Ballantine Timeline- Repeal





































1933 April- Volstead Act amended, legalizing "3.2" beer in many states. 

Dec. 21st Amendment, repeals Prohibition.  "Full Strength" beer becomes legal.

1933 - May, Otto and Carl Badenhausen complete purchase of P. Ballantine and Sons, for $1 million ($400,000 in cash, $600,000 mortgage).  Investors put up $1m for improvements to brewery.

December - First brewing done under new ownership.

19342/5 "Ballantine Again Making Beer. The Peter Ballantine & Sons brewery at 57 Freeman St. est. here in 1840, has resumed making ale and beer, employing  150 employees.  The brewery survived Prohibition by making malt products, which will be continued..." according to NY Times.   

Partial year's sales- 275,000 barrels. 

 Sample retail prices- $3 a case for Ballantine Ale (Syracuse), $2.75  in Fitchburg, MA.

First  Ballantine Burton Ale brewed- May  12.

Ales brewed by US breweries said to make up 15-20% of all malt beverage production in the immediate post-Repeal era.

 1935 - First full year of production, total of 650,000  barrels (75% ale). Announces Xmas bonus of 12.5% for salaried employees.

1936 - Brews over 1 million barrels.

Sues Genesee for their use of  "copper colored" beer cans.

1937 Ballantine is the first brewer to adopt Continental Can's 32 oz. spout top can, dubbling it the "Bumper".

October - Ballantine Distributors meeting at Newark Athletic Club - attended by representatives from "more than 500 distributors from fourteen states".  Badenhausen claims it was the largest such meeting in the industry since before Prohibiton.

1937-38 Fiscal year Sept. '37 - Sept. '38 - 1,100,095 bbl., 50% shipped out of state (NLRB) .

1938 - 1,300,000 barrels of beer -76% "light ale". #5 brewer in the US, after Anheuser-Busch, Pabst, Schlitz and Jacob Ruppert.  Approximately 650 breweries in the US, A-B at #1 has less than 4% of the total market, with sales of around 1.8m bbl.

1940 – sixth consecutive Xmas bonus announced, 15% of salary including those salaried employees in the Army.

1942 - Brews over 2 million barrels.

1940's - Carl Badenhausen is Chairman of the United Brewers Industrial Foundation  (forerunner of today's Beer Institute- the industry group of the "big" US breweries).

Ballantine one of the pioneering breweries in creating the "six pack"- previously most beer had been sold by the bottle or the case.

1943 – June,  Ballantine buys stock in Christian Feigenspan Brewing Co. (located a block away from P. Ballantine & Sons) from president  Wm. B. Reilly for a total of 50%.  

July- buys more stock to gain control of CFBC. 

Nov. - Despite the claim in July that the “Feigenspan and PON brands will not be disturbed”, P. Ballantine & Sons announces that:

"On November 1, all P.O.N. are to be discontinued.  Thereafter the Feigenspan facilities are to be joined with those of the Ballantine brewery in the production of Ballantine Ale and Beer exclusively."

1944  - FTC charges that the Feigenspan purchase violates the Clayton Act.

1945 - Pabst buys local Hoffman Brewing Co. in Newark, and Anheuser-Busch buys land  near Newark Airport for a future brewery (completed in 1951), which will make Newark the largest "beer making center" in the United States.

Schlitz will buy a Brooklyn brewery in 1948, so P. Ballantine and Sons would enter the 1950's surrounded by facilities of the 3 largest national brewers

1946 - Brews over 3 million barrels.

Second and final batch of Ballantine Burton Ale brewed, March 12.

April 22 Strike, 900 member of  Beer Bottlers and Beer Drivers Union.  John J.Quillan, president, AFL local 843.  3500 brewery workers total affected in Newark.

Law School moves into former Ballantine residence at 37 Washington St. 

1947  BELOW] The four +3 million barrel brewers, Ballantine nearly tied with Pabst and ahead of Anheuser Busch. 4m bbl. was 5% of the US beer market at the time.

