John F. Trommer’s Evergreen Brewery
[Bushwick Ave at Conway Street, Brooklyn]
The Brooklyn brewery was founded by John F. Trommer, who had emigrated from Germany. He settled first in Maine, then worked in Boston, and finally settled in New York City. After working in a number of breweries, he purchased the recently built plant of Stehlin and Breitkopf in 1896. Know as the Evergreen Brewery, it grew gradually during the next two decades. Trommer died in 1898, but his son, George, continued the business. Somewhat atypically, George Trommer managed to expand business during the 1920s by lending money and giving support to potential owners of hot dog restaurants-which, of course, featured Trommer’s White Label Near Beer. By 1930 he supplied more than 950 such places.
In 1933, a second plant was opened in Orange, New Jersey, and both breweries proved very successful well into the late 1940s. [Furthermore, Trommer’s housed one of Brooklyn’s most popular beer gardens called the Maple Garden.] The New York City strike of 1949 and loss of sales thereafter hurt the company, however, and the New Jersey plant was sold to Rheingold in 1950. In 1951 Trommer announced the sale of the Brooklyn plant to Piel Brothers. George Trommer died on November 16, 1956, at the age of 83.
In Bushwick, the presence of the brewing industry encouraged the dairy industry. Farmers collected spent grain and hops for cow feed. Milk, with close to 4% butterfat, was sold fresh, made into cream, butter, cheese or ice-cream, or thinned for drinking. The milk business supported blacksmiths, wheelrights and feed stores along Flushing Ave. The Bedford section of Brooklyn (now part of Bedford-Stuyvesant) was agricultural until the 1920s, hosting substantial dairy activity. – New York Food Museum (Brooklyn Beer)