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Home > Ballantine Brewing Company - Ales from 1840 -1972

Ballantine Brewing Company - Ales from 1840 -1972


  

Ballantine Brewing Company

The company was founded in 1840 in Newark, New Jersey, by Peter Ballantine (1791–1883), who emigrated from Scotland. The company was originally incorporated as the Patterson & Ballantine Brewing Company. Ballantine rented an old brewing site which had dated back to 1805. Around 1850, Ballantine bought out his partner and purchased land near the Passaic River to brew his ale. His three sons joined the business and in 1857 the company was renamed P. Ballantine and Sons. The name would be used for the next 115 years, until the company closed its brewery in May 1972. By 1879, it had become sixth largest brewery in the US, almost twice as large as Anheuser-Busch. Ballantine added a second brewery location, also in Newark, in order to brew lager beer to fill out the company product line. Peter Ballantine died in 1883. His second oldest son then controlled the company until his own death from cancer in 1895. The last son died in 1905 and the company was taken over by George Griswold Frelinghuysen, the company’s vice-president, who was married to Peter Ballantine’s granddaughter.
 
In 1933 the Ballantine company was acquired by two brothers, Carl and Otto Badenhausen. The Badenhausens' grew the brand through its most successful period of the 1940s and 1950s, primarily through clever advertising. Ballantine Beer was the first television sponsor of the New York Yankees. It was during this period that the brand was elevated to the number three beer in the U.S. It was also during this period that the company grew into one of the largest privately held corporations in the United States. Ballantine Beer enjoyed a high level of success into the early 1960s, however by the mid-sixties the brand began losing popularity. In 1965 Carl Badenhausen sold the company but remained at the helm until his retirement in 1969.
 
 

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In the 1960s the company went into decline. The breweries were closed and the brands acquired by the Falstaff Brewing Corporation under whose stewardship the beers remained faithful for a time to their original flavor profile. By the late 1980s, though, Ballantine Ales were produced by a number of different outsourced companies.
 
Since 2005, the Ballantine Ale brand has been owned and marketed by the Pabst Brewing Company, which in turn outsources the brewing to the Miller Brewing Company. Because Ballantine is now widely sold in 40-ounce bottles, it is often lumped together with Olde English 800 and other malt liquors in the public mind. In contrast, in its heyday it was a popular and well-regarded pale ale. While there are claims that the original formula has not been changed since then, it is fairly obvious that the formula and brewing process have both changed quite considerably over the years and that the present-day Ballantine bears only a very slight resemblance to the original brew. This is most notably evident[citation needed] in the lack of hops character that was present in the original, which was a direct result of the generous addition of house-distilled aromatic hops oils. Despite a greatly diminished flavor profile, Ballantine Ale remains a beer of character — particularly given its price — when compared to its peers, even if somewhat altered from its glory days as "America's Largest Selling Ale".

 





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