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COM: September 2007

Crystal Top: Circa 1948

Crystal Top can. Crystal Top can. Crystal Top can.

This month's can was a gift from another Rusty Bunch member who knows I like Ohio cans. (Thanks, Dan!) It was dumped along with a few others in the Upper Peninsula in Michigan in 2005 or so. (Updated 1/20/14 with a nicer example of the can.)

This is a very short page even for a brewery with a short history.  As always, additions and corrections are welcome. Email me!

Youngstown Brewing, 1936-1948

The Youngstown Brewing Company was a post-Prohibition start-up.  Incorporated in late 1934, it used a building originally built for the Youngstown Sanitary Laundry.  The facility had to be extensively rebuilt but work was completed for the grand opening held on May 1, 1936.  Originally the brewery could produce 50,000 barrels a year, and production eventually increased by 3,000.  The president of the new brewery was Harry Weaver, former brewmaster for the other Youngstown brewery, Renner. 

Harry Weaver in 1936 standing by his new brewkettle.

The brewery sold mostly near Youngstown in Ohio and Pennsylvania.  It sold numerous brands, including Silver Bond, Moerlein Pilsner, Crystal Top, Steel City, Old German, Old Bohemian, Bismarck Ale and Wolf's Head Ale.  Struggling financially, they petitioned for a reorganization in bankruptcy in 1937 and by 1939 had reorganized. 

The brewery's sales declined during the Second World War and the owner of a local trucking company, David Friedman, became the new brewery president.   He changed the name to Crystal Top Brewery and replaced the old brewery officers with those from his trucking company.  They added a flat top canning line.  Crystal Top became the new flagship brand and was sold as a low-budget product.  They also made a bock beer.  The new marketing strategy was too little, too late however.  In late 1948 the brewery closed, leaving behind a rather hard-to-find can for Ohio collectors. 

1948 newspaper ad. "Hi-Power" mans 7% alcohol.

 

Name Changes

Youngstown Brewing Co (aka Youngstown Brewery, Inc.) 1936-1947
Crystal Top Brewery, Inc. 1947-1948.

Sources Used

Most of this article came from a great book, Brewing Beer in the Buckeye State, Vol 1, by Dr. Robert Musson. It comes with an expanded version on CD.

Brewers Journal (1935, 1936)

 

 

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