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Asbestos Exposure and Brewing Companies

Brewing companies often utilized asbestos in the process of filtering beer, as well as in the construction of the buildings themselves. The mineral could be found in brewing filters, as well as in pipe insulation, cement and other materials in these companies’ structures built before 1980.

Workers from breweries around the country, individuals who have visited the historic buildings and even consumers of beverages from breweries that used asbestos in their filtering process may be at risk of asbestos exposure, which can lead to diseases such as mesothelioma. Asbestos was utilized in more than 100 brewing facilities in the United States, and still poses a health risk to workers and the public today.

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Asbestos Use at Brewing Companies

Asbestos was most often used in the brewing industry for filtering impurities from beer and other alcohol. Brewers found that paper alone would break down quickly when purifying alcohol and other beverages, so using asbestos in combination with paper enhanced its durability. Some breweries used as much as 50% asbestos in their filters, and would sometimes use over 100 filters every day in the brewing process. When the filters wore out from continued use, fibers could be inhaled by workers and possibly even be ingested by consumers. These filters were actively used until at least 1980, though breweries in the United States now utilize other materials for filtration.

Though asbestos is no longer utilized for beer filters, employees at brewing companies can still face exposure from other materials and equipment within the older buildings. The mineral was often used for the buildings' construction to provide heat resistance and provide insulation. Asbestos can be found in breweries built in the 1900s in cement, insulation and other common construction materials. More than 100 brewing companies that used asbestos can be found below, listed according to state.

Alabama

  • Phillip Schillinger Brewing Company

Arizona

  • Arizona Brewing Company
  • National Brewing Company

California

  • Acme Brewing Company
  • Balboa Brewing Company
  • Buffalo Brewing Company
  • Fresno Brewing Company
  • Golden West Brewing Company
  • Los Angeles Brewing Company
  • Lucky Lager Brewing Company
  • Mathie Brewing Company
  • Regal Amber Brewing Company
  • San Diego Brewing Company
  • Schlitz Brewing Company

Colorado

  • Walter Brewing Company
  • Zang Brewing Company

Connecticut

  • Columbia Brewing Company
  • Cremo Brewing Company
  • Weibel Brewing Company

Florida

  • Gould Brewing Company
  • Southern Brewing Company

Georgia

  • Anheuser-Busch
  • Carling Brewing Company
  • Miller Brewing Company, Inc

Illinois

  • Bartholomae and Leicht Brewing Company
  • Bemis and Mc Avoy Brewing Company
  • Decatur Brewing Company
  • Ernest Brothers Brewing Company
  • Gottfried Brewing Company
  • Manhatten Brewing Company
  • Pabst Brewing Company
  • Peter Fox Brewing Company
  • Pioneer Brewing Company
  • Prima Bismarck Brewing Company
  • Rock Island Brewing Company
  • United States Brewing Company

Indiana

  • American Brewing Company
  • F.W. Cook Brewing Company
  • Peoples Brewing Company
  • Terre Haute Brewing Company

Iowa

  • Des Moines Brewing Company

Kentucky

  • Bavarian Brewing Company
  • Falls City Brewing Company Inc.
  • Heidelberg Brewing Company
  • Lexington Brewing Company
  • Phoenix Brewing Company
  • Wiedermann Brewing Company

Louisiana

  • Dixie Brewing Company
  • Standard Brewing Company

Maryland

  • Cumberland Brewing Company
  • Gunther Brewing Company
  • Theodore Hamm Brewing Company

Massachusetts

  • Carling Brewing Company
  • Enterprise Brewing Company
  • Hampden Brewing Company
  • Harvard Brewing Company
  • Springfield Brewing Company

Michigan

  • Bosch Brewing Company
  • E. N. Voight Brewing Company
  • Goebel Brewing Company
  • Grand Rapids Brewing Company
  • Pfeiffer Brewing Company

Missouri

  • Columbia Brewing Company
  • Empire Brewing Company
  • Fred Heim Brewing Company
  • M.K. Goetz Brewing Company

Nebraska

  • Fred Krug Brewing Company
  • Fremont Brewing Company
  • Storz Brewing Company

New Jersey

  • Ballantine Brewing Company
  • Elizabeth Brewing Company
  • Hensler Brewing Company
  • Lyon and Sons Brewing Company

New York

  • Dobler Brewing Company
  • Ebling Brewing Company
  • Edelbrau Brewing Company
  • Fitzgerald Brothers Brewing Company
  • Genesee Brewing Company
  • H Clausen and Sons Brewing Company
  • Hittleman Brewing Company
  • Malcom Brewing Company
  • Manor Brewing Company
  • Northamerican Brewing Company
  • Pabst Brewing Company
  • S Liebmanns Sons Brewing Company
  • Welz and Zerweck Brewing Company

North Carolina

  • Schlitz Brewing Company

Ohio

  • Akron Brewing Company
  • Barrett Brewing Company
  • Buckeye Brewing Company
  • Cambridge Brewing Company
  • Clyffside Brewing Company
  • Diebolt Brewing Company
  • Gund Brewing Company
  • Herancourt Brewing Company
  • Jung Brewing Company
  • Red Top Brewing Company
  • Renner Brewing Company
  • Schantz and Schwind Brewing Company

Pennsylvania

  • Anchor Brewing Company
  • Bartels Brewing Company
  • Donora Brewing Company
  • Duquesne Brewing Company
  • Fort Pitt Brewing Company
  • Highland Brewing Company
  • Horlacher Brewing Company
  • Kolnile Brewing Company
  • Latrobe Brewing Company
  • Mohawk Valley Brewing Company
  • Philadelphia Brewing Company
  • Pittsburgh Brewing Company
  • Stagmaier Brewing Company
  • Tube City Brewing Company

Rhode Island

  • Jas. Hanley Brewing Company
  • Narragansett Brewing Company
  • Park Brewing Company

Tennessee

  • Chattanooga Brewing Company
  • Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company

Texas

  • Harry Mitchell Brewing Company
  • Pearl Brewing Company
  • Theodore Hamm Brewing Company

Washington

  • B Schade Brewing Company
  • Claussen Brewing Company
  • Heidelberg Brewing Company
  • Olympia Brewing Company

Wisconsin

  • Blatz Brewing Company
  • Burlington Brewing Company
  • Housman Brewing Company
  • John Gund Brewing Company
  • Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company
  • Northern Brewing Company
  • Pabst Brewing Company

Brewing Company Workers and Mesothelioma Risk

Those who work in breweries are at risk of developing mesothelioma or other asbestos-related diseases as a direct result of exposure, whether from the old filtration process or from the structural use of asbestos.

Brewers, engineers, maintenance men and other employees who work hands-on with equipment or in the buildings are still at risk of exposure today. Even the public taking brewery tours of old buildings may face exposure from any damaged asbestos materials inside. With the brewing industry’s workforce growing rapidly each year, reaching almost 70,000 employees in 2017, thousands of workers may have been exposed to asbestos while on the job.

Federal agencies such as the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have created laws and regulations to protect workers and the public from dangerous exposure. Despite these laws, however, millions of workers in breweries and numerous other industries are still exposed to asbestos on the job each year.

Author: Tara Strand

Senior Content Writer

Tara Strand

Reviewer: Jennifer R. Lucarelli

Lawyer for Mesothelioma Victims and Their Families

Jennifer R. Lucarelli
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Sources

Lieben JMD. Mesothelioma and Asbestos Exposure.

McCartney Nl. The U.S. Beer Industry's Workforce More Than Doubled In A Decade [Infographic]. Updated January 2018.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Analysis of Fiber Release from Certain Asbestos Products. Updated February 1982.

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