Wednesday’s ad is for Miller High Life, from 1950. In this ad, from the back of a baseball game program, a star player who’s tipping his hat, revealing a buzz cut, is taking a bow while holding four bats. So maybe he’s just warming up and getting ready for his at-bat. I’m not sure if he’s the favorite or the beer is, but my money’s on the beer.
Today is the birthday of Frederick Wacker (September 30, 1830-July 8, 1884). Wacker was born in Württemberg Germany (though some sources claim he was from Switzerland) and founded the Chicago brewery Wacker & Birk in 1857 with business partner Jacob Birk. Shortly thereafter, Birk left to start a different brewery, and the name was changed to the Frederick Wacker Brewing Co. 1865. But Birk appears to have returned to the business, because the name became the Frederick Wacker & Jacob Birk Brewing & Malting Co., and it remained some form of the two men’s names until it was closed for good by prohibition. Frederick Wacker is also remembered as the father of his more famous son, Charles Wacker, for whom Wacker Drive in Chicago was named. And while there are plenty of photos of Charles, not a one could I find of his father.
Here’s a biography of Frederick Wacker, from the History of Chicago, Volume 3, by Alfred Theodore Andreas, published in 1886.
The Chicago brewery Frederick started was originally called Seidenschwanz & Wacker, and was located on Hinsdale, between Pine and Rush streets. It was founded in 1857, but the following year it became known as Wacker & Seidenschwanz, and was on N. Franklin Street. That version lasted until 1865. Beginning that same year, its name changed once again to the Frederick Wacker Brewery, and its address was listed as 848 N. Franklin Street, presumably in the same location as its predecessor. Sixteen years later, in 1882, it relocated to 171 N. Desplaines (now Indiana Street) and it became known as the Wacker & Birk Brewing & Malting Co. This is also when Charles joined his father’s business, when he would have been 26 years old. Just before prohibition the name was shortened to the Wacker & Birk Co., although it appears to have closed by 1920.
Today in 2010, US Patent 20100247276 A1 was issued, an invention of Giuseppe Loria, for his “Keg Lifting Device.” Here’s the Abstract:
An improved lifting device and associated system for handling a standard beverage keg comprises a rigid support frame formed to partially surround a standing keg and including a pair of vertical posts spaced apart and interconnected by separate upper and lower transverse beams, the posts being erected and supported upon respective lateral base beams that extend forward and rearward of the posts with a support brace angularly disposed and secured over each forward beam extension. A lever rod is pivotally connected to the upper transverse beam having a lower handle end and an upper working end carrying a bifurcated chain link attached thereto, the bifurcated chain link holding a pair of hook fasteners sized and shaped to fit the hand holds provided on the upper rim of the standard keg. With the support frame placed alongside the standing keg and the working end of the lever rod directly over the keg, the hook fasteners are made to engage the hand holds on opposite sides of the keg and apply a clamping pressure to the keg upon lifting. A deployable extension chain further provided on the support frame is adapted to fasten to the handle end of the lever rod to hold the lifted position of the keg, allowing a dolly with a circularly formed raised surface layer to engage the bottom of the keg for its immediate transport.
Today is the 65th birthday of Alan Atha, former co-founder and brewmaster of Baeltane Brewing in the two I most recently loved in, Novato, California. I first met Alan when he was a nanobrewery in planning, and he’s taken the experimental spirit of homebrewing and transitioned beautifully to commercial brewing, while retaining the playful nature that makes so many of his beer’s interesting, and delicious, with names like The Frog That Ate the World Double IPA and Rumplestiltskin. Unfortunately, Baeltane recently closed, and I’m not sure what Alan’s next move will be, beer-wise, but hoping we’ll learn something soon. Join me in wishing Alan a very happy birthday.
[Note: first two photos purloined from Facebook]
Today in 1902, US Patent 3469992 A was issued, an invention of Frede B. Strandskov and Henry L. Ziliotto, assigned to the F&M Schaefer Brewing Co., for their “Chill Stability and Foam Adherence of Beer.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes these claims:
The present invention relates to improvements in the chemical preservation of beer and more particularly it relates to the improvement of the chill stability and the foam adherence properties of beer which has been preserved against microbial growth by the addition thereto of a chemical preservative.
