The Keg (Quarterly Newsletter of the Eastern Coast Breweriana Association) Summer, 1999

From The Western Brewer: King Coal or King Beer?

by Rich Wagner

The Western Brewer December 15, 1887

Bungs. For several years beer and ale has been sold in various places in the coal regions of Butler Co., Pa., which revenue officers were satisfied was being brewed without warrant from the government. All efforts to discover the illicit brewery were in vain. Recently Deputy Collector Thompson, of Westmoreland County, received an intimation that brought him to Butler. Representing himself as the agent of a company desiring to purchase coal lands, he formed the acquaintance of Superintendent File, who was in charge of some mines in the back districts. The Superintendent showed him over the property and then took him into one of the mines, where far under the ground and running by the light of many lamps, the pretended agent saw a complete steam brewery, fitted up with all the latest improvements. The Superintendent informed his guest that the subterranean brewery had been in operation for five years, and that the Government officials had looked for it in vain. The next day the revenue officers confiscated the mine brewery and arrested the superintendent. The claim of the Government was satisfied by the payment of $3,000. The brewery was released and is now again in operation. But the beer will be taxed hereafter.