A. Le Coq

19th century ‒ First private breweries


Many small private breweries started operation in Tartu in the beginning of the 19th century.

Direct predecessors of A. Le Coq, the oldest Estonian brewery that has been continuously operating, are the breweries of B. J. Hesse (founded in 1800) and J. R. Schramm (founded in 1826).

Two other smaller breweries – Gambrinus and Livonia – were joined with the company in 1863. In the course of time, a large enterprise Tivoli Ltd was formed from these companies and in 1913 the owners renamed it A. Le Coq Ltd.

In the end of 1825, Justus Reinhold Schramm was granted the status of a Tartu guild tradesman. He had become a brewer in 1822 and had previously worked in the largest brewery in Tallinn, which belonged to his mother. He first started brewing in a rented small brewery (built in 1823) and became the first to start producing quality lager in Tartu.

In 1827, he started building a new brewery on the registered immovable on Rüütli Street that was completed in 1832. In 1827, he rented the former gunpowder cellar in Toomemägi hill as his lager cellar.

After the death of J. R. Schramm in 1851, the company was managed by his son until 1863. From then on, the successors rented out the department store and the brewery that both carried the name of J. R. Schramm. The company that was located in the town centre was expanded in 1860, and in 1874, the production became powered by steam. Several vodka products were also made in addition to beer and mead between 1861 and 1914. The company also owned a large colonial store.

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