Today we rekindle some old local brewery memories. A number of years ago I wrote a series on the old Tru Blu Brewery in Northampton. Recently a number of Tru Blu artifacts have been donated to the Atlas Cement Memorial Museum. Why? The brew was a favorite of local cement workers. It was refreshing to wash down some dust after a long day at the plants.
In the past a number of breweries were found in Lehigh Valley communities. Our friends in Catasauqua were served by the Eagle Brewing Co. with their “Old Dutch” Nix Besser! beer.
Down in Allentown were Neuweiler’s and on Gordon Street there was Horlacher’s. I recall interviewing a number of men who worked at Tru Blu. There was pride in the beer they brewed. One was somewhat dramatic saying, “The beer was as tasty as my mother’s soup.”
The brewery was established in 1903. Their water was supplied from a deep artesian well. The structure, still standing, is a landmark in the Newport Avenue neighborhood.
The brewery grew and prospered. The brewery was served by the Central of New Jersey Railroad, which had tracks adjacent to the brewery. Raw materials were delivered around the clock.
The brewery purchased a number of hotels that exclusively sold Tru Blu beer. Horse-drawn wagons were the means of transportation. A bottling house was located across the street on Newport Avenue. A beer line under the street connected the brewery to the bottling operation; of course beer was bottled in glass bottles. Metal containers would appear in later years.
Trucks would replace the horse and wagons. One of the early secretaries was Betty Seidel’s mother. Our older readers may recall Ms. Seidel owned a gift shop in Cherryville, which was visited by a number of celebrities including Burl Ives and Tony Bennett. Betty recalled, “My mother was a secretary and her pay was $11 a week at the brewery. She enjoyed her job.” Her old gift shop, which dated back to the American Revolution, was recently demolished.
The brewery had a number of “barrel makers” who repaired the wooden barrels and a garage to store and repair their new truck fleet. In two weeks we will visit the brewery during prohibition, we will have to be careful!