Ghost Signs: Prima Beer

Prima Beer is an old lager that was brewed in Chicago. It was brewed at the Ernst Brothers’ Independent Brewing Association, formerly located at 1440 N. Halsted on Goose Island, starting in 1890.

In 1920, the brewery was shut down by national Prohibition. They soon re-opened after receiving a permit to produce non-alcoholic beverages (“Primalt”) there, but closed again in 1925. Prima merged with Bismarck Brewing after prohibition was repealed in 1933 and began production again for another five years until the repeal sales boom ended. The Manhattan Brewing Company, which had associations with Al Capone and organized crime, eventually seized the property, used the equipment and shut down operations in 1938, although sales continued for another decade or so. Prima’s slogan was “America’s Finest Beer.”

These ghost signs for Prima have are still visible around the city.

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