Tuesday’s Independence Day ad is by the Brewing Industry Foundation, from 1944, part of a series of ads the beer industry undertook during World War 2 under the title “Morale is a Lot of Little Things.” It was one of the first concerted efforts by the brewing industry after they were getting back on their feet after prohibition finally ended around a decade before. The series tried to show support for the troops and help with morale at home. And it must have worked, because the campaign won awards at the time. In this ad, a Navy man is writing a letter home, reminiscing about how good those grilled steaks used to taste, along with a “refreshing glass of beer,” and lots of other little things that that help improve his morale.
Today is the birthday of Sammy Fuchs (July 4, 1884-April 5, 1969). He was born in the New York City neighborhood known as the Bowery, probably in 1884, although at least one source gives 1905 as his birth year. “He was a busboy, waiter, and a restaurant manager before he opened up his famous saloon at 267 Bowery in 1934″ known as “Sammy’s Bowery Follies.” Open until 1970, eight years before I moved to New York City, it sounds like it was an amazing place.
This account of Sammy Fuchs is from “The Bowery: A History of Grit, Graft and Grandeur,” by Eric Ferrara:
In their December 4, 1944 issue, Life magazine featured the bar and wrote the following:
“From 8 in the morning until 4 the next morning Sammy’s is an alcoholic haven for the derelicts whose presence has made the Bowery a universal symbol of poverty and futility. It is also a popular stopping point for prosperous people from uptown who like to see how the other half staggers”
There were lots of photographers who visited the bar, and as a result lots of pictures exist from its heyday, and many are online. See, for example, Sammy’s Stork Club of the Bowery New York: ‘An Alcoholic Haven’ of Prospering Poverty, Sammy’s Bowery Follies c. 1945 from Mashable, or The Chiseler.
This account is by photographer Arthur “Weegee” Fellig in his book “Naked City,” published in 2002, but describing the Bowery in the 1940s:
Here’s a few more random photos of Sammy Fuchs.
And here’s a short video of the history of Sammy’s Bowery Follies.
Today is the 67th birthday of Gary Gillman, an attorney in Toronto, who also writes online at Beer et seq. He’s been a beer enthusiast for over forty years, and started participating online as soon as that became viable, focusing on history. In his daily life, he represents several breweries, as well as other food and beverage businesses, so brings a unique perspective to his writing. He’s also contributed articles to several beer magazines. Join me in wishing Gary a very happy birthday.
Today is the birthday of Alonzo Gilford Van Nostrand (July 4, 1854-November 5, 1923). He was born in Brooklyn, New York. His father, William Tredwell Van Nostrand bought the Bunker Hill Breweries, which had been founded in 1821, and in 1878, Alonzo Gilford became a partner and took over the brewery from his father. It was originally known as the John Cooper & Thomas Gould Brewery, and Crystal Lake Brewery, but Alozno’s father renamed it the Wm. T. Van Nostrand & Co. Brewery in 1877, though they used the trade name Bunker Hill Breweries Brewery from 1890 on. It remained open until prohibition, but reopened briefly after repeal as the Van Nostrand Brewing Co., but lasted less than a year, closing in 1934.
Here’s a short biography from Find-a-Grave:
Some records say he was born on Jul 3rd 1854, but on a passport application Alonzo himself says he was born on July 4th 1854 in New York. He graduated from the English High School of Boston, Mass. From 1872 to 1875 he was employed in his father’s brewery and was admitted as a partner in 1878. Following his father, he was the proprietor of the very famous Bunker Hill Breweries of Charlestown (Boston), Massachusetts, which was in business in Massachusetts from 1821 until prohibition. The plural “Breweries” does not indicate locations in different towns, but rather was used because there were two facilities in Charlestown which made beer (using bottom fermenting yeast) and ale (using top fermenting yeast). in 1879 Alonzo originated the “P & B” (Purest & Best) Trademark for his ale. He started bottling ale in the English fashion to compete with Bass. At the time, “P&B ale had a reputation second to none and was the only malt liquor used in the Massachusetts General and City Hospitals and others for the sick and convalescent.” Before closing, Bunker Hill was undoubtedly the most prolific advertiser among the Boston area breweries. Brands included Boston Club Lager, Bunker Hill Lager, Old Musty Ale, Owl Musty, Van Nostrand’s Porter, and P.B. (Purest Best) Ale, Bock, Lager, Porter, Stock Ale, and Stout. PB Ale reappeared briefly after prohibition circa 1933 or 1934, as shown on post prohibition items including a tin over cardboard sign and 2 different labels from the Feigenspan Brewery of Newark New Jersey and a label from the Dobler Brewery of Albany New York. Alonzo died in the Vanderbilt Hotel, Park Avenue and 34th Street, Manhattan, New York. He was a member of the Boston Chamber of Commerce, the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company and the Bostonian Society. He traveled extensively, and in 1907 made a trip around the world. He was a member of the Merchants Club, the Boston City Club, the Eastern Yacht Club, the City Club of New York, the Beverly Yacht Club, the Sphinx Club and various other clubs and societies.
