New Jerseyans enjoy a cold brewski or craft ale as much as the next person, but they may take an even deeper satisfaction in that mug knowing the first brewery in the United States was built on their home turf. Hoboken, 1641, Aret Teunissen Van Putten racks up two significant New World firsts: building the first house in Hoboken and the first brewery in America.
Not much is known about brewmaster Van Putten. He was born in Holland in 1612 and married Susanna Jans van Schuenburgh, who was also Dutch. They emigrated to Hoboken with their three children in 1640.
Sadly, Van Putten was killed in 1643, during Kieft’s War, a conflict between the colony of New Netherland and theindigenous Lenni Lenape. The fighting was sparked off when the director-general of New Netherland Willem Kieft, attacked and massacred more than one hundred Native Americans.
The Lenni Lenape ultimately burned all of Van Putten’s homestead, but not the brewery. Today, his heritage can be seen in the state’s beer segment, which in 2020 ran to 123 licensed breweries, a large production brewery owned by an international beverage company, Anheuser-Busch InBev, 122 independent microbreweries and 19 brewpubs. So the next time you imbibe in your favorite mixture of malt, water, yeast and hops, give a thought to the Dutchman who started it all.