Beer Birthday: Michael Demers

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Today is the 51st birthday of Michael Demers, brewmaster of Discretion Brewing in Soquel, which is near Santa Cruz. Michael’s been brewing most of his adult life, and originally started at some Colorado brewpubs before working at the Anheuser-Busch brewery in Fort Collins. More recently, he moved closer to home to brew at Boulder Creek Brewing, and in 2012 made it back to his home town of Soquel to help open Discretion. He’s making some great beers at Discretion, and winning awards for his efforts. Join me in wishing Michael a very happy birthday.

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Michael goofing around in the brewery.

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All dressed up with someplace to go, Michel and his wife Eileen on their way to sing at a concert performance at Mission Carmel last December.

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Showing off his medal at last year’s GABF in Denver.

Historic Beer Birthday: Ernst F. Baruth

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Today is the birthday of Ernst F. Baruth (April 28, 1842-February 1906). While what would become Anchor Brewing began during the California Gold Rush when Gottlieb Brekle arrived from Germany and began brewing in San Francisco at what he called the Golden City Brewery, it didn’t become known as Anchor Brewing until 1896, when “Ernst F. Baruth and his son-in-law, Otto Schinkel, Jr., bought the old brewery on Pacific Avenue and named it Anchor. The brewery burned down in the fires that followed the 1906 earthquake, but was rebuilt at a different location in 1907.” Baruth had passed away the same year as the earthquake, shortly before it.

I did discover that he was a president of the Norddeutscher Verein (or North German Association) in 1886 as noted in this portrait from a book celebrating the organization’s 25th anniversary, or Silver Anniversary 1874-1899.

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According to Anchor Brewery’s website:

[In 1896] German brewer Ernst Frederick Baruth and his son-in-law, Otto Schinkel, Jr., bought the old brewery on Pacific (the first of six Anchor locations around the City over the years) and named it Anchor. No one knows why Baruth and Schinkel chose the name Anchor, except, perhaps, for its indirect but powerful allusion to the booming Port of San Francisco.

Surprisingly, there isn’t much biographical information about Baruth. He was born somewhere in Germany, and arrived in New York City on August 13, 1875, on a ship named the “SS Neckar” that departed from Bremen, Germany and then sailed to Southampton, England, before heading west to America.

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The Anchor Brewery in the early 1900s.

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Beer Birthday: Carl Kins

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Today is the 61st birthday of Carl Kins, who lives in Belgium, but judges all over the world. I’ve judged beer competitions with Carl in Japan, his native Belgium and the United States, too. Carl’s an active member of the ECBU, the European Consumers Beer Union, and Zythos. And most importantly, he has a great palate, and is a terrific person to spend time with talking about beer, or anything else. Join me in wishing Carl a very happy birthday.

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Carl with Bas and Hildegard Van Ostaden, from Urthel, at the Falling Rock during GABF in 2007.

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After judging in Tokyo, at an event at brewpub T.Y. Harbor Brewery, Carl is in the back, 2nd in from the right.

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Carl at the Lost Abbey during CBC in San Diego in 2012.

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Carl in Tokyo, having a conversation with me and Luc De Raedemaeker.

Beer In Ads #2259: Our Costly Brewing


Thursday’s ad is for Schlitz, from 1903. In the first decade of the 20th century, Schlitz Brewing, then one of the largest breweries in the U.S. after the industry had shrunk from over 4,000 to around 1,500 in just 25 or so years, did a series of primarily text ads, with various themes. In this ad, Schlitz details why each ingredient in their beer is so expensive or why their brewing and bottling process is similarly so expensive. For example, “Every bottle is cleaned by machinery four times before using,” which seems pretty inefficient. Why not just buy the machine that cleans the bottles properly the first time?

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Beer Birthday: John Maier

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Today is John Maier’s 62nd birthday. John has been the head brewer at Rogue Ales for as long as I can remember. He’s won countless awards, pioneered numerous new styles and been instrumental in the rise of the Pacific Northwest’s beer scene. Join me in wishing John a very happy birthday.

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At the Sasquatch Beer Festival. John Maier, sandwiched by Jamie Floyd and Nikos Ridge, both from Ninkasi Brewing.

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Rogue owner Jack Joyce, Portland Mayor Potter and John pose for photos at the opening of the Oregon Brewers Festival in 2007.

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John at the Brew Am gold tourney three years ago. Photo courtesy of Bob Brewer, from his Picasa gallery.

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A portrait of John at Rogue by Gregg Hinlicky.

Beer In Ads #2258: What Purity Means


Wednesday’s ad is for Schlitz, from 1903. In the first decade of the 20th century, Schlitz Brewing, then one of the largest breweries in the U.S. after the industry had shrunk from over 4,000 to around 1,500 in just 25 or so years, did a series of primarily text ads, with various themes. In this ad, Schlitz finally explains what they mean by “purity,” a word they’ve been using seemingly non-stop. Whew.

