Beer Birthday: Marty Nachel

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Today is the 59th birthday of beer writer Marty Nachel, author of Beer For Dummies and Homebrewing For Dummies. I’ve gotten to know Marty better over the last few years, judging the finals of the Longshot Homebrew competition and the World Beer Awards, and he’s a great person to share a pint with. Join me in wishing Marty a very happy birthday.

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Marty, me and a few others judging the finals of the Longshot Homebrew Competition at Samuel Adams HQ in Boson in 2013.

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Marty and Drew Nachel enjoying a beer in Northern Italy.

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Marty with his older sister Diane in, maybe, the late 1970s. [Note: Last two photos purloined from Facebook.]

Historic Beer Birthday: Edward F. Sweeney

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Today is the birthday of Edward F. Sweeney (May 10, 1860-1923). Although born in San Francisco, Sweeney was involved with founding the Seattle Brewing & Malting Company, the makers of Rainier Beer, along with several other brewery and other businesses in the Seattle area.

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Here’s a biography of Sweeney from “An Illustrated History of the State of Washington,” by Rev. H.K. Hines, published in 1893.

Edward F. Sweeney, Secretary of the Seattle Brewing & Malting Company, is a native son of the Golden West, born in San Francisco, California, May 10, 1860.

His father, Morgan Sweeney, was a California pioneer of 1850, who made mining the occupation of his life. He (Morgan) was married in California to Miss Mary Nunan¹, whose father was also a pioneer of the State.

Edward F. Sweeney was educated at St. Mary’s College in San Francisco. His business career began at the age of seventeen, in the French Savings Bank, but shortly after be entered the office of the brewery² of M. Nunan and remained two years. He then went to the Fredericksburg Brewery at San Jose and entered practically into the study of the brewery business. After becoming thoroughly conversant with all details of manufacture and with methods of conducting such an enterprise, he returned to San Francisco as superintendent of Mr. Nunan’s plant, which turned out about 30,000 barrels of beer per year.

In 1882-84 (depending on the account), he came to Seattle, and, forming a co-partnership with W. J. Rule, built a small brewery south of town for the manufacture of steam beer. The firm of Rule & Sweeney continued about eighteen months (sic), when Mr. Rule retired and Mr. Sweeney continued operations alone, gradually increasing the extent of his plant as the conditions of the trade demanded.

In 1888 he organized a stock company known as the Claussen-Sweeney Brewing Company, with a capital of $80,000. The brewery was then rebuilt, and with improved machinery they entered exclusively into the manufacture of lager beer, with an annual output of 36,000 barrels, which was sold throughout the Northwest. In May, 1891, Mr. Claussen³ sold his interest to Mr. George F. Gund⁴, and the business was continued up to the spring of 1893, when the company consolidated with the Bay View Brewing Company and the Albert Braun Brewing Company, incorporating as the Seattle Brewing & Malting Company; capital stock, $1,000,000. Mr. Sweeney was elected secretary of the new organization, whose plant has a capacity for an annual output of 150,000 barrels.

Mr. Sweeney is also a stockholder of the King County Bank; a director of the National Bank of Commerce; owns valuable real-estate interests in Seattle, and mining interests in the Cascade Mountains. Socially, he affiliates with the K. of P., B.P.O.E., the Seattle Athletic Club and the Seattle Yacht Club. He is also a member of the Chamber of Commerce, and is a member of the manufacturing committee of that institution.

Gary Flynn, in his wonderful Brewery Gems, points out that there are several discrepancies with that account and he tries to correct them and adds later details of Sweeney’s life.

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And here’s another from “An Illustrated History of the State of Washington.”

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And here’s an account of how the brewery came to be known as the Seattle Brewing & Malting Company from the “History of Seattle from the Earliest Settlement to the Present Time, Volume 2,” by Clarence Bagley

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Beer Birthday: Fred Eckhardt

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Esteemed Portland beer writer Fred Eckhardt would have turned 91 today. Portland’s Fred Eckhardt was a living legend, especially in his home city, having pioneered writing about and defining beer styles with his early book on the subject, The Essentials of Beer Style, published in 1989. This weekend, the first FredFest will be held without Fred in attendance. The beer festival honoring Fred has been held around his birthday since he turned 80. Last Sunday the 12th annual FredFest. If you missed it, raise a toast to Fred’s memory, and today join me in wishing Fred a very happy birthday.

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Fred Eckhardt and me at the Great American Beer Festival in 2005.

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At the Celebrator’s 18th anniversary party in February. From left: Shaun O’Sullivan, from 21st Amendment, Fred Eckhardt, the woman who wanted this picture of all her beer writing “heroes” in the first place, me, Tom Dalldorf, Celebrator publisher, and Randy Griggs, with DBi and the BN.

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Fred with fellow Portland beer writer Lisa Morrison.

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Alan Sprints, of Hair of the Dog Brewery, with Fred Eckhardt, at Hair of the Dog’s open house in 2008 during OBF.