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History | Schmidt's Brewery | Northern Liberties | Philadelphia, PA

"None Better Since 1860"

Founded in 1860 by brewmaster Christian Schmidt, C. Schmidt & Sons Brewery planted its stake in Northern Liberties in Philadelphia. Mr. Schmidt had emigrated from Germany in 1832, and became deeply involved in the brewing industry of Philly in the mid-1850s. Over the next 120 years, the company passed through five generations of Schmidts.

Schmidt’s was known as a family brewery over its century-long lifespan, focused on serving hard-working patrons of neighborhood taverns across Philadelphia. At its height, Schmidt’s distributed nationally, and by the late 1950s was the 12th largest brewery in the United States.

Historical images courtesy of Schmidt’s of Philadelphia.

“The Schmidt’s Brewery site was transformed into Philadelphia’s sixth public square.”

The Five Minute Neighborhood

After C. Schmidt & Sons went out of business in 2009, the site of the brewery was acquired and transformed into Philadelphia’s sixth public square, surrounded by a mixed-use district of shops, apartments, and office space. Elements of the site’s industrial history were preserved, such as the monumental Schmidt’s building and sign, and the tower at its entrance. Contrasted with these historic remnants was the award-winning modern architectural design surrounding the public plaza.

Over the next three years, the surrounding 28 acres were purchased and the “five minute neighborhood” was developed where people could live, shop, eat, work and play all within a few city blocks.

Today, across 25 buildings, the Piazza consists of 140,000 SF of retail and commercial space, 500 rental residential units, 1 resident parking garage and several lots, and more than 80,000 SF of public open space.