Our History

Rubsam & Horrmann Timeline:

Click on illustrations to see larger image.

1850
  • RnH Illustration

    1853 & 1856

    Two German immigrants, Joseph Rubsam & August Horrmann, came to America.

  • RnH Beer Illustration

    1868

    That famous Staten Island magic strikes again when two men meet for the first time! Horrmann met Rubsam when Horrmann moved his family to Staten Island. They reminisced about olden German brewery traditions from their hometown – Rubsam being a brewer (the beer) and August being a foreign businessman (the money).

  • Rubsam & Horrmann’s Atlantic Brewery

    1870

    Rubsam & Horrmann’s Atlantic Brewery opened its doors as the largest operational brewery located in the Stapleton neighborhood of Staten Island. Not quite R&H yes, but, baby steps are the keg to life!

  • A fire broke out.

    1878

    A fire broke out in the brewery that destroyed the brewery within minutes, and Joseph Rubsam’s beautiful home located next to the structure burnt to a crisp. Firemen came to the scene and quickly guzzled down R&H Beer’s fine lager while the flames raged on. The brewery couldn’t be saved, the beer all drunk and gone, and firemen landed in the police’s drunk tank for disorderly conduct. The first time, but not the last time a beer loving fireman would impact the R&H Legacy.

  • RnH America Illustration

    1881

    Atlantic Brewery rebuilt from all that fire insurance money.

  • RnH Beer Illustration

    1886

    Joseph Rubsam was sued by his former girlfriend for “false imprisonment.” It was revealed he fathered her child, and drama ensued as he became the laughing stock of Staten Island. Rubsam gained custody of his daughter from “the immoral influence and control” of the ex-girlfriend. Rubsam’s wife somehow buys whatever excuse he gives her and stays with him, adopting the child as her own.

  • RnH Beer Illustration

    1887

    The United States Brewers Association decided not to recognize the brewery workers’ labor union, therefore all breweries (including drinking those glorious suds of beer) were boycotted. Seventy nine breweries in the NYC area shuttered its doors, but Rubsam & Horrmann Brewing Company held on!

  • RnH Beer Illustration

    1888

    Atlantic Brewery went public and became a stock company, and became incorporated under Rubsam & Horrmann Brewing Company. Three years after Marty McFly fought Mad Dog Tannen in Hill Valley, California. R&H BEER IS OFFICIALLY BORN!

  • RnH Beer

    Also in 1888

    Well, this is a bummer. A cellarman entered the brewery by candlelight to clean the beer vats, which exploded and instantly killed the R&H employee.

  • Rubsam Grave Illustration

    1890

    Rubsam died doing what he loved – brewing beer. August Horrmann inherited exclusive rights to the Rubsam & Horrmann Brewing Company name. He is currently buried in Silver Mount Cemetery in Staten Island.

  • Snakes Illustration

    1894

    Rubsam’s wacky ex-girlfriend was found wandering the streets of future Wu-Tang Clan stomping grounds – Stapleton – thinking snakes were on the loose and chasing her. She was placed in an Insane Asylum in Staten Island. Rubsam’s widow has no comment and certainly doesn’t know anything about any snakes being let loose in Stapleton.

  • RnH Beer Illustration

    1900

    August Horrmann dove deep into depression after receiving news from Germany of one daughter being committed to an insane asylum, one daughter with tuberculosis and his wife becoming an invalid. He checked into a sanitarium, where he slit his throat with a knife in his right hand. Bad things happen when you leave Staten Island. He is currently buried in Moravian Cemetery in Staten Island.

  • RnH Beer Illustration

    1911

    Horrmann’s son William, now in charge of the brewery, grew Rubsam & Horrmann Brewing company to distribute almost 200,000 cases of brew a year. The bottles went as far as the West Indies, South America and West Africa. William was a real go-getter.

  • Death to German Spies

    1917

    Being of German descent, the Horrmann family were a target of Anti-German sentiment during World War I. Rumors spread locally that Horrmann was a German spy communicated with German spies in Mexico. Not true, of course. William actually has local papers print articles to help clear his name.

  • RnH Halloween Brew

    1919

    Prohibition takes effect, so Rubsam & Horrmann Brewing Company manufactures “war beer” or “near beer” earning the nickname “Rotten & Horrible.” The brewery survived and made a profit in the beer business by selling ice and this non-alcoholic (or so they say) beer.

  • RnH Prohibition Illustration

    1930

    Another fire broke out at the Rubsam & Horrmann Stapleton brewery. It is noted that it caused massive Staten Island Ferry delays. Glad to see some things never change.

  • RnH Prohibition Illustration

    1933

    Prohibition ends! Celebrations included a near-beer funeral in Staten Island. The brewery hires additional men from the Stapleton community to run a new bottling plant and garage.

  • Stock Crash Illustration

    1938

    Depression years hardly effect Rubsam & Horrmann Brewing Company, because the public drinks more when they’re down in the dumps. R&H beer upped their advertising game to more than just Staten Island and launched an advertising campaign that included placements in the New York Times.

  • RnH Blimp

    1941

    World War II begins, and there was a raw material shortage, including metal for cans and kegs and glass for bottles. R&H Blimp soars the skies for the first time! You read that right! R&H had its own mother-flipping BLIMP! Not even Kayne has his own Blimp.

  • RnH Impressive

    1953

    Piel’s Brothers announced the purchase of Rubsam & Horrmann Brewery. The last barrel of R&H Beer was delivered on December 9, 1953. People are reported to be crying in the streets of Staten Island. This is not a joke.

  • Witch illustration

    1963

    Piel Brewery officially shuttered the Stapleton brewery on January 7, 1963. Turns out Staten Island beer need to be made by a Staten Islander or it is doomed to fail. Or, so, the old witch that lives in a cave under the Conference House says.

  • Brian Illustration

    2017

    Brian “Q” Quinn spends the night online drinking beer and researching Staten Island history. It’s here he learns all of the above and is mystified that this important piece of Staten Island History has just about been forgotten. An idea forms.

  • Q illustration

    2017

    THE NEXT DAY Brian “Q” Quinn files to bring this historic brewery and name back!

  • Brian Illustration

    2017

    Sound checks of the graves of Rubsam and Horrmann reveal that no one is spinning in their coffins. Quinn takes this as silent approval of his plan.

  • RnH Brewer Phone Call

    2017

    Cara Gordon’s phone rings at Two A.M. She sees it’s Quinn calling her and wisely does not answer. The next morning she calls back and is roped into all of this.

  • RnH Brewer

    2017

    Amanda Mayer proves herself to be the right woman for the job and is brought on to help turn the beer into a reality.

  • BJC Illustration

    2017

    Benjamin Cat is made the official mascot of Rubsam & Horrmann Brewing Company. In a statement to the press he says, “MEOW.”

  • RnH Beer Drawing

    2018

    Helen Patella is hired as Quinn’s personal assistant. Nowhere in the job description does it say, “HELP GET THIS BEER COMPANY OFF THE GROUND,” but, it turns out that is what takes up way too much of her time. That – and feeding Quinn’s cats when he isn’t home.

  • Q Illustration

    2019

    Brian “Q” Quinn revives Rubsam & Horrmann Brewing Company. Some say all by himself. Cara, Amanda and Helen roll their eyes and crack open a can of R&H Beer to celebrate.

2020

Sourced from ‘Staten Island Brewery Barons‘ by Patricia M. Salmon, and Brian “Q” Quinn’s book in his mind. Artwork by Christopher J. Sorrentino.