The Christian Feigenspan Brewing Co.
Christian W. Feigenspan, son of brewery founder. Elected President of the brewery in 1907.
As head of the United States Brewers Association during the lead up to Prohibition, Feigenspan filed suit against the Government in hopes to have the 18th Amendment declared Unconstitutional.
He would later resign from the USBA in 1925 over his refusal to cooperate with the Anti-Saloon League to try to have 2.75% beer declared "non-intoxicating" and thus legal during Prohibition.
The Feigenspan Mansion on High Street in Newark.
Feigenspan would become known for keeping it's P.O.N. sign lit throughout the Prohibition era and keeping a skeleton crew working to maintain the brewing equipment. (Left- aerial view of the famous PON sign.)
Unlike many brewers who continued to make beer-related products like malt syrup and near beer, however, they would become merely the Feigenspan Coal & Ice Company by 1927.
(A subsidiary brewery, Dobler of Albany, NY, would be a near beer brewery throughout Prohibition).
Four years after Feiganspan's death in 1939, the
brewery, at the time the 15th largest in the US (according to FTC data, approx. of 500,000 bb in its last year) would be sold to next door neighbor Ballantine.
The Badenhausen's bought half of the shares of Feigenspan from
then brewery president, William Reilly in June of 1943.
More stock purchased the next month gave Ballantine ownership of Feigenspan with the promise that the "Feigenspan and P.O.N. brands will not be disturbed."
Despite that assurance, on November 1 they announce all P.O.N. brands were being discontinued, and the brewery would be merged into the P. Ballantine & Sons Freeman Street facility, one block away.
The label above, however, is copyrighted 1947, so Ballantine must have resurrected the brand a few years later.
--- New Jersey, A Guide to Its Present and Past, 1939
(below) Feigenspan brewhouse - 1939
(Above) Aerial illustration of Feigenspan circa 1939 from "above" the Ballantine facility down Freeman St.
(Below) Street level view of brewery from Raymond Blvd,
A wooden case of freshly filled quart bottles of P.O.N. goes down the line in the late 1930s.
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
Feigenspan's 400 barrel capacity open ale fermenters (above left- compare with Ballantine's of the same era) and (right) the so-called "Monks' Cellar" of 100 barrel oak casks where they aged their India Pale Ale for "two years or more".
(Twice as long as Ballantine's India Pale Ale and Brown Stout.)
PHOTOS from Out of Print
Behind the Scenes in a Great American Brewery
Feigenspan booklet - Newark Public Library