Historic Beer Birthday: William Ebling

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Today is the birthday of William Ebling (March 18, 1828-January 25, 1922). Along with his brother Phillip, he founded and owned the Ebling Brewing Co., which was known by several different names during its life from 1868 to 1950, including the Philip Ebling & Bro. Wm., Aurora Park Brewery, Ph. & Wm. Ebling Brewing Co. and Ebling Brewing Co., which was its name almost the entirety of the 20th century, both before and after prohibition.

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There’s not much I could find specifically about William Ebling, and no photos or portraits. From what I can piece together, he was born in Hessen, Germany and emigrated to the U.S. in 1855, arriving December 19 of that year. Initially he worked as a vinegar merchant and married his wife, Phoebe, around 1863, but by 1868 was brewing lager beer with his brother.

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Two Ebling brewery workers posing with a keg branding device, from an unknown date.

The brewery apparently aged some of their beer in Bronx caves, and for some of their beers, like Special Brew, whose label boasts that the beer was “aged in natural rock caves.” Which sounds crazy, but in 2009, road construction crews in the Melrose section of the Bronx found the old caves, which was detailed by Edible Geography in Bronx Beer Caves.

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An Ebling beer truck on 61st Street in New York in 1938.

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A 1908 calendar from the brewery.

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