Before 1890: The embryo
The brewery that originally founded the Gallia beer was created before 1878, it was located « Rue de la Voie Verte » in Paris-Montrouge (today in the 14th district of Paris, « rue de la Voie Verte » became « rue du Père Corentin » in 1945).
At the time, the neighborhood, birthplace of Gallia beer, comprised mostly of mines, fields of wheat, vegetable gardens, and taverns that served the local wines of Bagneux, Montrouge, Chatillon ...
Several breweries moved in this neighborhood because they used the underground quarries as cellars for fermentation and storage.
Before 1878, the brewery manufactured « very special » beers: the "Milk Beer", the "Tar Beer" and "Medicinal Beer".
In 1879, the owners decided to produce in addition to "special" beers, traditional beers called Gallia. There were four kinds: Forte (strong), Double, Bock and the Petite (little). This was the beginning of the Gallia adventure !
However, at that time, the brewery only produced 20,000 hectoliters annually, which did not allow the organisation to prosper and even led to its dissolution in 1889 ...
... but the brewery successfully had a new start with the arrival of Jean-Jacques Wohlhüter, a hops merchant from Strasbourg, who came to Paris to take over the brewery at the dawn of 1890 !
From 1890 to 1935: Growth
JJ Wohlhüter and his associates, created the brewery « New Gallia » in January 1890.
Soon afterwards, the Gallia beer became hugely successful and in 1896, it grew in size from « Rue de la Voie Verte » on one side to « Rue Sarrette » on the other. That same year, the organisation became the second largest brewer in Paris.
In 1898 the brewery took over "The Tavern" restaurant located on Boulevard Richard Lenoir, which will also become very successful. In 1900, the Gallia beer gets a Gold Medal at the Great Exhibition, the highest award for a brewery at that time.Finally, from 1890 to 1939, during a period of 49 years, sales increased 245% from 39,000 hectoliters to 135,000 hectoliters. The peak will be reached in 1932 with 150,000 hectoliters! It was also during this period that the management of the brewery gradually became a family business when Mr JJ Wohlhüter was relplaced by his son in law.
From 1939 to 1962: The war and its consequences
During WWII, the brewery remained active despite the many difficulties due to shortage of raw materials, coal and labor.
At the end of the war, the directors of the Gallia brewery approached the '50s with confidence. They invested in the modernization of the plant: land acquisition, construction of a new building, new bottling line etc. ...
However, in the late '50s, the brewery, weakened during the war, started facing several problems: weather upsets, rising costs of raw materials and labor but especially the effects of globalization with rising competition of foreign beers coming from Germany, Holland and Belgium and promoted by large advertising investments.
Sales in the early 60s were situated between 100,000 and 120,000 hectoliters which was much less than before the war. At that period, the Gallia brewery, had not reached the critical size that would have enabled them to deal with the aggressivness of the competition ...
From 1962 to 1968: The declin
In the early 60s, the associates of the Gallia brewery started thinking of dismantling the company. On several occasions, real estate developers proposed to purchase the land from the brewery. No positive decisions were taken from these proposals because the company wanted to continue brewing beer.
The negotiations for selling the brewery were therefore conducted with Union Breweries, a subsidiary of BGI (Well established in Indochina and Africa), who wanted to develop its business in France (with the brand 33 export).
An agreement that will allow the continuity of the beer business, will be signed on November 19th, of the year 1962 between the Gallia brewery and Union Breweries. This agreement marked the end of the Company "Gallia," an adventure that lasted 73 years and having been led by three generations of one family.
Six years later, in 1968, UB will not respect their promise, Gallia brewery production stops, the plant is demolished and more tragicly, Gallia brand is phased out.
2010…: The Renaissance
Forty years after the end of production in Paris, and a century after the creation of the brand, the Gallia beer is reborn thanks to enthusiasts, backed by the descendants of Mr. Wohlhüter