USBF's Brewers Almanac claims ale (including porter and stout) is 9% of the US market- 7,900,000 barrels out of a total 87 million bbl.

Addresses in offical ATF publication - since Ballantine was techincally still running two breweries, Ballantine & the former Feigenspan at 57 Freeman.

1948- - Brews over 4 million barrels.  Ballantine tied with Pabst as the # 2 brewing company in the US.

Oct. 20 NYC brewery  strike, PBS AFL drivers refuse to cross CIO strikers’ line at George Washington Bridge.

1949 #2 brewery in the US, with sales of 4,572,000- approx. 50% Ale.  "More ale than all the other U.S. brewers put together" according to Fortune Magazine (4/50).

1950- Introduces 3 can “Karry Kit"  May 19, PBS sends 200 trucks & 1 ambulance, on order of Carl Badenhausen,  to South Amboy ammunition explosion.

1953 Cuts Ale prices to Returnable $3.21 cs, cans $3.75 cs and ½ barrel from $14.25 to $13.98

May- first week of June, strike. AFL 6000 workers in Newark, over back wages.

1957 Ballantine largest selling brewery in Northeast region with 12% of the market.

 1958 -  On the 25th Anniversary of  the return of legal beer in the US,  Ballantine is one of the  co-sponsors of an  ad celebrating the day,  by the New York - New Jersey Metropolitan Area Brewers -"...the largest brewing center in the World...".  

The members included 9 area companies- the other 8 being Newark's Anheuser-Busch (#1 in the US), Pabst (#5) and Krueger, Brooklyn's Schlitz (#2),  Schaefer, Piels and Liebmann (Rhiengold- #8 - with a second brewery in Orange, NJ as well) and the  Ruppert (Knickerbocker) Brewery in New York City. 

 25  years after Repeal, ales make up "no more than 5%" of US malt beverage production, according to AMERICAN BREWER magazine.

"In addition to the ...trend to beer made with less malt, more adjunct and less hops during the past quarter century, beers have become paler in color, and generally younger when marketed.  There is also an unmistakable trend to a single type of American lager beer with special types of beer, dark beers for example, having practically disappeared in most markets."

1958 - Ballantine Beer largest selling beer "in the East".

1960 Ballantine enters the 1960's as the only Top Ten brewer operating from a single brewery.  Announces $10m upgrade to the nearby  National Biscuit bldg. – (CJRR, Ferry, Christie, Market Streets).  To be the largest beer warehouse in the US. 

1960's- Rumored to be considering the construction of a second brewery in Florida

19645/22 John E. Farrell Elected President.  Carl B. to Chairman of Board.

 Ballantine XXX Ale is distributed nationwide, Ballantine Beer mostly in the East.  About 4m barrels.  Company said to be "among the largest privately owned companies in the US".

6/22 Otto resigns as VP., continues as Director 

12/3 Carl S. (son of Carl W.) VP and Ass’t to Farell, Pepsi exec. John J. Soughan, Mkt Director.

1965 - Changes recipe of Ballantine Beer from a "heavy German type" beer to a "lighter, smoother and mellower 'premium' beer more attuned to the modern taste..."

1966 - Spring - Announces the June release of Ballantine Triple Crown Malt Liquor, in 12 oz. cans and throw-away bottles with an ad campaign slogan of "Makes Every Night Saturday Night".

September- Drops sponsorship of NY Yankees.  

Otto Badenhauser dies, Sept. 13.

Secret talks of merger of P. Ballantine & Sons and the Associated Brewing Co. (Pfeiffer, Piels, Drewry's, Hampden-Harvard), at the time the 10th largest brewing company in the US, end unsuccessfully,  The combined sales of an Associated-Ballantine Brewing Co. would have made it #4, behind A-B, Schlitz and Pabst with a barrelage of over 8 million (based on 1966 sales).

1967 - 1800 workers at Ballantine strike.

Total sales of all US-brewed ales falls to 1.3 million barrels (barely over 1% of total malt  beverage production of 106m bbl.). 

