Historic Beer Birthday: John Moffat

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Today is the birthday of John Moffat (May 11, 1766-July 13, 1845). Moffat was born near the town of Moffat, Scotland, in 1766, coming to America in his late twenties, in 1793. He founded one of the earliest breweries in Buffalo, New York, along with his son James, in 1833. I was unable to find a portrait of John Moffat, or much about him personally.

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According to John & Dave’s Buffalo Brewing History, John Moffat, along with his son James, acquired what was Buffalo’s second brewery and named it the Moffat Brewery.

Kane, Peacock and Relay brewery was short lived however and a 1909 article in the Buffalo Evening Times indicates John Moffat and his son James purchased the brewing operation around 1833. Also, the 1836 Buffalo City Directory lists Moffat as a brewer at that location. The 1839 Directory lists James Moffat & Co. as a “Brewery, Soap and Candle Factory”. The Moffat Brewery continued in operation until son James died and it was sold to Arthur Fox and became the Fox and Williams Brewery. In 1876 it was sold back to the Moffat family and continued in operation at the same location until the advent of Prohibition forced their closure in 1920. After Prohibition the Phoenix Brewery continued brewing “Moffats Pale Ale” through an agreement with the Moffat family.

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And here’s an account from “Buffalo Beer: The History of Brewing in the Nickel City,” by Michael F. Rizzo and Ethan Cox.

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And “History of the City of Buffalo and Erie County, Volume 2,” published in 1884, has this to say about Buffalo’s earliest brewers, including Moffat:

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