Historic, but not famous

George Bechtel, Brewer

Workers at the Bechtel Brewery. Credit: From the Collection of the Staten Island Museum

George Bechtel, Brewer (January 19, 1841-July 16, 1889). He was born in Germany, but moved to the U.S. with his parents at just six-months-old. His father was John Bechtel, who founded a brewery on Staten Island, New York, in 1853. This brewery was the first legal brewery on the island. Staten Island  had a large German population settle in the neighborhood.

It was initially was known as the John Bechtel Brewery, but in 1865, he sold the brewery to his son, George Bechtel, who renamed it the George Bechtel Brewery. The Bechtel Brewery was the earliest business to convert to electricity on Staten Island, with owner George Bechtel installing electricity in 1885. It also was one of the first businesses to employ refrigeration, using compression pumps and ammonia to cool the beer. George Bechtel had a reputation for running a clean and efficient operation.

Located at what is now the summit of Broad Street on Van Duzer Street, the brewery had 17 fermenting rooms and a bottling operation. George Bechtel continued to operate it until it closed for good in 1907.

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