It is a desideratum in the beer making art to eliminate the necessity for pasteurization or refrigeration of finished beer. This is desirable (1) to avoid possible deleterious effects on the taste of the commercial product; (2) to avoid having to keep the beer refrigerated in storage before consumption; and/or (3) to obtain saving in cost per unit produced. It is known that beer may be preserved against microbial growth and the above objects thus accomplished, by treating the finished beer with heptyl parahydroxybenzoate, i.e., the heptyl ester of para-hydroxybenzoic acid as well as alkali metal or alkaline earth metal salts thereof. The discovery of the use of this compound to preserve finished beer represents a great advance in the art of beer making and provides the means by which the disadvantages of the necessity of pasteurization and/or refrigeration may be avoided. It has been discovered that the preservation in the abovemanner, however, tends to introduce complications which it is desirable to overcome if the most acceptable beer product is to be obtained.
In order to be commercially acceptable, a beer must possess certain properties; for example, it must be sparkling clear. Two additional properties which are most significant to beer connoisseurs are referred to as chill stability and foam adherence. The first of these relates to the property noted above as sparkling clear. As the name implies, on occasion a haze forms in some beer when it is chilled. As the temperature of the beer is returned to room temperature, the haze disappears, only to reappear upon subsequent rechilling. This haze is referred to as chill haze. The second of these significant properties, foam adherence, is of special importance to the connoisseurs. This property relates to the adherence of the beer foam to the sides of the drinking glass as the foam collapses or as the glass is being emptied. Beer, which in all other respects has excellent potential, may be excluded from the market solely because of the lack of an acceptable level of foam adherence. One of the marks of a beer connoisseur is his appreciation of the significance of beer foam adherence to the sides of the drinking glass.
3,469,992 Patented Sept. 30, 1969 In the instant invention it is important to note that foam adherence is notably distinct from the property of foam retention. Foam retention, or foam life, is a quality denoting the ability of the head, or layer of foam on a beer, to resist collapse with passage of time. Foam adherence as noted above refers to the ability of foam, as it collapses or as the beer is drained away, to leave a film of foam curtains or lace clinging to the walls of the container. It is from this curtain that the measurement of foam adherence is obtained. A significant foam curtain may be formed from beer, the head of which has completely collapsed and disappeared.
When finished beer is preserved against microbial growth by the addition thereto of heptyl para-hydroxybenzoate or a salt thereof, it has been found that adverse effects are sometimes produced on the acceptable values for chill stability and foam adherence. It is the object of the instant invention to overcome these adverse effects in order that the most commercially acceptable product possible may be obtained.
Today is the birthday of Jesse Friedman, co-founder of Almanac Beer Co.. I first got to know Jesse when he was writing his beer and food blog, Beer & Nosh, but he’s since gone on to partner with Damian Fagan to create “Farm-to-Barrel” beers in 2010. They currently make three year-round beers and a plethora of individual seasonals under the “Farm to Barrel Series” umbrella, usually with local ingredients, often fruit or field. Join me in wishing Jesse a very happy birthday.
Today in 1902, US Patent 710145 A was issued, an invention of John M. Dieterle, for his “Beer Cooler.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes these claims:
This invention relates to new and useful improvements in beer-coolers, the object of my invention being to provide a self-cleaning beer-cooler and one which will be more sanitary in its operation.
As at present constructed beer-coolersI consist of a number of parallel communicating tubes having pipes for the ingress and egress of the beer extending from the same side of the beer-cooler. The beer is admitted to the cooler and ows therethrough to the pipe leading to the faucet. The pipes through which the beer runs, composing the cooler, necessarily gather a sediment deposited by the beer and become lined with organic matter, which is deleterious and unwholesome in the beer. Heretofore beer-coolers have been constructed with. end caps covering the ends of the several tubes, and an elongated brush has been separately inserted into each of these tubes for the purpose of removing foreign matter which accumulates therein. This means of cleaning the tubes is inconvenient because it is necessary to remove the end caps from the row of tubes, and, being inconvenient, this cleaning is likely to be neglected. Moreover, it is not as effectual as the means hereinafter described, for the use of which my improved beer-cooler is adapted.
In beer coolers as heretofore constructed there has always been a comparatively long line of pipe intervening between the cooler and the faucet, and the beer while passing through this pipe, after having been cooled, again rises somewhat in temperature, due to the fact that while the beer-cooler is surrounded by ice or other suitable cold-producing mediaA the conducting-pipe just referred 5o to has not been similarly cooled.
