Oldest brewery west of the Hudson River

Michael Bushnell
Publisher


Royal Brewing Company of Weston, Mo., was founded in 1842 by John Georgian. Upon his death in 1857, the operation was purchased by August Kunz of Leavenworth, Kan.


A fire in 1860 nearly destroyed the business, but Kunz rebuilt and continued producing beer until rocky financial times led to Kunz shuttering the business in 1872.


The operation remained dormant until 1875, when new owners restarted operations, through 1885 when John Walruff acquired the operation.
Walruff was the owner of a “near beer” known as Walruff’s Celebrated Stomach Invigorator that he brewed in his Lawrence, Kan., plant. A statewide alcohol prohibition in Kansas in 1881 essentially shuttered his Lawrence operation. He moved to Weston to take over operations of the Weston Brewing Company.


Located a block east of Weston’s business center on two acres, from 1887 through 1901 it was producing over 12,000 barrels annually. The brewing plant consisted of a large brick brewing building and five underground cellars for lagering the beer. Its flagship product was Royal Pilsner, made from “carefully selected materials of high standards of excellence.” Primary markets were both Leavenworth and Kansas City.


By 1898, the company was again in financial straits and was in receivership. In 1901, however, a new ownership group formed the Royal Brewing Company with capital of over $50,000 with Benjamin Joffee of the McCormick Distilling Company being a primary partner.


Business rebounded and by year’s end the Royal Brewing Company was private label branding Royal Pilsner in St. Louis, Mo., under a partnership with Klausman Brewing Company. Thirty-eight rail cars full of beer were sold under the agreement when the parties got into a dispute over roughly 40,000 dozen empty bottles being returned and the agreement terminated.


As was standard practice at the time, breweries became involved with the saloons selling their beer, sometimes going so far as to own the actual saloon – standard practice by most breweries leading up to Prohibition.


In 1904 a lawsuit was filed in Kansas City alleging that Royal had guaranteed the lease of a building for a saloon from John H. Rieger, a prominent local distiller, to John Tripp. When Tripp was unable to pay, Rieger sued Royal on the guarantee and collected the back rent.


In 1907 Royal changed hands again, the last time before the passage of the Volstead Act in 1918, ushering in Prohibition. New capital was listed at $200,000 by the three Danciger brothers, Abe, Jack and Dan, and the brewery was moved to 308-10, West Sixth St. in Kansas City.


When Prohibition took effect on October 28, 1919, Royal Brewery was listed at its Sixth Street location with a brewery in Weston, Mo.


In 2005, Michael Coakley and Corey Weinfurt purchased the 3.2-acre complex, and today operate O’Malley’s Pub, America Bowman Restaurant and Weston Brewing Company at the original brewing site at Welt and Short in Weston.


The underground cellars are still in use today as part of the underground portion of the pub and brewery where Royal Lager is still produced to this day.

Want Northeast News articles sent straight to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
Enter your email address and click on the Get Instant Access button.
We respect your privacy

Comments are closed.

  • Remember This?

    November 30th, 2022
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor Five, six, pick up sticks! As children have been picking up and playing with sticks for centuries, […]


    Warneke’s TipTop: A Kansas City icon

    November 30th, 2022
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher When John Warneke arrived in Jackson County, Mo., in 1866, Kansas City’s population barely topped 15,000 souls, […]


    Drive to your gate at the new KCI

    November 23rd, 2022
    by

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News Fifty years ago this month, on November 11, 1972, Kansas City International Airport opened for the […]


    Remember This?

    November 23rd, 2022
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor To light or not to light? Whether displayed on the mantle or the Thanksgiving dinner table, these […]


    Remember This?

    November 16th, 2022
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor A handy book that fits in your hand, this student handbook from the archives of the Northeast […]


    Missouri Pacific: Route of the Eagles

    November 16th, 2022
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher Published for the Missouri Pacific–Iron Mountain & Southern Railway, this promotional postcard shows a picturesque view as […]


    Sheffield Car Works, part of the thriving Blue Valley Industrial District

    November 9th, 2022
    by

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News This week’s historic postcard is once again a companion to our Independence Avenue Community Improvement District […]


    Remember This?

    November 9th, 2022
    by

    Dorri Partain Northeast News Monuments and memorial plaques honoring those who served or gave their life defending our country are […]


    Time to get out the vote!

    November 2nd, 2022
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher The November midterm election is next Tuesday and right along with that we’ve got two vintage political […]


  • Remember This?

    November 2nd, 2022
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor While autographs from celebrities may be the most requested, inscribed notes from family and friends can become […]


    Remember This?

    October 26th, 2022
    by

    Dorri Partain Northeast News Casting a warm glow on a Halloween night, illuminated blow-molded figurines once decorated numerous homes after […]


    Amusement park, beer garden once stood on the Avenue

    October 26th, 2022
    by

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News Traveling east on Independence Avenue approaching Hardesty today, it is difficult to comprehend that, at one […]


    REMEMBER THIS?

    October 19th, 2022
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor A new type of candy named “Butter Cream Corn” contained no butter, cream nor corn, but could […]


    A Royal treat since 1899

    October 19th, 2022
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher The roots of today’s American Royal can be traced to 1899 when the fledgling event was referred […]


    Remember This?

    October 12th, 2022
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor “Every bit of Bit-O-Honey goes a long way” Introduced in 1924 by the Schutter-Johnson Company of Chicago, […]


    Priests of Pallas, Kansas City’s original harvest festival

    October 12th, 2022
    by

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News In the late 1880s, Kansas City was awash with excitement that it too would soon have […]


    Remember this?

    October 5th, 2022
    by

    Dorri Partain Contributor Whether you only use a few drops or a tablespoon or two, Tabasco pepper sauce will add […]


    Electric Park’s favorite band

    October 5th, 2022
    by

    Michael Bushnell Publisher This week we celebrate October as Italian Heritage Month by featuring this Electric Park postcard published by […]


  • Northeast Newscast


  • Remember This?


  • Want articles sent directly to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
    We respect your privacy and will not distribute your information.