Digital Commonwealth

Boston Brewery Posters

Boston Public Library

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Boston, in the early 1900s, was home to 31 breweries. There were 24 breweries in Roxbury and Jamaica Plain and all were located in the vicinity of Columbus Avenue, Heath, and Armory Streets. The abundant water supply from the aquifer along the Stony Brook, artesian wells around Mission Hill, and the relatively inexpensive land after the City of Roxbury merged with Boston in 1868, led to this thriving industry. These conditions, combined with the demand for the new German type Lager beers, drove the expansion of the industry.

Prohibition in 1919 brought an abrupt stop to beer making and the breweries went idle. After the repeal of Prohibition in 1933, there was a short period of growth by the few breweries that reopened, but they could not compete with the large national breweries. Today, many of the old main brewing buildings are gone but they remain preserved in the collection of brewery advertising posters held in the Boston Public Library's Print Department.