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Historic Beer Birthday: Jackson Koehler

Today is the birthday of Jackson Koehler (October 8, 1850-December 22, 1903). The Eagle Brewery, in Erie, Pennsylvania, was built in 1855, but in 1883 it was purchased by Jackson Koehler, who renamed it the Jackson Koehler Eagle Brewery. In 1899, it became a branch of The Erie Brewing Company, which weathered Prohibition, reopening in 1933 and remaining in business until finally closing in 1978.

This is not a picture of Jackson Koehler, I could not find one of him. This is local actor Gordon Crandall, who the brewery hired to play “Uncle Jackson” in the 1960s.

This biography is from “Nelson’s Biographical Dictionary and Historical Reference Book of Erie.” In this account, they give his birth year as 1851, but his headstone clearly lists 1850, so I think that’s the one to go with.

The site of the Jackson Koehler Eagle Brewery is on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places. Here’s the Wikipedia entry:

Jackson Koehler Eagle Brewery was a historic brewery complex located at Erie, Erie County, Pennsylvania. The original section constructed in 1891 consisted of the brewhouse with grain tower, racking room, filter room, and keg wash room. Later additions include the storage cellar, keg receiving and storage rooms (1933, later demolished), and rathskeller (1936). The complex was constructed of brick, with Germanesque-Teutonic-style influences. A brewery was sited here as early as 1855. The Eagle Brewery merged into the Erie Brewing Company in 1899. The Erie Brewing Company closed in 1978. It was demolished in 2006.

It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.

Inside the Rathskeller, built in 1936.

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