After World War II, Brew 102 was born — the cheapest brew in a workingman’s town. The new name was the brainchild of a bunch of 1940s advertising executives who worked for Maier Brewing — then the fifth-largest brewer in the state. To boost the flagging sales of its trademark Maier Beer, the executives decided to remarket an identical brew with a new name and a catchy new jingle:
More than 100 beers we did brew,
Perfecting the new finer Brew 102.
In the East and the West,
Maier Beer is the best.
Wonderful, wonderful Brew 102.
It was an immediate success. Old brick buildings of the quaint Bavarian brewery came down and new, hulking, no-frills industrial ones went up. The state Department of Transportation was forced to curve around the formidable obstacle when the freeway was laid out in the 1950s.
At its height in the 1950s, the company was turning out 370,000 barrels of Maier, Brew 102 and other private labels each day.
But as Angelenos cultivated a taste for foreign and premium beers, Maier Brewing began to fall by the wayside. ABC Brewing took over the plant for a time. Then, in 1958, the brewery was purchased by San Francisco beer magnate Paul Kalmanovitz.
In 1972, the suds of Brew 102 stopped flowing in Los Angeles. The huge copper kettles from the city’s oldest brewery — kettles the employees used to fill with water and swim in when the week’s batch of beer was done — were abandoned. The building became an unofficial refuge for the homeless for 13 years. The pots and kettles that were not stolen were sold for scrap before the buildings were torn down in 1985 for a parking lot.