Contracts to build the Imperial Brewery were issued in early summer 1901, with a proposed cost that tripled from $50,000 to $150,000. Following its formal opening in the spring of 1902, the site was expanded by a two-story office building and two-story bottling works. In 1904, a 250-ton ice-making plant was added.
Actual brewing began at the Imperial Brewery in April of 1902, with two beer products introduced in May. Two lager-style brands were the Brewery’s mainstays, called Mayflower and Imperial Seal.
This artist’s rendering appeared on advertising circulars and greatly exaggerated the look of the final Brewery complex.
The barn that once housed the draft horses that pulled beer delivery carts is still on the site today. The building features the remains of individual stables and a large cistern well.
Like most breweries during the National Prohibition of 1919, the Imperial, then a segment of the Kansas City Breweries Company conglomerate, sold to the Seaboard Milling Company. The old building became a flour production house manufacturing 1,200 barrels a day through the mid 1980s.
The Imperial Brewing Company building received certification from the National Historic Society in the spring of 2011. The building and surrounding property presents a unique opportunity for mixed-use development.
Photo of the Imperial Brewing operation with its stone-clad docks along the rail line where it sits today just north of Southwest Boulevard.
Early Sanborn maps depict the footprint of the Imperial Brewery and stables.