The Brewhouse was built in 1905. At this time, the Delaware and Hudson Company sold the land to The Luzerne County Brewing Company. On March 20, 1905, the land was sold in the sum of $1.00 under the expressed condition that The Luzerne County Brewing Company would erect or cause to be erected within one year’s time, a brewery of 100,000 barrels per year and sell each barrel for no less than $1.00 each. If The Luzerne County Brewing Company used the land for anything else or did not cause a Brewery to be constructed, sole ownership of the property reverted back to The Delaware and Hudson Company.
So, Brewery construction began. The Brewery survived from construction through the Prohibition period. During Prohibition, The Luzerne County Brewing Company survived by making cereal beers. These beers contained a half percentage of alcohol (.5%) and were made from wheat and grains used to make cereal. The beer was referred to as “Near Beer” because of its low alcohol content. After Prohibition, the Brewery was re-acquired.
In 1933, Ted Smulowitz and Leo Swartz purchased the Brewery from The Luzerne County Brewing Company. At this time, it was renamed The Lion Brewery, Incorporated. Mr. Swartz remained only a few years with The Lion, leaving the large investment to Ted Smulowitz, who decided to bring his family into the operation. From this point on, it became a privately owned, family-run Brewery. The Smulowitz family owned and operated the Brewery until 1993, having spent 60 years in the brewing business.
Under the Smulowitz family operation, The Lion was able to acquire the Stegmaier family of brews. In 1974, when the Stegmaier Brewery closed its doors, The Lion began making the famous brews of Gold Medal, Porter, and Light. This marked a huge milestone in The Lion’s history. The Lion Brewery acquired the Stegmaier family of brews, becoming the only remaining brewery in Luzerne County.