Manhttan Brewing510

[Garrett Oliver at Manhattan Brewing; courtesy of Brooklyn Brewery, via Serious Eats]

The question was which New York City brewpub pioneer once referred to Michelob as “a soft drink.”

The answer is Richard Wrigley. In the fall of 1984, Wrigley, then a 37-year-old transplant from Manchester in the U.K., opened a 5,000-square-foot brewpub in an old electric-company station at Thompson and Watts streets in Manhattan’s Soho neighborhood (which was far from the hyper-hip enclave it is today). Wrigley’s Manhattan Brewing Company served up two ales and a lager for $2.50 a mug, bringing craft beer back to a city that had once hosted dozens of breweries before Prohibition.

Interesting side note: Garrett Oliver, currently the brewmaster at New York’s largest craft brewery, the Brooklyn Brewery, apprenticed at Manhattan Brewing under another Englishman, Mark Witty, who had been a brewer at Samuel Smith’s in Yorkshire.

Interesting side note II: Wrigley also brought craft beer back to Boston, opening the Commonwealth Brewing Company in the summer of 1985, near the old Boston Garden in the city’s West End.
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