A Detroit Original: Goebel Beer

Dude isn’t even trying to hide the fact that free beer is what drives his social engagements.

Stroh’s is perhaps the beer most synonymous with Detroit, but the Motor City was once home to a slew of brews. One of the more popular and longest lasting was Goebel, a beer made on the city’s east side at Rivard and Maple streets. It was brewed in Detroit from 1873 to 1964, other than during Prohibition, and was sold until 2005. August Goebel Sr. was born in Münstermaifeld Rhenish, Prussia, in 1839, and immigrated to the United States when he was 17. The story goes that he was originally headed for Chicago but ran out of money on the way, landing in Detroit.

During the Civil War, Gobel enlisted in the Union Army’s 2nd Michigan Infantry Regiment and fought at Bull Run. He rose through the ranks and became a colonel. After the war, he and partner Theodore Gorenflo founded A. Goebel & Co. in 1873. His German-style, dry, light lager was an instant hit, and by the 1880s, Goebel was already the third-largest brewery in Detroit, thanks in part to Goebel consolidating the Mann, Michenfelder, Bavarian, Andries and A. Goebel breweries that were all clustered together near Gratiot Avenue into one company.

Like most multi-building industrial complexes in Detroit, the plant would grow many times and see a number of architects employed as demand grew, and production processes changed over the years. In 1879, the company built a new facility on the eastern outskirts of downtown, at Rivard and Maple streets. The following year, the frame brew house was razed and replaced by a brick structure. In 1890, Goebel’s first expansion after the consolidation of the five breweries was to erect stables for its horses used for deliveries. In 1891, a new stockhouse and refrigeration house were built. In 1893, a new office building went up on the southwest corner of Maple and Rivard.

In April 1894, to meet growing demand for the beer, the firm Brede & Mueller began work on plans for a new brew house and wash house on the southeast corner of Maple and Rivard. The brew house was five stories high with a 115-foot tower on the corner; the building was 46 feet by 56 feet. The firm also handled renovations for the existing plant… read more >

Goebel Gold Label Beer 1940 Vintage Men’s T-Shirt

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