks. An 1887 advertisement peddles, “John Feller, Breslau, L.I. – Brewer and Bottler of A 1 Lager Beer – Hotels and families supplied with fresh-bottled lager on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.”
Around 1908, Joseph Hastreiter acquired Feller’s brewery, which was later purchased by Otto F. Eichhammer, pictured in below 1915. Eichhammer learned the brewing trade in Germany and often bought distressed taverns, fixed them up, and sold them for profit. His granddaughter, Johanna Sandy, recalled that Otto and his daughter, Johanna, came to Lindenhurst from Brooklyn by horse and wagon after reading in a German newspaper that the brewery was for sale.
Eichhammer’s front house welcomed guests and had rooms for rent, with the brewery in the back. Otto F. Eichhammer is behind the bar below. Otto’s daughter, Johanna, learned the family business and married brewery employee Frank X. Graser. After prohibition forced the brewery to close, Otto Eichhammer purchased Otto Kreuger’s Wellwood Avenue farm, near the present library.
Once prohibition ended in 1933, the Eichhammer brewery business was revived as Linden Brewery on Montauk Highway at the corner of Lincoln Avenue in 1934, not by Otto but by his daughter Johanna and son-in-law Frank Graser. Ground was broken for the new brewery building on October 7, 1933. Original production was 30,000 barrels per year which eventually doubled. The brew master was Mike Rief and the plant had 65 employees.
At its peak, Linden Brewery produced 60,000 barrels per year and was known for making a variety of high-quality beers, including lager, ale, porter, culmbacher (dark lager) and seasonal bock.
Among the early brand names were American Culmbacher, Linden Beer Dark, Linden Beer Light, Linden Sparkling Ale, Linden Still Ale, Linden Stock Ale and Linden Stock Porter. These were later joined by Colonial Beer, Linden Ale and Linden Beer. The bottle pictured below comes from the time the business was run by the original owner, John Feller. On the right is a promotional coaster. The logo represents a linden tree.
Below is a 1934 Mack model BM delivery truck owned by Linden Brewery:
Due to financial pressures brought on by the Great Depression, the brewery decided not to install bottling facilities. This put Linden Brewery at a competitive disadvantage to larger breweries in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and it was sold in 1947 to Thomas Fatato, a beer distributor from Brooklyn who had bottled in Brooklyn under the Linden name, but ultimately closed in 1949. The below photo from 1945 shows Linden Brewery on the north side of Montauk Highway, with Barnacle Bill’s restaurant at the right side of the photo (in a building that currently houses Hurricane Grill) and Karl Tank Marina on the south side. The beautiful art deco style main brewery building still stands today in use by a commercial printing company.
Below is a rare calendar from 1943 advertising the brewery with some very nice artwork:
Below are photos of some highly collectible vintage brewery promotional items, including these trays:
And these coasters:
And these coasters:
And this advertising plaque with promotional mug: