The three Piels brothers came to Brooklyn from Germany and opened their eponymous brewery in the hinterlands of East New York in 1883.
They couldn’t have imagined that their beer—made with the preferred “soft” water native to Long Island—would be a hometown lowbrow (to put it mildly) favorite for the next 90 years.
[A Piels coaster from the 1950s. Less what? Non-fermented sugar.]
“Piels was selling about a million barrels a year in the mid-1950s, hardly a major player but still prized across the Northeast as one of those lower-end, popularly priced regional brands whose market had always been the working classes,” reports a New York Daily News article from 1998.
Part of Piels appeal were its popular Bert and Harry commercials. When the company dropped the campaign, the beer’s popularity plunged too. After taking over a few other local breweries, Piel’s sold itself to a Michigan brewer and bid Brooklyn good-bye in 1973.
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