Thursday, April 12, 2012

Falstaff Brewery Plant Five, Former Columbia Brewery

Surely the former Columbia Brewery, late renamed Falstaff Brewery Plant Five, must have always dominated the St. Louis Place neighborhood.
With the incredible amount of demolition in the area, it now rises out of what almost looks like a meadow, taller than the remaining houses by over a hundred feet.
The Romanesque Revival brewery sits right on the property line at the sidewalk, with elegant renovated houses across the street framing the complex.
And of course, there's the massive smokestack with the Falstaff logo nailed to the giant stack, which may be one of the largest brewery smokestacks in the city.
It's a massive fortress like structure, and I wonder if the beer barons, many of whom were born in Germany, were actively attempting to evoke the architecture of the powerful in their homeland.
The brewery is just as impressive as I remember when I saw the building for the first time up close several years ago.
I love the use of terracotta accents that are combined with cut limestone and red brick. These are not simple utilitarian structures, but statements of the power of the beer industry in St. Louis history.
Please visit this great Falstaff Beer site, where I learned most of my information about the old brewing company. Also, I want to thank Andrew Weil, director of the Landmarks Association of St. Louis, for additional information.


  1. Tom Maher - KirkwoodApril 12, 2012 at 3:26 PM

    During college days (and later, during drop-out days, before I opened the bicycle store), I worked at American Can on South Kingshighway, just past the park. Our primary business was beverage cans. Our Falstaff cans usually went to the old Plant 10 on Shenandoah and Continental Can up on North Broadway supplied this plant. On occasion we had to help out Continental with a load to #5; for some reason the workers there did not like our cans and frequently found fault with them (same cans as went to #10). I think (italics) plant 1 on Forest Park was all for bottles - not sure, though.

    OT, but most of Continental's buildings are still there, but long since repurposed. Almost all of American Can's have disappeared, but there is still a small litho presence and one of the huge smokestacks is still there. Our plant was built as Amertorp at the beginning of WWII and was 17 acres under roof; we made the best torpedoes the Navy had! Both us and Continental were raided by KKR years ago and destroyed, as was its wont.
    The original CANCO plant was a collection of buildings down on the riverfront.

  2. Replies
    1. Tom Maher - KirkwoodApril 13, 2012 at 3:40 AM

      Wheels West, in Ellisville, from 1973 until 2003.


A Blog detailing the beauty of St. Louis architecture and the buildup of residue-or character-that accumulates over the course of time.