Heritage \ Writings \ Industry: Lumbering

Phoenix Brewing Company
Arbor Street, Bay City

1905 History. (Added Aug., 2009)

History of Bay County, Michigan, by Augustus H. Gansser - 1905


Page 644.

The beginning of the business, which through many changes has developed into the great industry known as the Phoenix Brewing Company, goes as far back as 1865, when John Rosa established a primitive brewery upon the establishment's present site, and operated it for about 10 years. He then took in Andrew Fink as a partner and the firm name became the West Bay City Brewing Company. Mr. Fink remained four years and then John Kohler and Jacob Knoblauch became proprietors and the business was continued under the same name. They conducted it from 1882 until 1896, when the brewery was destroyed by fire. In 1898 the Phoenix Brewing Company was organized and it bought the property. The plant consists of a four-story brick building, soot house, one racking room and one wash house 34 by 90 feet; boiler room, with two boilers, each having 100 degress high pressure and a bottling department with dimensions of 80 by 32 feet. The capacity of the plant is 25,000 barrels a year. A large quantity of export and keg beer goes north. Six teams are in constant requisition. The business is one of the propering ones of Bay City, West Side, and it is back by plenty of capital. The president of the Company is Frank H. Mohr, Louis Hine is secretary and manager and Julius Kaiser is vice-president and superintendent. Mr. Kaiser has full charge of oversight of the manufacture of the product, his practical knowledge of all the details of brewing making his service very efficient and insuring the uniform grade of the goods as well as their healthfull purity.

1920 Advertisement. (Added Aug., 2009)

Tobacconists' Adverstising, 1920.

It's pretty sight which the thirsty and over-heated enjoy most when putting the foaming vision out of sight. By common consent Phoenix High Grade Beer is the best summer beverage to be had at any price. It can be drank without harm, cools at once without heating afterwards, is a healthful stimulant for the system, and is the daily medicine for crowds who are never ill.
-- Phoneix Brewing Co., West Bay City, Mich.

1940: Newspaper article. (Donated by Stroemer family, May, 2005)

The Bay City Times - 1940



One of Bay City’s oldest business firms in point of years and one which has always been operated by the “golden rule”, which probably in a large measure accounts for its successful manipulation for 72 years, is the Phoenix Brewing Co., owned by Hans Behrens. Associated with him are his two sons, Erwin and Jack, and his son-in-law, Emmons Reigel.

Located on Arbor avenue, near Main street, the Phoenix Brewing Co. today boasts the finest small brewery in the state of Michigan and one that is always picked as a model of efficiency both in cleanliness and operation by the State Liquor Control Commission.

The use of only the finest ingredients, together with a policy of always keeping in the lead in the use of modern methods and machinery to improve manufacture and production, has brought the Phoenix plant to the forefront in brewery circles, a fact of which Mr. Behrens is justly proud.

Established in 1868 as the Knoblaugh Brewing Co., the firm later changed its name to the West Bay City Brewing Co. and operated successfully until 1898, when it was completely destroyed by fire. From that fire came the present name of the company, “Phoenix”, meaning “arising from the ashes”.

Mr. Behrens came to the company as brewmaster in 1910, after the death of Julius Kaiser, who had held the same position up to the time of the his death. Educated in the old German methods of brewing, Mr. Behrens made a success of the Phoenix product from the start, until today it ranks at the top, not only locally, but throughout this section of the state.

J. F. Bromfield & Sons are sole distributors for Phoenix beer in this territory, operating several trucks to care for the growing business.

Relate Notes & Pages

(Click to enlarge.)
Photo caption:
Long past the memory of Bay City’s present day generation, the Phoenix Brewing Co. has been operating on the west side of the Saginaw river. It was in 1868 – 72 years ago – that the predecessor of the present company first established itself locally, and through the principles of sound business inculcated in those early days, today and the business is one of the largest in this part of Michigan, with an enormous output daily. Hans Behrens and his sons are responsible for the present success of the company.
Related Pages:
Hine, Louis
Kaiser, Julius
Mohr, Frank H.
People Referenced
Behrens, Erwin
Behrens, Hans
Behrens, Jack
Fink, Andrew
Hine, Louis
Kaiser, Julius
Kohler, John
Knoblauch, Jacob
Mohr, Frank H.
Reigel, Emmons
Rosa, John
Subjects Referenced
J.F. Bromfield & Sons
Knoblaugh Brewing Co.
Phoenix Brewing Co.
West Bay City Brewing Co.
WRITINGS: History As It Was Written Then.