Ballantine signs deal to brew Meister Brau Lite  (forerunner of Miller Lite) under license from it's Chicago brewer and distribute it to 18 Eastern seaboard states.  

 Ballantine also  brews the malt liquor Old English 800 , under a similar arrangement with the Blitz-Weinhard Brewing Company (Portland, OR) for the East Coast market during  the same period, apparently due to the failure of their own late entry into the segment, Triple Crown Malt Liquor.

Sends 880 cases of beer to troops in Vietnam for Christmas.

1967 - Announced $30 million antitrust suit against Anheuser-Busch, Pabst, Rheingold, the NJ Brewers Association and the 5 local unions in the (Teamsters) Joint Brewery Workers Executive  Board, claiming they were trying to "...destroy Ballantine’s business and eliminate it as a competitor."  Suit is dropped a few weeks later when it is determined that clause was illegal under anti-trust laws.

1968 - Still #3 beer* in New York, according to its ad agency, SSC&B.  (* Probably meant total brewery barrelage, rather than just Ballantine Beer).

Buys Boston Celtics for $3m

Markets Munich Light Beer ("our lower priced brand") using the dba of "Feigenspan Brewing Company". 

Ballantine has made a new product move with introduction of "Munich Light Lager Beer," produced under the Christian Feigenspan Brewery. The beer is said to be under the direct responsibility and control of Carl Badenhausen, and distribution has begun in their markets from Maine to Florida. The pricing structure is said to be "attractive ... for both retail trade and consumer”.  Christian Feigenspan Brewery is the old "P.O.N." brewery, the "Pride of Newark" in days gone by, before absorption by Ballantine. The new beer is said to be aged in huge wooden tanks, which have been maintained by Ballantine since the Feigenspan take-over.
-- American Brewer

In discussions to purchase "certain assets of Piels" from Associated Brewing Co. 

Company admits to considering offers to sell to "a German firm" and "New England interests", new president and CEO Richard H. Griebel tells NY Times: I have a troubled company here and normal procedures might not save this company.”

1969 -  April - Stockholders Notice:

"An offer to purchase the outstanding stock of the company may be made prior to May 15, 1969, in which event the annual meeting maybe postponed."

May - "Investors Funding Corporation" (formed in 1946 by the Dansker brothers of Manhattan - Jerome, Norman and Ralph)  buys P. Ballantine & Sons - said to be "owned primarily by seven NJ and NY families” - for an unknown amount.  IFC is primarily a real estate company and will itself go bankrupt by 1975.

Sells Boston Celtics.

Ballantine XXX Ale sales estimated to be down to 500,000 barrels.  Pabst's Old Tankard Ale is #2, with total ale sales of all other brewers combined (besides Ballantine) 250,000 bbl.

1970 #17 Output falls to less than 2m bbl. a year.

May - AP story quotes IFC's president Jerome Dansker:

"Ballantine is making terrific headway.  We’re looking forward to a great company."

Closes 6 company-owned branches, including Red Bank, NJ, and assigns distribution rights to local independent wholesalers.

1971- October- Investors Funding rumored to want to sell P. Ballantine and Sons.  IFC announces later a loss of $3.3 million for the year.

Last full year's barrelage = 2,230,000 / distributed in 40 states (source - 1971 Falstaff Annual Report).

1972 - January - Local 843 agrees to a cut 100 jobs and a 5% pay decrease.

Investors Funding Corporation announces the closing of PBS, effective 3/31/72, less than 2 years after purchase.  Approx. 1600-2000 workers affected.   Wrote the Newark Star-Ledger:

"There were, of course, many other factors involved according to the company, but it was no secret the brewery was losing money when it was sold by Badenhausen and his associates."

Sells the labels of the P. Ballantine and Sons Company to the Falstaff Brewing Corporation of St. Louis for $4 million dollars, and $.50 a barrel for the next 6 years. 

Senator Mathew Rinaldo (R-NJ) asks Miller, Schlitz or Falstaff  to take over and run the Ballantine brewery.

3/15 NJ Governor Cahill calls for FTC investigation of purchase.

