Early image of the brewery
The Adam Scheidt Brewing Company was a Norristown institution. Existing for over 100 years, the brewery produced a variety of beers that many can still remember. Their story begins in 1870 on the Stony Creek. Charles Scheidt, a salon owner and brewer, purchased a failing brewery from the Moeshlin brothers. Once his brother, Adam, arrived from Germany in 1878, the brewery grew and grew.
This building still exists at the corner of West Marshall and Barbadoes Streets
The brewery began as a small, one-story building. Over the years the building was enlarged to a five-story structure. The brewery housed a laboratory, a bottling department, and, later, an electric plant. Trains ran right into each building with massive refrigerated cars to transport the beer up and down the East Coast. Three large artesian wells were drilled in the complex, which were said to be the reason for the superior flavor of Scheidt’s brews. At its largest, the brewery took up seven and a half acres across the Stony Creek between Marshall and Elm Streets.
Through the years, Adam Scheidt Brewing Company brewed many types of beer. Some of the most well-known varieties are Lotos Export, Standard, Norristown Porter, Twentieth Century Cream Ale, Old Stock Ale, Brown Stout, and Valley Forge Beer, introduced in 1912. A market for ale in New England prompted them to create Ram’s Head Ale in the 1930s.
Various beer bottles produced by Adam Scheidt Brewing Company
During Prohibition, from 1920-1933, the company brewed “near-beer,” also called Valley Forge Special Beer, which was brewed as regular beer and then dealcoholized to meet the requirements of the 18th Amendment. The brewery also sold Mission brand sodas and Caddy ginger ale, along with ice and coal, to stay afloat. On April 7, 1933, the 18th Amendment was repealed by the 21st, and long lines formed outside the brewery. Staff worked for over twenty-four hours straight to keep up with the demand for their again-legal product.
Two bottles of Ram’s Head Ale from the collection of HSMC.
In the end, the large western breweries were too difficult to compete with. By 1950, the company had quit producing soda, and by 1954, they were purchased by Philadelphia brewery Schmidt’s. Schmidt’s continued production of a few brews, like Valley Forge Beer and Ram’s Head Ale, but eventually shut the doors in 1974.
Adam Scheidt Brewing Company for sale in 1975
Source: The Adam Scheidt Brewing Company by Joseph M. McLaughlin, HSMC Bulletin, Volume XXV, Fall 1986, No. 3