Brewing and Malting in Early Philadelphia

Rich Wagner

Pennsylvania Brewery Historian


Anthony Morris, ancestor of Arboretum founders, John and Lydia Morris, became Philadelphia’s

second brewer in 1687. The Morris family founded several breweries to supply ship captains with

necessary sustenance for their long voyages and serve the city’s thriving tavern culture that supplied

the growing city with food, drink, and lodging. When Philadelphia was the second largest English speaking

city after London, and the largest seaport in the colonies, it produced more beer than the rest

of the colonies combined. William Penn and later the founding fathers promoted the development

of the brewing industry as a solid foundation for a temperate society and as an engine for promoting

industry and technological innovation. Brewing gave agriculture production a boost since brewers

needed barley and hops, which encouraged their cultivation. Rich Wagner began interpreting the

brewing process in 1990 at William Penn’s home, Pennsbury Manor. Since then he has constructed

his own brewing system to demonstrate the brewing technology of the late seventeenth century. Using

this experience along with primary source material he gives us a view of the city’s earliest breweries.


Morris Arboretum Thursday, April 19, 2018 at 7:00 p.m.  

Morris Arboretum Members: $15,

Non-Members: $20