Judge refuses to investigate, but prohibits firings until union neg. end.

 Last day March 31, Friday- brief sit-in by employees. Approximately  600 to be re-hired by Falstaff for sales, stock and delivery positions at North Bergen warehouse.

As part of the sale (according to legal documents) Ballantine transferred  to Falstaff "Draught Containers Owned 3/1/72" a total of 121,085 items of cooperage, consisting in 517 barrels, 106,646 half barrels, and 13,922 quarter barrels.

 The first batches of Ballantine products are brewed at Falstaff's Narragansett Brewery in Cranston, RI,  in April

July - Falstaff buys 1.5 million barrel capacity "Burgermeister" brewery in San Francisco (previously owned by Schlitz) from Meister Brau, in part for more capacity to brew Ballantine Ale and Beer for the West Coast market.  (Falstaff's San Jose brewery at the time had a 600k bbl. capacity).

"Ballantine sales also continued to decline at a rate greater than anticipated." --- 1972 Falstaff Annual Report

1973 - Falstaff markets Ballantine XXX Ale, Beer, Dark Beer and Bock Beer, as well as Olde English 800 Malt Liquor and economy brand,  Munich (under the Feigenspan Brewing Co. label).  Ballantine labels list numerous Falstaff brewery cities throughout the decade.

Reputedly, Falstaff changes recipe for Ballatine XXX Ale to a lighter one, only to return to original after complaints.  Reports at the end of the year have Falstaff responding that first batch of Ballantine India Pale Ale would hit the market "soon".

 Falstaff president, Ferd Gutting, announces that Fort Wayne brewery has undergone expansion to permit the brewing of Ballantine Ale so that "...the large eastern market for ale can be served more efficiently and economically...", in year end statement.

1974 - Falstaff sales of all Ballantine brands is 1,407,000 bbl.

Fastaff closes San Fransisco brewery and announced that Ballantine Ale will be brewed by General Brewing Co., at their breweries in SF and Vancouver, WA. for the West Coast markets.   Falstaff brands have 1.1% of the California market. 

 1975- Sales of all Ballantine brands drop below 1 million (for the first time since the mid-1930s) to 974,774 barrels.

Falstaff bought by S&P Corporation (owner of General Brewing), headed by Paul Kalmanovitz.  S&P would eventually also buy the Pearl Brewing Co. in 1978, and, finally, Pabst in 1985.  Ballantine Beer would eventually be brewed by both Pearl and General, and labeled as such.

Kalmanovitz closes North Bergen distribution center which serviced NY-NJ metro area and "which accounted for a very significant percentage of all Ballantine sales".  By the time of closing, it employed only 140 former Ballantine workers, less than a quarter of the original 600 jobs promised by Falstaff.

Falstaff assigns distributors L. Fatato (Brooklyn) and L. A. Piccirillo (Newark) to cover the NYC-NJ region's 15,000-17,000 retailers previously served out of the Ballantine brewery and, later, the North Bergen branch.

1976  - Sales of all Ballantine brands fall to 582,964 bbl., less than half of 1974's barrelage.

Total ale production in US falls below 1 million barrels for the first time ever, 0.7% of US malt beverages.  Ballantine XXX Ale and Carling Red Cap Ale are the best known nationally distributed ales.

In May Falstaff was sued by Verein Muenchener Brauerein, e.V., a German trade association, for certification mark infringement and unfair trade practices with respect to Falstaff's sale of Munich Beer.

1977 - Sales of all Falstaff-brewed Ballantine products  (Beer, Ale, IPA and Munich) fall to 519,000 bbl., about 12% of peak years in Newark.

1978 - Falstaff sued by "Balco" (successor company to Investor Funding) over unpaid royalties, resulting in a landmark legal decision- Balco v. Falstaff

In March the District Court for the District of Columbia entered a permanent injunction against Falstaff which prohibits the company from marketing beer hereafter under the name "Munich."

 1970's - Falstaff briefly brews and markets Ballantine Cream Ale during the era's "cream ale" popularity (possibly on in test market?), along with Pearl Cream Ale and Narragansett Cream Ale.

