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El Paso

The El Paso Brewing Association 1904-1918
Harry Mitchell Brewing Co. (3801 Frutas & Latta Sts) 1935-1955
Falstaff Brewing Corp (#9) 1955-1967
A group of El Paso businessmen, headed by E. B. Welch, George Pence, and others, organized the El Paso Brewing Association in late 1903, and began construction of a state of the art brewing plant that would produce two hundred and fifty barrels of ale and porter. They also constructed an electricity plant and provided power to East El Paso and Latta's subdivision. The brewery opened on July 20, 1904 with an enormous banquet, and live music. But the party quickly ended. In 1905, the brewery went into receivership and was purchased by J. P. Dieter, a local whoesale liquor dealer. The brewery continued to expand under Dieter's control. Dieter died in 1908, and R. W. Long took over control. The brewmaster from 1908 until the brewery was closed by Prohibition in 1918 was Frank Brenk. During Prohibition, the brewery produced near beer and soda water.

In August 1933, Harry Mitchell, an English born former bartender, returned from Juarez , Mexico, where he had spent Prohibition running the Mint Cafe. He organized the new brewery with three other businessmen who decided to name the brewery after Mitchell since he was the most recognizable man in the area. With the help of brewmaster and consultant, Oskar Scholz, the new brewery was built over the ruins of the Old El Paso Brewery. Oskar Scholz came from Prague, Vienna. Scholz claimed that he would brew a full bodied and slightly drier product for the Harry Mitchell Brewing Company. On August 5, 1934, Mitchell's 35 employes began operations. On November 21, the first batch of harry Mitchell's Special Lager was released and greeted well. in 1935, Robert L. Neidhard became the brewmaster and changed the brewing process. Sales skyrocketed. By 1936, Grand Prize beer from Gulf Brewing Company in Houston began to take market share away from Mitchell's Special Lager. By 1941, Mitchell had lowered prices on his beers to $2.10 a case to compete. Eventually, things turned around, and in 1949, a canning plant was erected, and sales took off. After Mitchel retired, the name of the company was changed from Harry Mitchell Brewing to Mitchell Brewing. In 1954, the new owners, having won national awards for their operation, decided to enter the San Antonio market. As Mitchell brands gained market share in Texas, New Mexico and Arizona, the San Antonio breweries retaliated by entering the el Paso market, and their local market share began to fall. By 1955, Mitchell Beer sales in San Antonio began to decline.

In 1956, the Falstaff company of St. Louis purchased the brewery for $1.5 million. They immediately discontinued all Mitchell brands and began brewing their own beers. The brewery lasted until 1967. The old brewery still stands today.

Click the picture for a link to Falstaff Brewing Company history site.