While three different brewers lived in this former “brewery mansion” over the years, people generally referred to the place as “the Stocker Mansion,” named for the brewer who built it. It stood on the northwest corner of 11th and Exeter. On this site today is the BARTA office.
On North 11th St., opposite the rear of the post office complex, stands a commodious building now occupied by Keystone Interior Systems, Inc., 2200 N. 11th; the inset shows the structure as it presently appears. A century ago this was Stocker’s Brewery, erected by John G. Stocker and brother-in-law John Roehrich, in 1891.
John Stocker was born in Baden, Germany, Aug. 5, 1850, son of John and Catherine (Werren) Stocker, both of whom were natives of the same section of the German Empire. John Stocker was reared to manhood in his native land, and was afforded the advantages of the excellent schools there. In 1869, at the age of nineteen years, he emigrated to America and took up his residence in Reading, PA, where he secured employment in the brewery of Peter Barbey. Later he identified himself with the operation of the brewery of Frederick Lauer, and after continuing in the employment of others for seventeen years he removed to Tremont, Schuylkill County, where he and his brother-in-law, John Roerich, rented a brewery, which they operated for the ensuing six years. Mr. Stocker then disposed of his interest in the enterprise and returned to Reading, where he built up a large and profitable business in the ownership and operation of what was known as the Stocker Brewery. He was thoroughly familiar with all details of the business, gave to his plant careful personal supervision and gained for the output a high standard of excellence.
John Stocker, a worthy and honored citizen and prominent business man of Reading, died at Carlsbad, Bohemia, July 19, 1903.
After John’s death in 1903, son John George Stocker took charge. John Stocker, who was identified with the operation of the brewery from his youthful days, was born in Reading, March 19, 1875. After completing the curriculum of the public schools he rounded out his discipline by a course in the Inter-State Business College, at Reading, where he graduated. He then became associated with the work of his father’s brewery in Tremont, and later with the Stocker Brewery in Reading. In January, 1903, he was graduated in the American Brewery Academy in Chicago, Ill. In 1893 he was made brewmaster in his father’s brewery, and in 1897 became general manager of the business. A graduate of the American Brewery Academy of Chicago, he had been brewmaster since 1893 and general manager since 1897.
In 1907, the brewery and nearby mansion were sold to August Schneider, who had come from Latrobe, PA, with impressive credentials as a brewer. Depending what he was producing, the place was either Fairview or Augustiner Brewery. Son Joseph, a graduate of the Wahl-Henius Institute of Fermentology, Chicago, was brewmaster. The Schneiders erected a new bottling house and generally upgraded the place. In 1912, this became Mt. Penn Brewery, operated by F. H. Ligued, president; Harty A. Grant, vice president; and J. George Stocker, secretary and treasurer. With the coming of Prohibition, operations ceased for the duration. Between 1928 and 1934, this was Fisher Brewery in 1937-’38, Woerner Brewery and in 1942, the Adam C. Jaeger Brewery.