Utica Club’s History

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UTICA, NY(WUTR)— Utica Club has been around for decades, but it didn’t start out as the beer we know today.

“What a lot of people don’t know about Utica Club, is that it originally started out as a soft drink line,” Kevin Sullivan, F.X. Matt Brewery Tour Center Manager stated.

Utica Club was originally a brand of soda with flavors such as lime and lemon rickey, ginger ale, and even lime and lithia— better known today as lithium. 

“And we also started making something known as malt and tonic and also “near beers,” which is pretty much everything in the line of it being a beer with the exception of fermentation,” Sullivan explained. “We would sell it and it used to be sold at the time with warnings on the bottle that said, ‘do not use this amount of yeast, don’t leave it in a dark cool place for this amount of time,’  and it said all this stuff on the bottle. That’s what got us through the prohibition.”

When prohibition ended in 1933, Utica Club was the first legal beer sold in the United States.

“We had beer going out almost immediately, as soon as we possibly could after the repeal of the prohibition amendment,” Sullivan said.

85 years later, the beer is still being brewed and takes 4 weeks to make.

From the time after prohibition throughout the 1960s, Utica Club was in high demand. The Schultz and Dooley advertisements helped make Utica Club a household name. As time went on, the beer became less popular.

“Utica Club became a forgoten about beer throughout the ’80s and ’90s,” Sullivan said. “With the exception of here locally— we have always remained strong.”

 Within the last decade, Utica Club has been making a comeback without any major advertising campaigns.

“It’s a real point of pride to see a resurgence and that staying power in an industry where trends tend to come and go pretty quickly.” Sullivan said. “Utica Club stands the test of time and we are really proud of that.”

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