The objects of my invention, therefore, are threefold-first, to increase the frequency of cleaning beer-coolers by making it easy to do so, thus increasing the sanitariness of the process; second, to construct a beer-cooler which is self-cleaning, and thereby more effectually to cleanse the same, and thus conduce to a more sanitary method of cooling beer, and, third, to provide a beer-cooler so constructed as to be located adjacent to the faucet or beer-tap without the intervention of a pump ‘or long line of conducting-pipe.
Wednesday’s ad is for Miller High Life, from 1948. In this ad, from the back of a baseball game program, two players are arguing while an umpire. It’s to say exactly what’s going on since the catcher appears to holding the bat. How, or why, he took it from the batter is anybody’s guess. The ball is on the ground and another player is laying down behind, possibly on a base, and watching the scene unfold. As for the ump, he just seems to be standing there serenely, with his hands folded in front of him, waiting for the storm to subside. I think they could all use a beer.
Today in 1959, US Patent 2906624 A was issued, an invention of Pincus Deren, assigned to Pabst Brewing Co., for his “Apparatus and Method for Extracting Air from Beverages.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes these claims:
The present invention consists in the method or process of controlling the air content of carbonated beverages, especially bottled beer, and to the apparatus for carrying out the process.
It is well known that conventional practices in bottling carbonated beverages, particularly beer, causes a certain amount of oxidation of some of the constituents of the product, resulting in an undesirable change in flavor and in accelerated instability which greatly reduces the shelf life of the beverage.
Numerous attempts were made to eliminate’the excess air, and it was found that to remove the excess air successfully it was necessary to cause the beverage to foam and permit the latter to rise in the neck of the bottle to expel the air above the liquid level. Also, it was found that, to achieve good results, enough of the foam must be formed to fill the neck with fine bubbles to the top of the rim of the bottleneck.
One means for producing foam is by knocking the bottle sufliciently to cause the release of the gas in the beer; another means is by jetting or squirting a stream of beer into the beer in the bottle after it has been filled. A third method is by the injection of a stream of CO gas into the liquid.
Control of the degree of foaming by the methods just described is very difficult. When the knocking procedure is used, the condition of the surface of the bottle influences the degree of foaming. When jetting, either with beer or with CO gas, the liquid content is disturbed, and small variations in the temperature of the product and on the inside surface of the container will result in different degrees of foaming. The uncontrolled foaming results in either great variations in the final air content, or in the loss of large quantities of beer.
The primary object of the present invention is to overcome the disadvantages inherent in the conventional 7 Another object of the invention resides in the provision of novel means for removing most of the air before the foam is formed.
A further object is to reduce the losses of beverage due to excessive foaming and thereby practically eliminate socalled short fills.
A still further object resides in the provision of novel means for creating instantaneous suction on the liquid just as the foam starts to form to facilitate the removal of air.
Still another object of the invention consists in the provision of a new and novel apparatus to permit the process and the steps thereof to be accomplished and carried out successfully.
Numerous other objects and advantages will be apparent throughout the progress of the specification.
This is only marginally about beer, but since I’m often reading over data, statistics and scientific reports, notions of causation and correlation have become a subject of great interest. This is a Slideshare by Mark Madson, a research analyst with Third Nature in Portland, Oregon. Apparently in schools teaching business, marketing and the like, instructors often include a tale showing a correlation between the sales of beer and diapers, to illustrate thinking in new ways and how seemingly unrelated items might be connected, or could be connected by a savvy company. Having worked retail for many years during various stages of my life, the science of getting a customer’s attention through shelf placement, cross-merchandising and other strategies I find fascinating, in part because it’s a window into human nature itself. In his presentation, Beer, Diapers, and Correlation: A Tale of Ambiguity, Madson examines the oft-related story of a correlation between beer and diapers and tries to find out its origin and whether or not it’s actually true.
The story of the correlation between beer and diaper sales is commonly used to explain product affinities in introductory data mining courses. Rarely does anyone ask about the origin of this story. Is it true? Why is it true? What does true mean anyway?
The latter question is the most interesting because it challenges the ideas of accuracy in data and analytic models.
This is the real history of the beer and diapers story, explaining its origins and truth, based on repeated analyses of retail data over two decades. It will show that one can have multiple contradictory results from analytic models, and how they can all be true.