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Socorro County Historical Society
Socorro, New Mexico, USA
Hammel Brewery, pre-1886
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1848 Jakob Hammel and Eberhard Anheuser emigrated from Bavaria to St. Louis,
1859 William Hammel born in St. Louis
1860 Eberhard  establishes the E. Anheuser & Co. brewery, later the Anheuser-Bush Co.
        with Jakob employed as a brewer.
1882 Due to health problems, Jakob Hammel ventured west, settling in Socorro.
1882 Jakob and sons Gustav and William, setup a warehouse on Manzanares Street and
         bottled  imported Anheuser beer under the name Hammel Bros. & Co.  Due to
         Socorro's mining "boom years" (and numerous saloons) with railroad delivery to
         other locales, the beer bottling business was very successful.
1883 William and Gustav Hammel obtained their brewing license and began  brewing
         their own beer locally, billing themselves as "Manufacturers  and Bottlers of Beer
         and Ale."
1884 The Hammels purchased property and an adobe building on 6th Street from Pedro
         Montoya to have larger facilities for their brewery.  This is today's location of the
         Hammel Brewery. They planted trees in the rear to build a Bavarian style "beer
         garten" for which many of those trees are still there today.
1886 The small adobe building on 6th Street soon proved to be inadequate for keeping up
         with the demand. The 3-story stone building was constructed and filled with "two
         carloads of machinery" from St. Louis including a boiler, engine, cooling fans, mash
         tubs, fermentation tubs and an ammonia-based ice plant for bulk production of ice.
1886 Cold Beer.  By end of the year, the Hammels were the only brewery in New
         Mexico shipping beer packed in ice and delivered cold  a real novelty in 1886.
1887 Changed name from Hammel Bros. & Co. to Illinois Brewing Co.
1889 William Hammel marries Lulu Rattinger of St. Louis and had a house built in
         Socorro for his bride.
1893 Repeal of the Silver Purchase Act; the price of silver plummeted.  Mines and
         smelters across the country closed, unable to make a profit at the deflated silver
         prices.  Socorro's mines and smelters also closed with the town's population
        dropping from 4,000 to 1,000 by 1895.  Socorro's "boom years" were over.  The
        Illinois Brewery and ice house remained open at reduced production of beer.
1903 Jakob Hammel dies; William becomes president of the brewery, 18 years of age.
1904 Expansion.  The machine room on the south side of the brewery was expanded for
         a larger boiler and other upgrades to the brewery and ice plant to the appearance
         the brewery has today.
1908 Soft Drinks.  William Hammel receives a soft drink franchise, along with the
         brewery and ice plant kept the enterprise busy. The bottling plant was located in
         the building across the street from the brewery on 6th street to the west.
1918 Brewery Ordered Closed. New Mexico passes law to prohibit the manufacture or
         sale of alcoholic beverages basically "Prohibition" one year before the 18th
         Constitutional Amendment was ratified.  The Hammel Brewery was ordered
         closed and the partial disassembly of equipment to prevent further production.
         The loss of the brewery was a financial disaster to the family, struggling with only
         the ice plant and soft drink bottling operations.
1919Prohibition: The 18th Constitutional Amendment to prohibit the manufacture,
         distribution, sale, and consumption of alcoholic beverages ratified by Congress.  
         All breweries in the U.S. ordered closed and dismantled. 
1920 William Hammel dies virtually penniless with the family business in bankruptcy. 
         Clarence Hammel continued operating the ice plant and expanded the soft drink
         bottling franchise, returning the business to a level of profitability following
1925 Hammel now bottling Pepsi-Cola, 7-up, Nesbitt and Grapette.
1933 Prohibition Repealed.  Clarence did not reopen the brewery.  The equipment had
         been partially dismantled and now dilapidated, too costly to replace.
1938 Clarence marries Marcella Branum.
1941 World War II.  Business declined due to the war.  Electric refrigerators, becoming
         common home items since the 1930s, reduced the demand for ice, and soft drinks
         now widely available in stores from major bottlers reduced the Hammel bottling
        demands. Hammel struggled with his ice and bottling business through the 1950s.
1950 Clarence Hammel began divesting some of his business interests.
1956 Clarence Hammel's wife, Marcella, dies
1956 Clarence ceases business and retires.
1985 Arrangements made with Spencer Wilson to transfer the brewery to theSocorro
         County Historical Society upon Clarence Hammel's death.
1986 Clarence Hammel dies; Hammel Brewery building willed to the Socorro County
         Historical Society for a museum.  Restoration of the building begins.
2008 Wall collapse, west facing wall. Wall rebuilt 2009. Photos here.
ham001027.jpg ham001026.jpg ham001025.jpg ham001024.jpg
Early photo of the Hammel Brewery before the 3-story center building was added in 1886.
Delivering cold beer and ice
circa. 1887.
Hammel Brewery shortly after the 3-story rock center building was
constructed, circa. 1886
Workers inside the brewery. Note the frost covered pipes of the ammonia refrigeration plant.
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The Clarence and Marcella Hammel house in Socorro
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1965 Photos
Photos of the ice plant and Hammel Brewery building circa. 1965, about 10 years after the business was closed. Photos reportedly taken for insurance purposes.
Hammel Brewery and Museum circa. 1990
following renovations, window work, a new roof, and other repairs by the
Socorro County Historical Society.
Photo of the Hammel Brewery and employees circa. 1902-1904
The Hammel soft drink bottling plant across the street from the brewery to the west.
Hammel Museum after a 2015 snow
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Open House 1st Saturday of the month
Hammel Museum today
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