Our fifth and final stop on this walking tour is also decidedly the most historically significant. In fact, the history of brewing in Albany, New York is absolutely incomplete without mentioning the great pioneer John Taylor. Taylor, a talented local businessman, opened his first brewery on Broadway facing the Hudson River in the early 1820s. Several years later, in 1825, the Erie Canal was completed and opened for transport. Seeing the massive potential to use the new water route, both to import raw materials for production and to export his beer south via the Hudson River to the port of New York, John Taylor capitalized.
By 1852, John Taylor was operating the largest brewery in the United States and shipping in excess of 200,000 barrels of beer per year. In addition to reaching unprecedented and seemingly limitless success, John Taylor also created his own brew which, in and of itself, left a massive mark on Albany’s history. The brew was called “Albany XX Ale” which exploded in popularity due to its ‘XX strength’. This beer is the exact same one which also aided the success of the Amsdell Brothers Brewing & Malting Company as well as the Albany Brewing Company. The popularity of the Albany XX Ale was not just limited to Albany, nor the entire east coast for that matter. Quite contrarily, in the late 1850s Taylor’s flagship brew could be found “in such far-flung places as San Francisco, New Orleans, Argentina and Nova Scotia” (Gravina, 2011).