In 1856, Joshua C. Gray, of Irish Decent, founded Gray's Bottling Works in Janesville, Wisconsin. J.C. Gray had experience in the industry and was involved in the Cottage Tavern which helped him to start the company in Janesville. He brought with him family recipes that were the cornerstone of the company. His original book, which stressed using only the finest ingredients and time-proven techniques, is still in possession and used by the brewery.
Throughout the generations, the family business has adopted several names. Starting with Gray Bottling Works, it changed to Chas. C. Gray Beverages and then Gray's Beverage Company before adopting the current name of Gray Brewing Company. In the late 1890s, the Gray family discontinued brewing beer to focus solely on soft drinks. This decision was based on the strength of soft drink sales and the ever-growing temperance movement.
The business is currently operated by fifth-generation Robert (Fred) Gray II. After being founded by Joshua C. Gray, ownership moved from generation to generation: Charles Gray to Charles Gray II and Margaret Gray to Robert Gray to Robert (Fred) Gray II. Today, Fred's children, Sarah and Jacob Gray, have joined the business to give it a sixth generation to make it the nation's oldest family owned bottling company.
Gray's was first located at 52 Locust Street, moving to its second and current location on West Court Street in Janesville in 1959. Gray Brewing Company produces handcrafted beer and soda that is sold locally. The company also produces root beer, cream soda, strawberry soda, grape soda, orange cream soda and Belfast Ginger Beer, a recipe taken directly from J.C. Gray's recipe book. All of the products are still produced under Joshua Gray's philosophy of using the best ingredients available.