Brewing was a long standing industry in Orange. The Orange Brewery opened in 1901 under the ownership of German immigrant Michael Winters. It was formerly located on a 2-acre lot surrounded by the Railroad tracks, Hickory, Hill, and Prince Streets. Following the repeal of prohibition the brewery was purchased by the Brooklyn-based brewers of Trommers. The brewery was sold again in 1950 to the Liebmann Breweries, Inc. of New York, which bottled Rheingold Beer at the Orange facility up until the 1970’s. The brewery finally closed and was demolished in 1980.
The brewery was housed in a glorious seven story Victorian brick building that was a landmark in Orange during its tenure. It was also major employer with as many as 600 workers showing up at the factory each day. Its closing and demolition was thus a major hit to the local community. Located immediately adjacent to the path of Interstate 280 and the NJ Transit railroad tracks, the site became part of the no-man’s land that curt through the heart of Orange.
There were attempts to save the factory. For example in January 1980, the city announced the sale of the site to ConCology, who planned to convert the brewery to gasohol production. Mayor Carmine Capone noted that the new factory would bring in over $500,000 in revenue to the city. He stated plainly: “This development could save us … The place looks like a graveyard now, but after it is renovated it will change the image of the city and hopefully attract new business to the area.” The gasohol plant did not open and by November the wrecking ball was brought in to tear the factory down.