Saying that beer plays an important role in the city’s history and culture is a lot like stating that cheesesteaks are popular here. Sadly, many of the historic brewhouses that wet the whistles for generations past have long since disappeared from the landscape. And the few that still stand are imperiled by progress as bombed-out, post-industrial wastelands give way to development and gentrification. This morning The Preservation Alliance for Greater Philadelphia dropped its Tenth Annual Endangered Properties List, a roll call of sorts that identifies historic properties throughout the region that are most at risk of being lost forever. Listed among the properties this year are Philadelphia Breweries.
It’s actually three sites: Gretz Brewery near Oxford Street and Germantown Avenue, which has been left vacant since 1961; Ortlieb Brewery in Northern Liberties, which Piazza developer Bart Blatstein has stated he plans to demolish; and Poth Brewery near 31st and Jefferson streets, which is the last brewery to survive in the Brewerytown neighborhood.
In its recommendations, The Preservation Alliance says that like other suds factories of yore, namely former sites of the City Park Brewery in Fairmount, and the Class & Nachod Brewery in North Philadelphia, which have been successfully converted to residential lofts, the crumbling breweries it lists as endangered could easily be saved through adaptive reuse. The old Gretz Brewery could find protection from a plan put forth by neighbors to get it listed on the Philadelphia Register of Historic Places, which the Alliance says is a strategy that could also be used to prevent the Poth site from demolition.
2012 Endangered Properties List [Preservation Alliance For Greater Philadelphia]