Drew Canning Company

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Main Location

San Jose, CA

1933 - 1953


Ainsley Cannery

Hunt Brothers Packing Company, Consolidated Grocers.

The Drew Canning Company was a long-time San Jose-based canner operating from the 1920's through the 1950's. The principal for the company was Fred M. Drew; the superintendent of the Taylor Street plant in 1934 was J.E. Townsend; the secretary for the corporation was L. J. Campodonico. Drew had been manager of the Schuckl Cannery operations in Niles and Sunnyvale in 1928[1].

Drew operated in at least three plants during its lifetime. Drew started off in a former distillery at 400 East Taylor in the 1920's[2]. The plant operated through the depression, receiving some notice when Drew refused to sign on to a peach production limit in 1931[3] In 1934, Drew bought the former Ainsley Cannery in Campbell[4], with the new cannery first processing prunes brought in from Brentwood[5]. In 1936, Drew was fined for selling substandard pear halves[6]. Drew rebuilt the loading dock on the east side of the building in 1936 after a long back-and-forth with the Southern Pacific about liability for the dock[7]. By 1938, the Taylor Street plant no longer appeared in city directories. Drew operated through World War II, placing ads for workers[8].

By 1946, the Campbell cannery was sold to Hunts. Memories on Train Orders agree.

Drew apparently had another plant in Santa Clara. An SP engineering drawing showed Fred M. Drew Canning Co. near Lafayette Street, next to Pacific Can Co. and across a spur track from the Norton Company[9]

Drew Canning was taken over by Consolidated Grocers by 1953[10]; Drew was mentioned as the former president of the United States Products cannery in 1961[11].


Location Years Address Details
Campbell 1934 - 1946 Harrison Ave. Former Ainsley cannery.
San Jose ~1920 - 1934 400 East Taylor 1934 San Jose City directory, draft report.pdf Japantown history
Santa Clara 1952, 1956 - Walsh St. near Lafayette St., next to Pacific Can Company Building permit for steel building for use as warehouse. Completed November 1956.


1946 era ad


  1. Niles Notes: July 20, 1928 Hayward Review.
  2. San Jose Planning Department document on draft report.pdf Japantown history.
  3. Modesto Bee on July 8 1931 mentions that Drew Canning in San Jose had not yet signed a plan to limit peach production.
  4. Deed dated March 13, 1934 (book 675, pg 554)
  5. June 20, 1934 Campbell Interurban Press article
  6. 26237. Misbranding of canned pears. TJ. S. v. 25 Cases of Canned Pears. Default decree of condemnation and destruction. (F. & D. no. 87701. Sample no. 69679-B. Caught in 1936 selling substandard pear halves (cut up too much)
  7. Southern Pacific Lease L-19046. Stanford University Special Collections. The lease file starts by noting that the cannery changed owners, and the SP wants Drew to sign a new lease for the loading dock which is built on SP's property for $25/year. Drew protests because the new lease requires them to be liable for the dock, and they're unwilling. In November, 1936, Drew responds that they're willing to sign the lease after they rebuild the dock. The interesting detail in this reference is that the railroad tracks and loading dock were on railroad property.
  8. 2500 Cannery Workers Are Needed Now. July 15, 1944 San Jose Evening News (Named as Drew Packing)
  9. SP Coast Division engineering drawing #28117, "Track Serving the Norton Co., March 11, 1952. Courtesy of wx4.org / Dome of Foam.
  10. Gen. Mark Clark on Grocery Board: December 10, 1953 San Mateo Times. " California subsidiaries of the corporation include Rosenberg Bros. & Co. and Union Sugar, San Francisco; U. S, Products corporation and F. M. Drew Canning company, San Josei and Gentry, Inc., Los Angeles, Oxnard and Gilroy."
  11. September 10, 1961 New York Times: "Paul V. Rea has been elected president of the United States Products Corporation, San Jose Calif. canning unit of the Consolidated Foods Corporation, it was announced. He succeeds the late Fred M. Drew. Mr. Rea was formerly executive vice president of United States Products."