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Ballantine’s Literary Ads: Anita Loos

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Between 1951 and 1953, P. Ballantine and Sons Brewing Company, or simply Ballentine Beer, created a series of ads with at least thirteen different writers. They asked each one “How would you put a glass of Ballantine Ale into words?” Each author wrote a page that included reference to their beer, and in most cases not subtly. One of them was Anita Loos, who was an American author, best known for her popular book “Gentlemen Prefer Blondes,” was she adapted into a successful film, along with several other well-known screenplays.

Today is the birthday of Anita Loos (April 26, 1889–August 18, 1981), who was “was an American screenwriter, playwright and author, best known for her blockbuster comic novel, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. She wrote film scripts from 1912, and became arguably the first-ever staff scriptwriter, when D.W. Griffith put her on the payroll at Triangle Film Corporation. She went on to write many of the Douglas Fairbanks films, as well as the stage adaptation of Colette’s Gigi.”

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Her 1953 piece for Ballantine was done in the form of a short story about dropping a bottle of beer out her hotel window, somewhere with a cold climate:

It took an elevator man and a snowbank to show me how much I really appreciate Ballantine Ale.

One wintry evening I set a bottle of Ballantine on my hotel window ledge to chill. My only bottle — wouldn’t you know it? — toppled off into a snowbank on the rood next door. Immediately the thought occurred to me that the elevator man could climb out of a downstairs window and retrieve it.

But would he wade through the snow for a bottle of ale? My maid, Gladys, who evidently shares Lorelei Lee’s belief that diamonds are indeed a girl’s best friend, solved the problem by telling him I dropped a diamond bracelet, and he never learned the truth until he was standing in the snowbank with the bottle. At that, he seemed to think more of the ale than a bracelet!

I might add that I like Ballantine Ale because it refreshes me. And because it’s so light, it never takes the edge off my appetite. But most of all I like it because it has a flavor all its own that’s beyond anything else I have ever tasted.

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Historic Beer Birthday: John Toohey

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Today is the birthday of John Thomas Toohey (April 26, 1839-May 5, 1903). He and his brother James bought the Darling Brewery in Melbourne, Australia, and eventually it became known as Tooheys Brewery.

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This brief biography is from his Wikipedia page:

He was born in County Limerick to businessman Matthew Toohey and Honora Hall. His family migrated to Melbourne in 1841, where his father was involved in unsuccessful business dealings that eventually forced them to move to New South Wales in 1866. Toohey settled near Lismore, and around 1869 established a cordial factory. The following year he and his brother James began brewing at the Metropolitan Brewery; this would eventually lead to Tooheys Brewery, which the brothers ran. On 26 August 1871 Toohey married Sarah Doheny, with whom he had five children; he would later marry Annie Mary Murphy Egan, a widow, in New Zealand. In 1892 he was appointed to the New South Wales Legislative Council, where he was known as a supporter of Irish nationalism and as a prominent Catholic. In 1902 he embarked on a world tour, but he died in Chicago the following year.

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And here’s part of their early history from the brewery’s Wikipedia page:

Tooheys dates from 1869, when John Thomas Toohey (an Irish immigrant to Melbourne) obtained his brewing licence. Toohey and his brother James Matthew ran pubs in Melbourne (The Limerick Arms and The Great Britain) before moving to Sydney in the 1860s. They commenced brewing Tooheys Black Old Ale in a brewery in the area of present-day Darling Harbour. By 1875, demand for their beer had soared and they established The Standard Brewery in inner-city Surry Hills. In 1902, the company went public as Tooheys Limited, and commenced brewing lager (the present-day Tooheys New) in 1930. In 1955, the brewery moved west to Lidcombe. In 1967, Tooheys bought competitor Miller’s Brewers located in Taverner’s Hill, closing that brewery in 1975.

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This is a shared entry, with his brother John, of James Toohey from the Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 6, 1976:

John Thomas Toohey (1839-1903) and James Matthew Toohey (1850-1895), brewers, were the sons of Matthew Toohey (d.1892), businessman, and his wife Honora (d.1878), née Hall. John Thomas was born on 26 April 1839 at Limerick, Ireland, and was taken to Melbourne by his parents in 1841. His father bought town lots and settled many Irish families in Victoria. One of the founders of the St Patrick’s Society in Melbourne, he was a political ally of (Sir) John O’Shanassy and (Sir) Charles Gavan Duffy. In the 1860s he was forced to sell at a loss; in 1866 he went to New South Wales and lived in virtual retirement. James Matthew was born on 18 March 1850 in Melbourne: he is said to have been named after Fr Matthew, the Irish apostle of temperance.

After unsuccessful business ventures in Victoria, New Zealand and Queensland, John settled near Lismore: later James had a property near Coonamble. About 1869 with W. G. Henfrey John set up an auctioneering agency and cordial manufacturing business in Castlereagh Street, Sydney; the next year the brothers began brewing at the Metropolitan Brewery and in 1873 they bought the Darling Brewery in Harbour Street. In 1876 they moved to new premises on the site of the old Albion Brewery in Elizabeth Street and began the Standard Brewery, employing twenty-six hands. Before 1880 imported beer was preferred to the local product, but in the 1880s Toohey’s and Tooth’s beers quickly became popular.

