Business Directory

Falstaff Mfg & Merc Company

2603 Preston
McKay Company Commercial Photography / 1911

Company Origins

Lemp Brewery was founded in 1838 by German immigrant, Johann Adam Lemp. Headquartered in St. Louis, MO, Lemp originally focused on grocery items, along with vinegar and beer. He soon realized that his beer was the star of his grocery store, and dropped everything else to focus solely on beer. This was an excellent decision on his part, as Lemp Brewery quickly became a local staple in St. Louis.

Upon his deathbed in 1862, Lemp left his entire company to his son and grandson, William and Charles, respectively. By the end of the 19th century, Lemp Brewery, now known as William J. Lemp Brewing Company, was quickly becoming gaining a nationwide reputation. To keep up with growing demand, Lemp Brewery coordinated a coast-to-coast system to distribute the beer through the nation.

Houston Connection

In September 1906, L. E. Christensen was brought in to take over the Texas sector of William J. Lemp Brewing Co under the name of Falstaff Manufacturing and Mercantile Company. In addition to the Houston branch visible above, Falstaff Manufacturing had branches in Austin and Galveston.

Houston Post / September 1915

The Houston branch had 5 male employees who distributed a yearly output of 7,000 – 10,000 barrels of beer throughout the Houston area. These employees used 4 company wagons to move these barrels around and one of these such wagons landed the company in a bit of trouble.

Legal Troubles

In October 1909, the Falstaff Manufacturing & Mercantile Company was on the receiving end of a lawsuit filed by a T. G. Long. Mr. Long claimed that a Falstaff wagon struck his son, James L. Long, while he rode a bicycle on Congress Avenue 2 months prior.

Houston Post / October 1909

In December of the same year, the suit was dismissed due to “want of prosecution,” or in other words, the plaintiff took too long to actively pursue the case.

However, in May 1911, a judgement was granted in favor of the plaintiff(s) by 11th District Court judge Charles E. Ashe. Falstaff Manufacturing & Mercantile Company was ordered to pay the Longs a total of $175, which is equivalent to roughly $5400 today.

That aside, the William J. Lemp Brewing Co, and its affiliates, remained one of the most popular beer producers until 1919, when they were unable to continue producing due to Prohibition.


All advertisements and photos point to 2603 Preston as the address for Falstaff Manufacturing and Mercantile Company. A 1906 Houston Post article refers to this address as the “Hague homestead.”


The company plans extensive improvements to Houston involving the expenditure of a large sum of money on a brick building covering an acre of ground. The site which the proposed building will occupy is the Hague homestead near the Preston Avenue tunnel. This block was purchased some while ago with a view of making the improvements which are now assuming tangible shape.

Houston Post / September 1906

Today, 2603 Preston points to the following area:

I can’t seem to find this street address on the 1907 and 1924 Sanborn maps since the street numbers stop at the 2300 block. There is no 2600 block of Preston on the other side of the railroad.

The 1869 Wood maps have no mention of a Hague plot/homestead near this area and there has been no mention of “2603 Preston” in the Houston Chronicle or Post since 1925. My hunch is that block 230 was home to Falstaff Manufacturing, but I have no evidence of that. I’ll keep digging and let y’all know!