Historic Beer Birthday: Henry H. Rueter

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Today is the birthday of Henry Hermann Rueter (December 9, 1832-November 27, 1899). He was born in Westphalia, Germany, but moved to Boston, Massachusetts. In 1867, along with Irishman John R. Alley, founded the Highland Spring Brewery. By 1885, they had moved to Heath & 165 Terrace Streets, but was known after that as Rueter & Co., Inc., although their trade name continued to be the Highland Spring Brewery. After prohibition ended, they were known as the The Croft Brewing Co., but in 1952 were bought by the Narragansett Brewing Co., who closed them for good the following year.

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Here is a biography from the Boston Landmarks Commission when the property where the brewery was located applied for historic status, researched by Angelica Coleman and Marcia Butman:

Henry Rueter was born in 1832 I the province of Westphalia, Germany. He immigrated to the US in 1851 and after a short stay in New York came to Boston and worked for the Roxbury brewer G. F Burkhardt. With John D. Alley he established Highland Springs Brewery. After Alley withdrew to form his own company, the firm reorganized as Rueter and Co. After Rueter’s death (1899) his sons retained control of the company.

Another source discusses the family background. “The family was founded in this country by the late Henry H. Rueter, who came to Boston in 1831, at 18, from Gutersloh, Westphalia, his birthplace. He was of honorable ancestry, uniting the blood of the Rueters and the Von Eickens.”

Henry-Rueter

From “The Men of Boston and New England, The Boston American,” 1913

Henry H. Rueter founded the Highland Spring Brewery in 1869, and in three years had made it the largest brewery in the United States and today it still maintains its place as the greatest ale brewery of America.

The present head of the family is Henry A. Rueter, born in Boston, educated in Germany, and now in his fifty-fourth year. He is president of Rueter & Company; and of its affiliated lager beer interest the A J. Houghton Companv; and is a director in the National Rockland Bank, the American Trust Co., the Roxbury Institution for Savings, and the Mass. Bonding and Ins. Co. He was one of the incorporators ot the Mass. Automobile Club, and has served it in various capacities. The Country Club and the Algonquin Club count him among their members as does the Boston Chamber of Commerce. Mrs. Rueter was Miss Bertha Glover, only daughter of the late William H. Glover of Rockland, Me. They have two children,-William G. Rueter, now in his final year at Harvard, and Miss Martha Von Eicken Rueter.

A graduate of Harvard, and later a student at Boston Univ. Law School and Bonn University, Germany, Conrad J. Rueter is a recognized authority on the technical and practical application of the liquor law. He has served his city for upwards of seventeen years as trustee of the Boston City Hospital having been reappointed in 1913 for another five vear term. He belongs to the Boston Art Club, the Puritan Club, and the Harvard Club; and is a member of the Liederkrantz Club of New York. In his fiftieth year, his pleasure in outdoor sport is evidenced bv his membership in the Mass. Automobile Club, the Brae Burn Country Club and the Wollaston Golf Club Mrs. Conrad J. Rueter was Miss Ramseyer. There is one son.-John Conrad Rueter.

At the head of the sales staff is Frederick T. Rueter. and the brewing department itself is in direct charge of Ernest L Rueter. youngest of the four brothers, as general manager and master-brewer. Both names appear on the rolls of the Boston Athletic Assn. Ernest L. Rueter is also a member of the Country Club. Frederick T. Rueter is unmarried. Mrs. Ernest L. Rueter was Miss Myra Chevalier, and there is one daughter-Miss Jeanette.

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And here’s another short history of the brewery from the Wikipedia page about the Highland Spring Brewery Bottling and Storage Buildings:

The Highland Spring Brewery was founded in 1867 by a pair of immigrants, one Irish and the other German. The enterprise was a significant success, producing lagers, ales, and porters, and eventually gaining a nationwide reputation. In part for legal reasons, the two buildings built by the company (one for production, the other for storage and bottling) were connected by a tunnel and piping. The brewer ceased operations when Prohibition began in 1920. One of the company’s brewmasters opened the Croft Brewery in the 1892 building in 1933 after Prohibition ended, the storage building having been sold to the Ditson Company and significantly altered for its use. Croft was acquired by Narragansett Brewing Company in the 1952, and operated on the premises for just one year before closing the plant and moving production to their Rhode Island Brewery until 1981 when it too closed.

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The Highland Spring Brewery around 1920.

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