The Adam Scheidt Brewing Company began in Norristown in 1866 and rapidly became one of the largest brewers around Philadelphia. Like many in this region, they specialized in lagers. Before Prohibition, the most beloved products were Lotus Export Beer and Twentieth Century Ale. That changed quickly following 1918, but the proprietors thought fast on their feet.
The company was a family affair, the joint effort of German brothers Charles and Adam Scheidt. In its later years, the business passed to Adam’s son, Adam Scheidt Jr. As business grew, the Adam Scheidt company bought this building near the Reading Railroad to use as a bottling plant and distribution center.
Architecturally significant in its day, the plant, laid out on a diagonal with the street, featured decorative masonry and street-facing views, unlike the more foreboding facades of the neighboring warehouses. The plant also unusually featured a cupola skylight and large upper-floor windows that let in light on the production floor.
During the crackdown era, the company pivoted to making sodas and “near beer,” drinks with less than 0.5% ABV. This kept the lights on, and although this particular plant closed in 1926, the Adam Scheidt Brewing Co. survived in some form until 1974, when it closes its doors in Norristown.
Although beer wasn’t brewed in this building after 1926, things were far from over. Around 1932, Mrs. Smith’s Pie Company of Pottstown moved in and started making and distributing frozen pies in this facility. (This particular Mrs. Smith’s location seems to have specialized in pumpkin pies.) Following World War II, the site had a run as a hardware depot, then an aluminum distributor, then a truck rental business. By 2013, it had some use as an autobody shop, but this business is believed to have folded. What tomorrow will bring remains unknown, but the rumor mill has it that the building may become residential, as several of Philadelphia’s old breweries have become in recent years.