The brothers Edward and John Burke were "Irish distillers, brewers, bottlers and (in New York especially) importers," notably of the dry stout that shares its name with their grandfather Arthur Guinness. Their partnership, founded in Dublin in 1849 when the Burkes were in their early 20s, expanded to New York a quarter-century later.
Although the brothers did not live to see the 20th century, their namesake business was successful enough to commission this headquarters building, completed in 1913. A menu from that same year, by the handsome St. Denis Hotel, offered a pint of "Guinness's Stout, E&J Burke" for the then-stately price of 30 cents. The building served as headquarters and for storage only briefly, however, until 1922, when the company moved its Prohibition-era enterprises from Manhattan to Long Island City, Queens.
E&J Burke resumed brewing operations in the 1930s, after Repeal, but despite the company's strong ties to Guinness, its fortunes never fully recovered. The company ceased operations in 1954 — only a few years after Honda (whose Westside dealership appears in the first photo) began a similar journey, kickstarting a business overseas before expanding to these shores.
Surviving signage, 616 West 46th St. (Eleventh-Twelfth Aves.), Manhattan