A. J. Houghton and his partner John A. Kohl on the footprint of an earlier ale brewery began the oldest lager brewery in Boston and the Stony Brook Valley, the locus of beer production during the city's golden age of brewing. Within five years of its 1870 founding, A. J. Houghton and Co., became one of New England's leading brewers. Of the thirty-one breweries in Boston that helped make the city sixth in the nation and brewing Boston's sixth largest industry by 1880, fewer than a dozen remnants survive. Most of the Vienna Brewery's frankly utilitarian structures of mill construction are gone, leaving the more ornate brew house and office, more typical of the picturesque castle and fortress style characteristic of the second wave of Stony Brook breweries of the 1890s.
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