|THE CONSUMERS' BREWING COMPANY
In 1893, a business was begun known as the
Brewing Company. Incorporated in West Virginia to take
advantage of the limited regulations in that state, Consumers'
set up shop in Lowell, Massachusetts. The men who organized
the company were from around the region. Lowellian John H.
Coffey, one of the primary organizers, owned a provisions
shop in the city's Acre neighborhood with his two brothers.
Another important organizer was John J. Joyce of Lawrence
who ran an important bottling establishment in that city with
Maurice J. Curran. The stockholders of the brewery hailed
from all parts of New England and New York and elected
Joyce as company president and Coffey as secretary and
The site chosen for brewing operations was
for the company's needs. A 12 acre parcel was purchased
from the estate of Sylvanus Bartlett along Plain and Payton
Streets in the Ayer's City section of Lowell. The land was not
only adjacent to the main line of the New York, New Haven
and Hartford Railroad, it was also, more importantly, the
location of an excellent fresh water well field. The brewing
plant included a lager production and storage house, a similar
ale house, a bottling department, an office building, a boiler
house, horse stables, a cooper shop and other structures.
Over $250,000 was expended to build the plant
the purchase of the best brewing equipment available. The
company also paid high salaries to recruit top brewery experts.
Consumers' first brewmaster was Louis Wentzler who
previously worked for the Pabst Company of Milwaukee,
Wisconsin, at that time the second largest brewery in the nation.
The first batch of Consumers' brew was made in April of 1894
and, after aging, was ready for the market in June. When
Consumers' was finally prepared to start business, the
company's employees and stockholders held a formal opening
with entertainment provided by Hibbard's Orchestra, lots of
German and American food and, of course, complimentary lager beer.