Prior to German immigration to the United States following the Revolution of 1848, American brewers brewed ale in the English style. Once the German brewers started brewing lager beer, that style took off in popularity and eclipsed most of the ale brewers.
One brewery that persisted in brewing English style ale was Ballantine Beer. Peter Ballantine, a Scottish immigrant founded Ballantine Ale in Newark New Jersey, in 1833. By 1877 it was the nation’s fourth largest brewer and the only one that brewed ale exclusively.
During Prohibition Ballantine produced maple syrup to stay in business. After Repeal, Carl and Otto Badenhausen, brothers, purchased the brewery from the descendants of Peter Ballantine. The brothers hired a Scottish brewmaster so that the ale would remain a distinctive product. Ballantine sponsored radio broadcasts of the New York Yankees during the 1940’s and 50’s. In 1950 the company was the third largest in the country.
By the 1960’s the brewery was declining and Carl Badenhasuen first sold it to Investors funding Company, which was an investment firm. In 1972 the bankers sold the company to Falstaff. When Pabst purchased Falstaff in 1985, Ballantine became part of the Pabst stable of beers.
The Ballantine home is part of the Newark Museum. According to the New York Times, Thomas Jabor, a member of the Morris Area Society of Home Brewers, will be offering a four session course on brewing beer at Ballantine House in Newark.