Before the Era of Brew Pubs, There Were Local Breweries
By providing their communities with a convenient source of beer, local breweries gave tavern owners and other customers another option besides relying exclusively on larger commercial breweries.
The Consumer Brewing Company was Arlington's local brewery of note.
Built in 1896 in Rosslyn under the direction of noted local architect Albert Goenner (who was also responsible for the building of the original Arlington County Courthouse), the building was located above the site of the old Aqueduct Bridge. Rosslyn at this time was a notorious area, home of many taverns, gambling establishments, brothels, and the like. The building itself was a distinctive red brick structure with turrets on the ends, a clock tower in the center, and a large smokestack at the back. Around 1904, the business was reorganized and William McGuire became president of the brewery, changing the name to the Arlington Brewery, which continued operations until 1920 when Prohibition went into effect. The building subsequently served as a lithographic print shop and warehouse until its demolition in 1958, when the property was used for the construction of a Marriott motel.
The photograph above is a view of Rosslyn and the Aqueduct Bridge from Georgetown. The brewery and smokestack is in the upper right section of the image.
Much of the material for this particular blog post was taken from an excellent article written by Virginia Room volunteer Willard J. Webb for the October 2000 edition of the Arlington Historical Magazine. Willard passed away on Nov. 23, 2010, and is still greatly missed.
What About You?
What are your Consumer Brewing Company memories? We want to hear from you!
My son excavated abeer bottle in Wash DC several years ago with "Consumer Brewery, Rosslyn VA" in raised letteers on the bottle. Do you have any more information on this brewery.
David Powell says
It would be good if there were an extensive collection of pictures of old Rosslyn showing how it looked at different periods in history.
Not only did the W.and O.D. Railroad have a shop and rail into Rosslyn but also another railroad or streetcar system had a depot or terminal there that is mostly forgotten today? (and most of the rail routes that emanated from it obscured-I think I remember a piece of rail that used to be embedded in a Clarendon street near where a People’s Drugstore used to be)?
The Virginia Room says
Rosslyn has certainly had an interesting and colorful history, and an exhibit showing the development of that area over time would be an interesting project. “Before and After” exhibits are always popular, and your suggestion is something we will consider as we go forward with our digital projects.
Thank you for your interest in our digital collections. They are a work in progress, so stay tuned for more interesting photos to come.
I am a Norfolk State student and i am trying to create a localwiki page for Consumer Brewery. My only problem is finding source material.