Vice-president of the Licensed Victuallers’ Association, in 1886 James was appointed to the royal commission on the excessive use of intoxicating drink, but withdrew when he felt the balance between local and anti-local optionists was upset. In evidence to the commission he said that ‘the system of shouting’ was the cause of all the excessive drinking in the colony and that beer was less injurious to health than ‘the ardent spirits’. He approved of the tied-house system and maintained that the 830 public houses in the Sydney metropolitan licensing district were not an excessive number, though there were a few too many in certain areas of the city.

Campaigning in 1885 for the Legislative Assembly seat of South Sydney, James claimed that the government’s action in sending troops to the Sudan ‘had resulted in a huge advertisement for the colony’. Favouring an elected Upper House, payment of members and the eight-hour system, he said he opposed local option and the abstinence party, as no Act of parliament could make a man sober. He represented the seat in 1885-93. A firm protectionist by 1887, he saw most free traders as ‘the curled darlings of the [Potts] Point and the merchants of Sydney’. He was a good speaker, if a little impetuous at times. According to the Sydney Morning Herald’s political correspondent in 1887, he ‘rolls the letter “r” beautifully, he drops his voice down to sweet whisper, lifts it up to a palpitating splendour, and then rolls it over the solemn path of prophetic parlance’. Dissatisfied with Sir George Dibbs’s administration, he opposed him for Tamworth in July 1894, but polled poorly. Next year he visited Ireland, England and Europe. James died at Pisa, Italy, on 25 September 1895 and was buried in the Catholic section of Rookwood cemetery, Sydney. He was survived by his wife Catherine (Kate) Magdalene (d.1913), née Ferris, whom he had married at Parramatta on 5 June 1873; they had four sons and eight daughters. Probate of his estate was sworn at £133,623.

On James’s death, John and James’s eldest son, also named John Thomas, took over the brewery. John was a leading Catholic layman, benefactor to numerous Catholic charitable institutions and a financial supporter of the Irish nationalist movement. On Christmas Day 1888 Cardinal Patrick Moran invested him as a knight of the Order of St Gregory. A leader in the Home Rule movement, he was prominent in the erection of the monument over the grave of Michael Dwyer in Waverley cemetery in 1898. Well known in business circles, he was a director of several companies including the City Mutual Fire Insurance Co. Ltd. He lived first at Moira, Burwood, and later at Innisfail, Wahroonga, and assisted in the development of both suburbs. He stood for Monaro in the Legislative Assembly in 1880 but was defeated by Henry Septimus Badgery and (Sir) Robert Lucas Tooth. In April 1892 he was nominated to the Legislative Council, but he very rarely spoke. In September 1901 he gave evidence to an assembly select committee on tied houses. Next year the brewery became a public company, Toohey’s Ltd, with John as chairman; the vendors received 375,000 fully paid shares and £175,000 cash. The well-known advertising slogan and symbol ‘Here’s to ‘ee’ originated in 1894.

For health reasons John went on a world tour with his family in 1902. He died suddenly in Chicago on 5 May 1903 and was buried in the Catholic section of Rookwood cemetery, Sydney. On 26 August 1871 at St Mary’s Cathedral he had married Sarah Doheny who died in 1891 survived by two sons and three daughters. Toohey was survived by his second wife, a widow Annie Mary Murphy, née Egan, whom he had married in Auckland, New Zealand. His estate was sworn for probate at £275,215.

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And this is a commercial that Tooheys produced that tells some of the history of the brewery.

Beer In Ads #2257: Beer Keeps One Well


Tuesday’s ad is for Schlitz, from 1904. In the first decade of the 20th century, Schlitz Brewing, then one of the largest breweries in the U.S. after the industry had shrunk from over 4,000 to around 1,500 in just 25 or so years, did a series of primarily text ads, with various themes. In this ad, filled with quotable adspeak, it starts out magnificently. “It is a noticeable fact that those who brew beer, and who drink what they want of it, are usually healthy men.” And I guess they’re saying you won’t be skinny if you drink beer, but they say it in a positive way, stating that you won’t find among beer drinkers and “wasted, fatless men.” And that’s because “beer is healthful. The malt and the hops are nerve foods,” whatever that means.

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Beer Birthday: Stephen Beaumont

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Today is my good friend and colleague Stephen Beaumont’s 53rd birthday. And not only a friend, but a neighbour, partner and ally, too (inside joke). In addition to his Blogging at World of Beer online, Stephen’s written numerous books, including the recent World Atlas of Beer (along with Tim Webb) and the Pocket Beer Book, now in its second edition. Join me in wishing Stephen a very happy birthday.

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Stephen with Tom Dalldorf at the Great Divide reception at GABF in 2007.

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Stephen Beaumont and his now-wife Maggie, and me, in the Bay Area for the Celebrator anniversary party a million years ago.

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Stephen, Tom Dalldorf and me at 21st Amendment for a roast I threw for Tom’s 60th birthday several years ago.

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Stephen and Maggie at their wedding reception in Toronto in August 2008.

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Enjoying a pint of Fuller’s at The Dove in London several years ago.

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With Luke Nicolas from New Zealand’s Epic Brewing in D.C. for CBC a few years ago.