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In the early 1800s, in the town of Reckendorf, Germany, a legacy begins…

The Haas Family

Kalman Haas was born into a poor Bavarian Jewish family of nine. Eager for a better life, Haas set sail for New York at the age of 19. With nothing but ambition to call his own, he worked as a peddler, selling merchandise in the East. After creating a fair amount of savings for himself, he headed west where he, a recently arrived friend, and more soon–to–be–famous members of the Haas family would assist in writing the golden history of California.

The year is 1851; the city, bustling San Francisco; the climate – pure gold! The City by the Bay was aglow with gold galore due to the famous rush of 1849 when Leopold Loupe and Kalman Haas set their sights on its lustrous streets. Loupe, a former peddler himself, partnered with Haas and the two German natives began a general–store variety of business, Loupe & Haas. Together, they supplied groceries on the corner of Davis and California streets. In 1865, love beckoned Loupe to return to Europe where he married and remained.

Over time, Loupe & Haas became a family affair for Kalman when his brothers Charles and Samuel, and cousins Jacob, Samuel, Abe, and William integrated. The firm became Haas Brothers Wholesale Groceries. This burgeoning success was renowned in the wholesale commerce business and assisted in stabilizing the financial market of California during its 1875 panic.

Aftermath of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake.

Then, disaster struck with the great San Francisco earthquake of 1906, temporarily leaving Haas Brothers in ruin. However, this would only prove to be a minor setback for the strong–willed, resourceful family. The company soon was thriving again, and on its road to becoming an even more prominent establishment.

A NOBLE history.

Haas Brothers building rebuilt in 1915 on the corner of Davis and California.

Haas Brothers continued to flourish. A major portion of their business was derived from offering spirits to Californian, Nevadan and Alaskan miners. One of their favorite libations was named after a distillery worker–turned–legend for falling into a vat of whiskey. Cyrus Noble Bourbon achieved critical acclaim thanks to the wholesale liquor business entrepreneur, Ernest Reuben Lilienthal. This soothing sour–mash bourbon wove its way into miners’ saloons, as well as San Francisco’s up–scale homes and bars. The superior whiskey played a role in further establishing the Haas Brothers name when Ernest’s son, Ben Lilienthal, gave the trademark recipe to his brother Samuel, post–prohibition in 1931 for distribution under the Haas Brothers brand.

Haas Brothers continued to change with the times. In the 1950s, the firm began distributing another top–seller: Royal Gate Vodka; later Tanqueray Gin and Stolichnaya Vodka, and currently category medal winners such as Campo design Encanto Pisco and Selección ArteNOM Tequila star in the company.

The legacy lives on.

Today Haas Brothers 1851 is one of the oldest and most–respected companies in the Bay Area. Their countless contributions to California, as well as their place in the state’s history, make them as vital a part of its character as sunshine–filled days and pristine beaches. A beacon to their success stoically resides in San Francisco at 2007 Franklin Street: The Haas–Lilienthal House. This extravagant Victorian home, built in 1886 for Bertha and William Haas, was donated to the city by the family and is open today as the sole private–period home available for viewing.

There you have it. Haas Brothers – the epitome of the American Dream. We hope you have enjoyed reading a bit of our history as much as you enjoy savoring our splendid spirits. Cheers!

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