1980 - Short-lived Ballantine Brewers Gold Ale brewed by Falstaff, marketed as a "Premium Ale".  Rumored to be a blend of XXX and India Pale ales.

1980 Ballantine XXX Ale accounts for approx. 30% of Falstaff’s Narrangansett brewery barrelage.  Under goes recipe change, “great new taste”.

1981 - Carl Badenhausen dies.

1981-2 - S&P closes Cranston brewery Ballantine Ale and IPA production moves to Falstaff's Ft. Wayne, IN facility.

1983 According to a note in the industry newsletter, Talk to Your Beer, [Oct-Dec 1983], Falstaff uses Wisdom Imports as a national "master distributor" for Ballantine India Pale Ale.  Wisdom Imports at the time had the same arrangement with Anchor Brewing Co., as well as being importer of the Mexican Cuauhtémoc brewery's brands (Tecate, Carta Blanca, Bohemia)

1980's - Ballantine Beer brewed and marketed on the West Coast by General Brewing Corp. (S&P owned sister brewery to Falstaff).  Another S&P brewery, Pearl (San Antonio, TX), would eventually also brew and market Ballantine Beer.

1990 - Fort Wayne brewery closed, production of XXX and IPA ales moved to parent company's Pabst brewery in Milwaukee.

1990's - Short-lived Ballantine Twisted Red Ale (obviously "inspired" both by the success of the "Pete's Wicked" brand and the "red" beer fad).

 1992 - Pabst revives it's Old Tankard Ale "with a flavor similar to Ballantine India Pale Ale" to be brewed at it's Milwaukee brewery.

1996 - Pabst Milwaukee closed.  Ballantine XXX Ale contracted out to Stroh breweries in La Crosse, WI (formerly Heileman) and the former Schaefer facility in Allentown,  PA. Ballantine India Pale Ale discontinued.

 1997-1998  Ballantine Beer discontinued.  Ballantine Ale reportedly produced at S&P owned breweries in San Antonio (Pearl) and Tumwater, WA (formerly Olympia)

1999 - Pabst buys the Allentown, PA area brewery when Stroh closed (as part of a larger deal that divided up the former Stroh and Heileman brands and some of the breweries between Miller and Pabst).  Pabst operates the brewery for only several years until it sold it to Diageo in 2001.  It is the source of Ballantine XXX Ale during this period.

2001 Pabst estimates Ballantine XXX Ale production at 50,000 bbl., or about 2½ % of what it was half a century earlier.

2001-2013 When the PA brewery closed in 2001, production of  Ballantine XXX Ale was contracted out to Miller breweries in Ohio and North Carolina.

2014-2015 Pabst revives Ballantine India Pale Ale and Ballantine Burton Ale, contract brewing the brands at the new Cold Spring Brewing Co.'s "Third Street" brewery in MN.  Pabst changes the dba for the Ballantine XXX Ale and these new ales' labels from "Falstaff Brewing Corp." to "P. Ballantine & Sons". 

For the first time, Ballantine India Pale Ale is canned.

Pabst uses brown glass for the new ales, and, eventually, for the MillerCoors-brewed  XXX Ale sold in 12 oz. and 40 oz. bottles.

2016  Pabst revives Falstaff-era Ballantine Brewers Gold Ale label, brewing a totally different recipe than the late 1970's-early1980's version:

1970s = 7.1% ABV / 30 IBUs*

2016 = 5.5% ABV / 23 IBUs

* per Jackson, M. Pocket Guide to Beer [1982]

2017  Pabst discontinues their Ballantine Ale website - - visitors are re-directed the brewery's flagship brand's page, Pabst Blue Ribbon.

Pabst also discontinues Ballantine India Pale Ale and Brewers Gold Ale.  Some 2015 & 2016 Ballantine Burton Ale, in  bottles remains at the brewery and will probably be distributed in the future.  An additional 600 barrels of a 2016 brewing was still aging on oak and hops in July, 2017.