I’m not sure what my fascination with spelunking is, apart from enjoying it as a kid, but the number of brewery caves certainly adds a new dimension of interest. Last year, my post Brewery Caves dipped its toe into the subject, and recently I noticed there’s even more out there about it. For example, the James River Steam Brewery in Richmond, Virginia was built in 1886, right along the bank of the titular James River. The brewery also included a brewery cave and remnants of it can still be seen. The brewery only lasted thirteen years, closing in 1879, falling prey to a post-civil war depression “caused by the railroad credit crisis.” Interestingly, it was “was founded by David G. Yuengling Jr., son of the founder of the D.G. Yuengling and Son Brewery in Pottsville, Pennsylvania.” Earlier this month, the site of the James River Steam Brewery was added to the register of historic places, meaning at some point it may be open to visit or perhaps a museum will be built around it. Drinks Business has more on the story.
Perhaps more interesting is that the British publication Brewery History devoted an entire issue to American brewery architecture. It’s the current issue and you can order a copy from the website. Issue 155 contains five articles spanning lagering caves, preeminent architects and the redevelopment of redundant breweries. To get a flavor for the issue, you can download a pdf of the Introduction by guest editor Susan K. Appel. The other articles include “Stahlmann’s Cellars: a large American lagering cave from the 19th-century,” and “An examination of the Lemp Brewery Cave.” See the Table of Contents for a full list of the articles.