PROUDLY BREWED IN BUFFALO, NY
The legacy of brewing in Buffalo speaks to the rich history of the area. It is the story of a booming industrial city turned rustbelt after major manufacturers left the area, leaving thousands of people without work in its wake. Currently, Buffalo is seeing a positive trend of people and industry returning to the area. The once abandoned urban landscape has become vibrant once again as Buffalo has begun to brew once more.
Iroquois began with a merge of two local breweries, Roos Cooperative and Ziegle Brewing Co. under the official name, “Iroquois Brewing Company.” In 1919, the Iroquois Brewing Company filed papers to manufacture ice cream and soft drinks for the imminent prohibition.
February 1922, the Magnus Beck Brewing Co. purchased assets to Iroquois and incorporating it to become Iroquois Beverage Corp. Local brew master, William Weigel confidently proclaimed that prohibition wouldn’t last. Although prohibition forced many of Buffalo’s brewers to close their doors, Iroquois remained open due to the wise decision to manufacture non-alcoholic beverages in order to supplement income. During prohibition, like many other breweries, Iroquois fell under indictment for allegedly producing illegal alcoholic beverages; they were later acquitted from the trial.
Iroquois kept their bottling license in tact, so once news of prohibition’s end came around, they were prepared to take on the market. William Weigel, keenly aware of their previous indictment, would not allow any beer to leave the brewery until 12:01 AM on December 5, 1933. They also pointedly delivered a case of their beer to the doorstep of the Mayor of Buffalo.
After prohibition, Iroquois became a market leader in Buffalo— in 1952 it produced 500,000 barrels of beer and employed 550 men. At the time, 40% of all beer in Buffalo was Iroquois. 1955, president William Weigel sold the business to International Brewers and in 1971 Iroquois closed for good due to their inability to compete with big name beer distributors.
Over 30 years have passed since Iroquois closed its doors and with the increase in popularity of microbrewing, it makes sense for a revival of this classic Buffalo brew. The great grandson of William Weigel and Community Beer Works have teamed up to provide the city’s inhabitants an opportunity to “Have an Iri” again.