History of The Penn Brewery

 Welcome to Penn Brewery, where our craft beers, homemade fare, and historic setting tell the story of Pittsburgh’s European immigrant heritage.

 Although the modern-day Penn Brewery was started in 1986, its roots actually lie far back in 1848, with the Eberhart and Ober families, Germans who settled in the Deutschtown neighborhood in the City of Allegheny, now Pittsburgh’s NorthSide. Eberhart and Ober opened three breweries on the site where Penn exists today, and three of the original E&O brewery buildings remain. These buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places and boast many fascinating and unique architectural features.  Perhaps the most notable of these is a labyrinth of stone caves and tunnels which was constructed to chill, or “lager,” barrels of beer in the days before refrigeration became commonplace.

 E&O brewed beer at this location for several decades and eventually merged with a number of other regional breweries to become part of Pittsburgh Brewing Company in 1899.  Beer production continued until 1952, under such labels as E&O Pilsner and Dutch Club.

 Today’s Penn Brewery beer brand was born in 1986, when the flagship Penn Pilsner variety was contract manufactured, first at Pittsburgh Brewing, and later at Jones Brewing Co. Penn opened its own brewing operation at the E&O site beginning in 1989, in the historic buildings that had been restored with the assistance of the North Side Civic Development Corporation.  The restaurant also opened in 1989 as Allegheny Brewery & Pub and was renamed Penn Brewery in 1994. Notably, Penn was the first “tied house,” i.e., restaurant tied to a brewery, in Pennsylvania since Prohibition.

 In 2008, a local private equity firm bought a majority stake in Penn Brewery.  The following year, the firm outsourced the beer production and closed the Brewery, along with the restaurant.  Fortunately for local beer lovers, however, a new group of local investors, all passionate about Penn, bought the business back at the end of 2009, resuming brewing in Pittsburgh and re-opening the restaurant in 2010.

 Today, we’re happy to be back where we belong.  We continue to brew our award-winning craft beers, including our flagship Penn Pilsner, Penn Dark, and seasonal favorites such as St. Nicholas Bock and Oktoberfest, that Pittsburghers know and love.  Our varied menu pays tribute to the many European nationalities whose immigrants built Pittsburgh and its colorful cultural heritage.  Please join us and enjoy the authentic flavors of Pittsburgh!


Christmas in Coke Country, 1899

Whiskey Rebels, 1794