The Lager Vaults of Schnaederbeck's Brewery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn


Four adjoining, massive stone and brick lager vaults were discovered fourteen feet below grade in the heart of Williamsburg's former lager brewing district. Unlike other beers, lager yeast ferments at the bottom of the vat and the brew must age at low temperatures. Before refrigeration, this was accomplished in subterranean vaults. Introduced in the U.S. ca. 1840, lager took off in the 1850s when a major influx of thirsty German immigrants arrived in Williamsburg where the water was good and housing plentiful. Schnaderbeck was among the first to produce lager here and his cellars, built before 1860, are the oldest found. Though dozens of others must have existed the 1860s-1870s, only one or two other vaults survive. In this paper, we will present our photogrammetric models of the vaults, analyze their architectural features, and consider the role lager breweries played in the neighborhood's social and economic development.


Cite this Record

The Lager Vaults of Schnaederbeck's Brewery in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Celia J. Bergoffen, Arnulf Hausleiter, Matthias Kolbe, Georgios Tsolakis. Presented at Society for Historical Archaeology, Fort Worth, TX. 2017 ( tDAR id: 435533)

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections


Brewery Cellar Lager

Geographic Keywords
North America United States of America

Temporal Keywords
19th Century

Spatial Coverage

min long: -129.199; min lat: 24.495 ; max long: -66.973; max lat: 49.359 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Society for Historical Archaeology

Record Identifiers

PaperId(s): 683