Nicolai Krohn (1831-1909) writes in his family chronicle that his grandfather Abraham Krohn (1766-1827) started a brewery in St Petersburg in 1790, five or six years after arriving there. The brewery lot was on river Neva, close to Alexander Nevsky monastery. According to other sources, the brewery was officially established in 1795.
As his brewing master Abraham invited a man called Danielsen, who already had 15 years of experience in a similar job in an English brewery. Later Abraham also established with him another brewery in Moscow. According to Nicolai, this brewery was later owned by Watson & Dreyer.
In 1797 the Alexander Nevsky brewery was totally burnt down, and to be able to rebuild it, Abraham sold a large part of the original lot. Nicolai's chronicle contains the following drawing of the plan of the new brewery, which was in use until 1848.
The plan of Alexander Nevsky brewery, see explanations. (Click on the pictures to see larger copies.)
The old brewery lot at present.
Video documentary telling the history of the brewery.
Pictures from the brewery lot at present. Houses that replace buildings 6 and 7 in the plan (left), and building 9 (right).
Until 1844 only English type of ale was brewed in the Alexander Nevsky brewery. After that, also Bavarian type of lager was produced there.
In summer 1848 a serious cholera epidemic raged in St Petersburg. Due to this, consumption of beer diminished drastically, and several thousand barrels of beer turned sour in the brewery. To overcome the difficulties, Friedrich — who succeeded his father as head of the company — and his hardest competitor, Peter Cazalet, decided to cooperate. This resulted in a new company, Cazalet Krohn & Co, which continued to operate in Cazalet's brewery near Kalinkin bridge. Only the cellars of the Alexander Nevsky brewery were used by the new company.
In 1859, when the Kalinkin brewery and also the lot of the Alexander Nevsky brewery had been totally transferred from Krohnian ownership, the Kalinkin brewery was torn down, and a new brewery building was built in its place. At present (2010) this brewery is owned by Heineken and uses the name Stepan Razin. Heineken has, however, decided to discontinue this brewery. [The operation has now discontinued; the beer museum is still at least on the net (2013).]
Stepan Razin brewery buildings.
Left: Stepan Razin logo on the gate of the breweryä. Right: A booklet on making English type beer, written by Abraham and his brewing master Danielsen (Stepan Razin brewery museum).
Of Abraham's sons, Friedrich (1798-1874) and Leopold (1806-1890) were actively involved with the brewery. Friedrich led the company after his father and also worked until 1835 in the Moscow brewery. Leopold, on his part, was responsible for the malt house — probably until 1844, when he moved to Finland. Friedrich's eldest son, Friedrich (1825-1850), who died young, also worked in the brewery from 1843 to 1850, and his chronicler brother Nicolai from 1851 to 1855. Finally in 1859, at a time when none of the family any longer lived in St Petersburg, Friedrich sold his share of the company to Peter Cazalet's son and his partner.