Baltimore has a great history of brewing.
In the pre-prohibition era we had 50+ small breweries around Baltimore. Unfortunately, after prohibition ended the small breweries had either abandoned their brewing business or did not have a way to successfully restart and keep up with big national breweries.
A few breweries in the area kept up production and advertising to compete with the large national brewers.
National Bohemian is the classic Baltimore beer. Even though it hasn’t been brewed in Baltimore since 1978, people all over Maryland still have a strong connection with the beer. It has passed from various companies over the years but is currently owned by a private investor and produced by Miller in North Carolina.
Gunther brewing was a Baltimore brewing company that was second to National Bohemian in popularity and production. One of their old ad slogans was “Gunther’s got it!” Some people joked that this was in reference to Mr. Boh’s missing eye.
It was doing fairly well up until 1959, when it was bought out by a west coast brewery and production stopped. Gunther beer was reintroduced a few years later by new management until the brewery was sold off, permanently in 1976.
Both National Bohemian and Gunther brands promoted Baltimore sports. Ultimately Natty Boh won the battle. This is mainly because the National Brewing president, Jerold Hoffberger just so happened to also own the Baltimore Orioles in 1965. Boh was served at Memorial Stadium which skyrocketed its popularity.
Natty Boh is far from a craft beer but, I will drink this light lager over any other because of its historic connection with Baltimore.
It’s a shame that most of the old Baltimore breweries don’t have much information available. If anyone knows more about our old defunct breweries or brews let me know!