Berkshire Brewing Association History




 Brief Berkshire Brewing Association History

  In 1868 two German Immigrants Jacob Gimlich and John White purchased a small brewery from Michael Benson in Pittsfield, Massachusetts.

  The years that followed the brewery changed names a few times starting with Jacob Gimlich & John White in 1868.  In 1878 the brewery became known as Gimlich, White & Co, and in 1882 becoming just Gimlich & White. It wasn’t until 1892 that the brewery became the Berkshire Brewing Association.

  The brewery produced beers such as, Greylock Ale, Mannheimer Lager, Lenox Half Stock Ale, Berkshire Lager, Berkshire Ale, and Superior Old Porter. In addition to beer, Mineral Water, Soda, and Malt Extracts were also produced.

 The brewery was a great success producing 75,000 barrels a year and distributed all over the northeast and as far south as the Carolinas.

 The brewery closed in 1919 due to prohibition.

 All we have left from this era in brewing history are the remaining pieces of breweriana still in existence with most being over 100 years old.



Photo is a Gimlich & White glass . I seen this glass on Ebay or years ago but didn't bid because the price went over $400 at the time. I wish I had because I have never seen another since.  

"Trade Names for the brewery at 352 Columbus Avenue, Pittsfield, MA:

M. Benson 1867-1868

Jacob Gimlich & John White
 (Columbus Avenue & South John Street) 1868-1878

Gimlich, White & Co. 1878-1882

Gimlich & White (Ononta Street) 1882-1891

Berkshire Brewing Association (352 Columbus Avenue) 1891-1918

Closed in 1918" Due to Prohibition

  Business Directory of Berkshire County, Massachusetts 1884-85 by Hamilton Child  Page 296
Gimlich & White brewery, located on Railroad and Onata streets, is the largest in Western Massachusetts. In 1877 the business was started in a small way, with capacity for brewing 500 barrels per year. This business has since steadily increased, so that in 1880 they built the present large five-story brick building, 40x80 feet, which is surrounded by the necessary buildings for ice, storage, etc., having the capacity for brewing 16,000 barrels per year, giving employment to sixteen men. Mr. Gimlich represented this district in the legislature in 1883-84.

 Tuesday, February 5, 1946 The Berkshire Evening Eagle, Pittsfield, Berkshire, Massachusetts 
"25 years ago
Berkshire Brewing Association votes to brew beer no longer, but turn to soft drinks because of prohibition. Officers President David J Gimlich, vice president and secretary John A. White, treasurer George H White, directors, George H White, John A White, Karl O Cyrus, D J Gimlich. John White and Jacob Gimlich bought the plant of Michael Benson (1868). The daily output was then six barrels. The business grew to a capacity of 75,000 barrels a year. Sixty hands were employed and the product was sent to many states, including the Carolinas. The brewery, the only one within a radius of 60 miles, was a thriving industry and made its owners rich."

 Pittsfield, Berkshire, Massachusetts The Berkshire Eagle, Pittsfield, Berkshire, Massachusetts 
The Berkshire Eagle
January 5, 1976

PROHIBITION, probably the greatest do-good fiasco in history, had a sad impact on a flourishing Pittsfield industry. That was the Berkshire Brewing
Association which had a big, spread-out plant at the corner of Columbus Avenue and North John Street. When Prohibition went into effect in 1919, the brewery employed more than 100 men, and averaged 325 barrels of beer a day.

Besides the 100 employees, the firm used 10 trucks and 25 horses, before auto trucks came along, and its products were sold throughout Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, eastern New York State and south to
the Carolinas. Between 1910 and 1920, the firm paid the federal government some $1 million in taxes. Special brews were, Lenox Half Stock Ale, Greylock Ale, Mannheimer Lager and India Pale Ale.

In 1866, the firm was founded by Jacob Gimlich and John White, but not until 1868 did the plant go into operation. In 1892, the second generation of owners took over, David Gimlich and George White. They incorporated,
sold stock (the big brew house had been built in 1890) and the firm enjoyed a monopoly as the only brewery within 50 miles of Pittsfield.

After Prohibition, most of the buildings were torn down, the equipment dismantled and sold. The Siegel Furniture Co. occupied the old bottling works building, now the Warehouse Furniture Outlet, 352 Columbus Ave., owned by Irving Siegel. And this building may be torn down, too, under the Pittsfield Redevelopment Authority program.

 Thursday, January 29, 1948 The Berkshire Evening Eagle, Pittsfield, Berkshire, Massachusetts 
"Looking Backward
50 Years Ago
Gimlich & White are storing immense quantities of ice from Silver Lake. Twenty teams are drawing the cakes and 40 men are cutting and stacking."

 Tuesday, October 13, 1942 The Berkshire Evening Eagle, Pittsfield, Berkshire, Massachusetts 
"Looking Backward
50 Years Ago
Old wooden building used as brewery for many years by Gimlich & White and located in rear of newer brick brewery, torn down."

