There are a few more days left of Stockton Beer Week, and a reminder that breweries were actually one of Stockton’s earliest industries. In the early 1850s, David Mickie operated a brewery on Weber Avenue and Philip Niestrath ran the City Brewery. There were others, such as the San Joaquin Brewery and the Humboldt Brewery, but most of them were short lived.
The most successful brewery was the El Dorado Brewing Company, founded by the Rothenbush family in 1853. The brewery received early recognition for producing “steam beer” which was marketed under “El Dorado Beer.” The brewery grew into a large plant, located on the block between American and Stanislaus, and Park and Oak Streets.
Their most significant product became the award winning “Valley Brew,” which they delivered to many local restaurants and saloons throughout the Central Valley. They remained in business during the Prohibition Era by manufacturing ice, sodas and a near beer called Special Valley (less than 0.5% alcohol).
The California State Fair in 1953 recognized the El Dorado Brewing Company for making a single product for more than a century, at the same location by the same family. Nevertheless, they were unable to compete with larger breweries and forced to close in 1955.