Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Drinking Ballatine beer in my great-great-grandfather's bar

My 2x great-grandfather, Michael Mulcahy owned a bar at 227 Hamilton Ave., close to his home at 85 Luquer St. According to the Real Estate Record and Builder's Guide, in 1885 he took out a $1,500 chattel mortgage from P. Ballantine & Sons for "Saloon Fixtures."* He did the same in 1886;** I'm not clear on whether these were two separate loans, or if the latter was a continuation or relisting of the former.



According to beerhistory.com, brewers worked hard to gain the loyalty of local saloonkeepers, who were their primary conduit to consumers:

A[n] effective method of saloon control concerned the buying and selling of saloon fixtures by brewers. The many necessities in setting up a saloon -- the bar, the backbar, tables, chairs, beer-tapping apparatus, and a myriad of other utensils -- represented a large investment for the prospective saloonkeeper. For those unable to secure financing, the startup costs were nothing short of prohibitive. This, of course, is where the brewer came in, offering to supply the necessary fixtures on credit, often on an interest-free basis. The brewer required only that the saloonkeeper agree to sell the brewer's beer, and only his beer, throughout the duration of the debt repayment. Naturally, such arrangements could involve a number of years, thereby securing a long-term captive customer for the brewer.

Peter Ballantine had been brewing beer in New Jersey since the 1830s; his sons joined him in the 1850s, and by the time Michael Mulcahy was serving beer, Ballantine was one of the top 4 breweries in the United States. Its fortunes declined in the the latter part of the 20th century, after being taken over by a success of companies, and Ballantine beers eventually went out of production. However, Pabst recreated a Ballantine IPA several years ago, which should now be available in stores.

In the 1880s, it appears, Michael Mulcahy sold Ballantine beer at his bar at 227 Hamilton. By the 19teens, they also had a bar at 291 Van Brunt. By 1913, they seem to have neither. My earliest information about Michael Mulcahy's bar - which is not uncontested - said that Michael lost the bars after they changed the beer.

In 1900, Michael Mulcahy took out another chattel mortgage;*** this one reads

"Mulcahy, M. 227 Hamilton av . . Nat C R Co. Register  $145"

At first, I thought it might as well have been in Greek, but I eventually decided that I think he took out a $145 mortgage for a cash register from the National Cash Register Company. The National Cash Register Company (now NCR Corporation) was founded in 1884 and went on to become a major name in cash registers. I wonder if I could get an idea of what model if I could find a 1900 catalogue!

A keyword search does not show any relevant entries for Michael Mulcahy at either 291 Van Brunt or 85 Luquer.





*The Record and guide New York, N.Y. : C.W. Sweet, -1887.Electronic reproduction. v.35, no. 877 (Jan. 3, 1885) - v. 36, no. 928 (Dec. 26, 1885), v. 40, no. 1007 (July 2, 1887) - no. 1033 (Dec. 31, 1887). New York, N.Y. : Columbia University Libraries. JPEG use copy available via the World Wide Web. Digitized by the Internet Archive. NNC Electronic reproduction. v. 37, no. 929 (Jan. 2, 1886) - v. 39, no. 998 (June 25, 1887). New York, N.Y. : Columbia University Libraries, 2009. JPEG use copy via the World Wide Web. Digitized from the microfilm by OCLC Preservation Service Center, Bethlehem, Pa. NNC. Columbia University Libraries Electronic Books. 2006. 

**The Record and guide New York, N.Y. : C.W. Sweet, -1887.Electronic reproduction. v.35, no. 877 (Jan. 3, 1885) - v. 36, no. 928 (Dec. 26, 1885), v. 40, no. 1007 (July 2, 1887) - no. 1033 (Dec. 31, 1887). New York, N.Y. : Columbia University Libraries. JPEG use copy available via the World Wide Web. Digitized by the Internet Archive. NNC Electronic reproduction. v. 37, no. 929 (Jan. 2, 1886) - v. 39, no. 998 (June 25, 1887). New York, N.Y. : Columbia University Libraries, 2009. JPEG use copy available via the World Wide Web. Digitized from the microfilm by OCLC Preservation Service Center, Bethlehem, Pa. NNC. Columbia University Libraries Electronic Books. 2006. 

***Real estate record and builders' guide New York, F. W. Dodge Corp. Electronic reproduction. v. 41, no. 1,034 (Jan. 7, 1888) - v. 45, no. 1163 (June 28, 1890), v. 47, no. 1190 (Jan. 3, 1891) - v. 102, no. 2650 (Dec. 28, 1918); v. 103, no. 1 (Jan. 4, 1919) - v. 110, no. 27 (Dec. 30, 1922). New York, N.Y. : Columbia University Libraries, 2010. JPEG use copy available via the World Wide Web. Master copy stored locally on CD#: Digitized by the Internet Archive. NNC Electronic reproduction. v. 46, no. 1164 (July 5, 1890) - no. 1189 (Dec. 27, 1890). New York, N.Y. : Columbia University Libraries, 2009. JPEG use copy available via the World Wide Web. Master copy stored locally on CD#: Digitized from the microfilm by OCLC Preservation Service Center, Bethlehem, Pa. NNC. Columbia University Libraries Electronic Books. 2006. 

4 comments:

Peter Barbella said...

Great stuff Kathy. I used to deliver Ballantine Beer in Westchester. Wonderful research, but remember, "myriad" is an adjective, not a noun

Kathleen Scarlett O'Hara Naylor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Kathleen Scarlett O'Hara Naylor said...

Thank you, Peter. Beerhistory.com said "myriad," not me. I just quoted them!

genealogylizgauffreau said...

What an interesting slice of history!