Phoenix Brewery W & H Pittsburgh Pa
W & H
Wood & Hughes, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Cobalt Blue Ale or Porter
Provenance: Chip Cable Collection
The Phoenix Brewery started as a small ale and porter operation in Pittsburgh that was established in 1845 by Wood & Hughes. Their initials are embossed on the reverse side of our museum bottle. Adam and Abraham Wood were brewers who most likely struck a one-time deal with Edward Hughes to have a run of bottles made to sell Phoenix Brewery products, which could have been ale, porter, stout, or even soda water.
Their brewery was described as “situated in the 5th ward Pittsburgh and bounded at the corner of Harrison and Liberty streets, and running north along liberty Street 100 feet thence by a line at right angles with Liberty Street 100 feet to Spring Alley thence in a southerly direction 100 feet thence by Harrison Street 100 feet to the place of beginning on which is erected a large brick brewery known as the Phoenix Brewery.”
Our extremely rare Phoenix Brewery bottle was found in the wall of a house in Ohio. Since it wasn’t in the ground, the condition is startling as it looks like a glassblower just made it. The consignor traded for the bottle with a collector in Wheeling, West Virginia. He had to give him all his pontiled Wheeling, Virginia medicines to get the Phoenix Brewery bottle. We understand that a second example is known of a lesser quality condition.
Adam Wood was a lifelong brewer born in England either in 1812 or 1822. The 1850 United States Federal Census notes him as 28 years old, while ten years later, the 1860 census says that he is 48 years old. The 1850 census is correct. In 1843, Adam and Abraham, likely Adam’s younger brother, were listed as brewers in Pittsburgh. Their business name in the late 1840s and 1850s was A. & A. Wood. As noted above, the “Wood & Hughes” relationship was short-lived. There is a sole listing in the 1847 Pittsburgh City Directory for Phoenix Brewery, Woods & Hughs, Harrison & 5th Ward. Edward Hughes and his wife Elizabeth both were noted as deceased in 1858.
1n the mid-1850s, Adam Wood changed the business name to the Phoenix Steam Brewery, as noted in the 1855 Pittsburgh city directory. This name persevered until 1860 when Joseph Spencer and W. H. Garrard of Spencer & Garrard took over the business. An advertisement read, “Phoenix Steam Brewery, Corner of Smallman and Wilkins street, Ninth Ward and Point Malt House and Granary, 17 Water street. Spencer and Garrard, Successors to Adam Wood, Pittsburgh, Penna. Celebrated Cream, Pale and Amber Ales, Porter and Brown Stout, Stock Ale and Porter. Warranted to keep in any climate. Orders from all parts promptly attended to. Price Lists sent by Mail. Mr. Adam Wood continues connected with the concern as Brewer and General Manager.”
The brewery changed hands again when the “New Phoenix Steam Brewery” was announced by Spencer & M’kay (Joseph Spencer and James M’kay). They retained the brewery address and said they were “Brewers, Malsters & Hop Dealers, Have Always on Hand a Superior Brand of Ales, Porter, and Brown Stout.”
Various changes in management occurred in the next few decades. In 1890, a stock company was formed known as the Phoenix or the Pittsburgh Brewing Company. At least five more bottles were produced in the ensuing years representing the Phoenix Brewery and the various owners.
Primary Image: Phoenix Brewery W & H Pittsburgh, Pa bottle imaged on location by Alan DeMaison, FOHBC Virtual Museum Midwest Studio.
Support: Reference to One Hundred Years of Brewing, H.S. Rich & Company, 1901
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