Sheward’s Brewery

Caleb Sheward, a Quaker from Redditch, England, immigrated to America in the 1750’s and settled in Pennsylvania.  He owned and operated breweries and malt houses in the city of Lancaster and, later, in Willistown Township in Chester County. 

Sometime before 1770, Sheward removed to Wilmington and opened a brewery and malt house on the north side of 2nd Street, between Orange and Tatnall Streets, two blocks southeast of the Shipley brewery and malt house.  Sheward likely selected the location due to its proximity to the fresh water source from Shipley’s Run, which ran through the property.

Location of Sheward Brewery (1772 Map of Wilmington)

Location of Sheward Brewery (1772 Map of Wilmington)

When Caleb died in 1785, his wife Hannah Hibberd Sheward assumed control the business.  She ably ran the brewery and malt house until 1804 at which time son, Caleb, Jr., took over.

Portrait of Caleb Sheward, Jr.

Portrait of Caleb Sheward, Jr.

The enterprising Caleb Sheward, Jr. was also involved in a Philadelphia brewery partnership with William Abbott at Dock and Pear Streets from 1805 until 1811.  

The brewery eventually passed to the hands of William Sheward, Caleb Jr.’s son, who ran the brewery until 1843 when it was purchased by the Plunkett distillery.  At that point, beer production ceased forever at the old Sheward brewery.  William relocated to New Garden Township and, later, to South Fayette Township, Pennsylvania where he continued in the brewing and malting trade until his death in 1865.