And this is from “Who’s Who in New England,” published in 1909:
This account of Van Nostrand is from “Herringshaw’s American Blue-book of Biography: Prominent Americans of 1919:”
And this is a history of the Bunker Hills Breweries from “100 Years of Brewing History:”
This biography is from the breweriana website, Rick’s Bottle Room:
ALONZO G. VAN NOSTRAMO
Dutch forbears, can turn to the maternal line and trace his ancestry from those who settled in New England, who suffered the deprivations of the early colonists, who participated in the wars with the Indians and French and finally in the Revolution, and who helped to make this part of the United States what it is to-day. Mr. Van Nostrand’s mother’s maiden name was Mehetabel Bradlee. She is the daughter of Thomas and Ann (Howard) Bradlee, and was born in the old house at the corner of Tremont and Hollis Streets in Boston, from which her grandfather and other patriots disguised as Indians sallied forth as members of the Boston Tea Party in 1773. Her ancestor in direct line was Daniel Bradley, who came from London in 1635 in the ship Elizabeth, settling in Haverhill, Massachusetts, where he was killed in the Indian Massacre of August 13, 1689.
Alonzo G. Van Nostrand was born July 4, 1854. He was not quite eighteen years of age when, graduating from the English High School, he was given a clerkship in the small brewery on Alford Street. During the three years following he worked his way through every department, gaining a comprehensive and practical knowledge of the business and its possibilities. In 1875 he was taken into partnership by his father. Thereafter the development of the plant and the business was steady and significant. It was in 1875 that the P. B. trademark was originated and adopted. A bottling building was erected, with a storage capacity of 240,000 bottles. In 1891 the brewing of Bunker Hill Lager was begun in a new brewery. Later another brew house was completed at a cost of $100,000 to meet the increasing demand. At the present time the breweries cover an entire block of four acres and there is no room for further expansion, except by increasing the height of buildings. Mr. Van Nostrand made a trip around the world in 1907. He is married and has one son now in Harvard College. Mrs. Van Nostrand’s maiden name was Jane Bradford Eldridge. She is a daughter of Captain Eldridge, of Fairhaven, and is a lineal descendant of Governor Bradford, of the Plymouth Colony, who landed from the Mayflower in 1620. Mr. and Mrs. Van Nostrand occupy the Van Nostrand residence at 482 Beacon Street. Mr. Van Nostrand holds membership in a score or more of clubs and associations, including art and historical societies in Boston and New York, and is a member of the leading yacht clubs.
He considers that the best advice that he can offer to young men just starting in life can be tersely stated as follows:
“Be honest, and particularly with yourself. Concentrate your efforts on one thing at a time. Undertake only what you believe you can accomplish, but when once started, never give up.”
Mr. Van Nostrand has developed a group of splendid, modern brewery buildings, each equipped for a special purpose, but those buildings would be useless, that equipment would rust in idleness, were it not for the fact that, in the midst of intense competition and in resistance of the constant temptation to consolidate forces and reduce standards, he has chosen his own path, has sought to produce, without regard to cost, malt beverages that will surpass any of domestic brewing and will compare with the best of Europe, and has made the P. B. Brewery the standard by which all others in New England are gaged, or seek to be gaged, in public estimate. And that takes us back to the original point that pride of ancestry is a good thing and that business ability is better; but that, when pride of ancestry and superlative business ability are blended and aged in the vat of commercial experience, the output is inevitably as good as can be asked for, the best that can be obtained.
Without a doubt, this is one of my favorite old beer names: “Owl-Musty Good Old Ale.” What a crazy name. Who would want something “owl-musty?” But it was obviously popular, so who knows?
Today is the 50th birthday – the Big 5-O — of Dave Hoops, former Master Brewer at Fitger’s Brewhouse in Duluth, Minnesota. After leaving Fitger’s he’s formed a consulting business, Bev-Craft, to help new breweries get started and also specialized consulting services for existing breweries, but even more exciting is he’s started his own brewery, Hoops Brewing, which has recently opened in Duluth. I first met Dave when he was brewing in the Bay Area in the 1990s, but lost touch after moved to the midwest. Happily, I’ve been seeing more and more of him at beer events and judging for GABF. Join me in wishing Dave a very happy birthday.
[Note: All photos purloined from Facebook.]