Mink Building as it is now called was originally known as the Bernheimer & Schwartz Pilsener Brewing Company building in the “Manhattanville Factory District.” of Harlem, NY.
The brewers chose the site of the former Yuengling Brewery, widely recognized as the oldest brewery in America, which was founded in Pottsville, Pennsylvania in 1829.
The Yuengling Brewery opened in this New York City location in 1876, when there was plenty of land to use in this part of Manhattan.
Harlem community board Brad Taylor said, “In 1879 there were 79 breweries in Manhattan and in 1898 New York produced more barrels of beer than any other city,” he said quoting from a previous LPC study
The brewery included a stable with room for one hundred horses, a swimming pool, and large lofts for entertaining. David Yuengling’s Brewery enjoyed initial success, and an 1885 article in the New York Times gave the plant a rave review.
Lew Bryson writes that “in the Archives at the Library of Virginia in Richmond), I found out some stuff I didn’t know about Yuengling today. Take a look at this entry in “Out of the Box,” the Archives blog. It’s a letter to Virginia governor James L. Kemper from David G. Yuengling Jr. — yes, he’s that Yuengling, the founder — dated Sept. 28th, 1874. In it, Yuengling in true Harlem style says he is sending the governor
“one bbl. of old stout in bottles this has been brewed three years ago and considered the Best. Should you find it to [sic] strong[,] add water to suit your taste, and it will be a delicious stimulant. Hope it will do you good.”
Pleasantries out of the way, Yuengling moves on to business; the progress of the C&O Railroad.
But the interesting thing is the letterhead: the Ryerson and Yuengling Champagne Ale Brewery, Harlem, NY. The archives blog says: “It was the junior Yuengling [David’s son] who oversaw the construction of a new brewery in Richmond in 1866. Located at 912 East Main Street, the brewery became known as the James River Steam Brewery and was later sold to the Richmond Cedar Works in 1878. Yuengling’s letter does not originate from Richmond, but instead from Harlem, on Ryerson & Yuengling, Champagne Ale Brewery stationary.”
On August 7, 1903 the New York Tribune reported on the sale of the J. F. Betz Brewery, “which is considered one of the best brewery plants in equipment and one of the largest in size in this country.”
It was not long, however, before Yuengling’s management decided to consolidate the company in Pennsylvania and sold the Manhattanville site to the Bernheimer & Schwartz Pilsener Brewing Company in 1903.