Gerhard Lang Brewery (Demolished)
400 Best Street at Jefferson, Buffalo, NY

Gerhard Lang was born in Fatherland, Germany, in 1834. At age 14, Gerhard knew no English when his father, Jacob Lang, brought him to Buffalo.

Source: History of the City of Buffalo and Erie County, H. Perry Smith, editor. Syracuse: D. Mason & Co., 1884, Vol. II, p. 77

At its peak, Buffalo boasted over 35 breweries (in 1872) with the largest belonging to Gerhard Lang. Lang, who had built himself a "Palace Brewery" -- so named because of its opulent Victorian design. The grand hall was lined with marble and the courtyard had a beautiful water fountain for the visitors to view. Lang's would go down in history as the largest single plant brewery Buffalo would ever know, with an annual production capacity of nine million gallons of beer per year. -- Stephen R. Powell, Was Buffalo, Saloon Capital of The World?

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Some Buffalo residents boasted that at one time the city had one of the highest per capita number of bars and taverns of any city in the world. "A bar on every corner," some would say. Many of the local breweries in order to deal with the competition, bought or financed many of the corner bars that served their beer. This contributed to the great number of corner establishments in Buffalo.

In fact, Buffalo's largest brewery of the time, Lang's, owned the most, some 80 of them. This arrangement allowed the breweries to "give" beer to the saloon and to control where and whose beer was sold in them.

In fact, the stories of a bar on every street corner in Buffalo were very close to being true. There were some 500 taverns and gaming houses in Buffalo by 1850, according to the Ladies Temperance Union. This made a ratio of one saloon for every eighty-four residents (including women and children).

-- Stephen R. Powell, Was Buffalo, Saloon Capital of The World?

The Gerhard Lang Brewing Company had its origins in a brewery operated by Philip Born.  In 1862, Gerhard Lang married Born's daughter and assumed control of the brewery a few years later.  By the time Prohibition arrived, Lang had a very sizable output of about 300,000 barrels.

During Prohibition, Lang produced a wide variety of cereal beverages and soft drinks, including AA Near Beer and Hyan-Dry Ginger Ale.  The brewery reopened after Prohibition was repealed, but lasted only until 1949.

-- Tony Pompa,
Beer, Breweries, and Breweriana of Upstate New York Site includes photos of trays, coasters, labels, and bottles

The Gerhard Lang Brewery was the largest pre-Prohibition brewery in the state outside New York City; it was also by far Buffalo's largest brewery to date.

It all started in 1842 with the Born Brewery, which was founded by Philip Born at 581 Genesee St.1 Several accounts state that the brewery was one of the largest in the city during the mid-1800’s.2 Born ran the brewery until his death in 1848; after that, the brewery still operated under the Born name by Jacob Weppner and Born's oldest daughter, Barbara. In the early 1860's, Gerhard Lang bought out Weppner's part of the business and ran the brewery with Ms. Born. In 1862, Gerhard Lang married Ms. Born and they continued the partnership until 1876 under the name Born & Lang.

Lang's was Buffalo's largest single plant brewer ever, at one time producing nearly 300,000 barrels of beer per year

-- Stephen R. Powell,
Gerhard Lang Brewery

... the handsome and athletic young book keeper was Edwin G. S. Miller. who shortly married one of Mr. Lang's worthy daughters and later became the very popular and successful head of the greatly enlarged brewing plant.

-- Stephen R. Powell, Gerhard Lang Brewery
Page by Chuck LaChiusa
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