Clipping of the Then & Now Berkshire Brewing Association - Thanks to Beckie for the photo.

 Jacob Gimlich, born in Weisenheim, Bavaria, October 4, 1845, married Louisa Ellen, daughter of the late William Feige of Pittsfield...Soon after coming to Pittsfield with his father, Mr. Gimlich entered the Taconic woolen mill and learned designing, and was offered a good position in that department. He preferred, however, to enter into business with his brother-in-law, John White, and the two purchased a small brewery in which they began operations on a small scale, and now they are owners of a mammoth establishment two hundred feet long, operated under the corporate title of Berkshire Brewing Association with a capital stock of one hundred thousand dollars, and a capacity of seventy thousand barrels with a gratifying yearly increase of output."

Source: Historic homes and institutions and genealogical and personal memoirs of Berkshire County, Massachusetts, Page 282

According to Images of America Pittsfield, by Susan Eisley, Published 2001 Arcadia Publishing, page 64, "The Berkshire Brewing Association, c. 1905. Two German immigrants, Jacob Gimlich and John White, purchased a small brewery in Pittsfield in 1868. Under their guidance the business grew to produce 325 barrels of beer each day. Incorporated in 1892 under the name Berkshire Brewing Association, the brewery shipped its product all over the United States. Prohibition put it out of business in 1919."
NOTE: Some of the products produced by Berkshire Brewing Association include: Mannheimer Lager Beer, Berkshire Pure Malt Extract, Lenox Half Stock Ale, and Berkshire Pale Ale.

 1889 Pittsfield City Directory page 293, Gimlich & White Ad


Ice and Refrigeration
By Southern Ice Exchange
Published by H.S. Rich & Co., 1903

 THE BERKSHIRE BREWING ASSOCIATION, manufacturing for sale and selling, buying, &c.. all kinds of ales, soda waters, &c , Лч1. ; principal oflico, Pittslield, Massachusetts; charter issued, July t>, 1892; expires, May 1, 1942 ; corporators, Jacob Gimlich,. John White, Fred C. White, George H. White, David J. Gim- lich, all of Pittstield, Massachusetts; capital subscribed, $21,000; amount paid in, $2,100; capital authorized, 8000,000; par value shares, S100.


Session Laws
By West Virginia, Virginia
Published by , 1893

 "Gimlich & White, brewers, added 6 tanks holding 5,4000 Gallons"

Labor and Industrial Chronology of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Published by Wright & Potter Printing Co., 1901



 "Gimlich & White broke ground at Pittsfield for a new brew house, of brick, four stories high"

Annual Report on the Statistics of Manufactures ...
By Massachusetts Dept. of Labor and Industries, Massachusetts. Bureau of Statistics, Massachusetts. Bureau of Statistics of Labor
Published by , 1891



 "Gimlich & White presented each of the married men employed in their brewery with a Thanksgiving turkey"

Annual Report of the Bureau of Statistics of Labor Embracing the Account of Its Operations and Inquiries from ...
By Massachusetts, Massachusetts. Bureau of Statistics of Labor
Published by Wright & Potter Printing Co., State Printers, 1900


"July 16th. Tel. call 2.16 p. m., to dwelling house 132 Columbus Ave., owned by Gimlich & White. Cause, chimney fire. No damage"


Municipal Register of the City of Pittsfield ...: Containing City Officers and Committees, Mayor's Address, Reports of Officers and Committees, and the Receipts and Expenditures for the Fiscal Year ...
By Pittsfield (Mass.)
Published by , 1909


to the shipment, transportation and sale of intoxicating liquors ;

On the petition (with accompanying bill, House, No. 770) of Jacob Gimlich for legislation to exempt manufacturers of malt liquors from the provisions of law relative to deliveries of intoxicating liquors in no-license cities and towns


Journal of the Senate
By Massachusetts. General Court. Senate
Published by Commonwealth of Massachusetts., 1904


Twenty thousand rich New Englanders: a list of taxpayers who were assessed in 1888 to pay a tax of one hundred dollars or more
Published by Luce., 1888
Gimlich & White $651


Gimlich & White, On Railroad and Onata streets, was first established in 1877. The business has steadily increased from the beginning, and the establishment is now the largest of its kind in Western Massachusetts. In 1880, the business demanding increased facilities, the present brewery was erected. It is a five story brick structure, forty by eighty feet, with a capacity of brewing 16,000 barrels per year. About 16 men are employed.
History of Berkshire County, Massachusetts - Vol. 2 1885

 Photo Of John A. White In Civil War Uniform next to two Berkshire Brewing Association Bottles. Thanks to Guy White, The Great Great grandson Of John White For The Photo.


© 2009 BBA No Images To Be Taken Without Webmaster Consent

Make a Free Website with Yola.