Beer Birthday: Bill Brand

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Today would have been Bill Brand’s 79th birthday, if not for the tragic events of February 8, 2009. Bill, of course, was hit by a Muni Train that evening and passed away twelve days later, on February 20. He was a bastion of support for the local beer community for decades, and one of it’s most visible media faces. He did a staggering amount of good to help brewers throughout the Bay Area, and wrote about the beer he loved so much with an unmatched passion and zeal. His Bottoms Up blog was read by millions, the newest form of his What’s On Tap newsletter that stretched back into the early 1990s. It was my great honor to take over his column and try to continue his legacy of support for craft brewers in the Bay Area and beyond. Drink a toast to the memory and legacy of William “Bill” Brand today. Happy birthday Bill, you are most certainly missed.

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Dueling laptops; Bill and me at Magnolia on February 6 for the tapping of Napa Smith Original Albion Ale by Don Barkley. Photo by Shaun O’Sullivan.

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At the Falling Rock during GABF week in 2004. Clockwise from left, Bill, Lisa Morrison, me, Tom Dalldorf, Stephen Beaumont and my cousin Mike, who lived in Denver at the time.

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Bill toasting with a pitcher of Oakland’s new Linden Street Brewery, with Fraggle at the far right, whose birthday would also have been today. Photo by RRifkin.

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Bill taking notes at the Monk’s Blood Dinner at 21st Amendment, February 8, 2009. Photo by Jesse Friedman of Beer & Nosh.

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Drink a toast to Bill today, it’s how he would have wanted to be remembered.

Beer Bornday: Fraggle

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Today would have been the 50th birthday of Mark Martone, better known to the beer world as “Fraggle.” Fraggle always called them borndays, so I’ll continue that tradition for him. Unfortunately, he suffered a stroke three years ago in late June and passed away a few days later, on July 5, 2014. Fraggle, along with Rebecca Boyles, founded the terrific Beer Revolution in Oakland, near Jack London Square on 3rd Street. I first met Fraggle when I featured him and Rebecca in an article I did for Beer Advocate magazine on beer geeks several years ago. It’s been great to see them turn their passion into their livelihood, and go from civilian to pro over the last few years. Join me in wishing Fraggle a very happy bornday, and raise a toast to his memory today or tonight or all day long. He would have wanted it that way.

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Fraggle and Jen Muehlbauer at the Celebrator 25th anniversary party in 2013.

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Jesse Friedman, Fraggle and Ron Silberstein at the Anchor Holiday Party in 2012.

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With Steve Donohue and me at the SF Beer Week opening gala in 2014.

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Pouring beer for Linden Street at the Winter Brews Festival in 2010.

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Rebecca and Fraggle at Santa Rosa’s Beerfest in 2007.

Beer In Ads #2226: Simple Hospitality Is Back In Style Again


Saturday’s ad is a trade ad, by the United States Brewing Industry Foundation, from 1942. After prohibition ended, the industry started doing PSA-type ads in an attempt to create goodwill for beer and brewers. They would later go on to do a fairly sophisticated series of ads between 1946 and 1956, known unofficially as Beer Belongs. Officially, they were “The Home Life in America” series, consisting of 120 ads, with a new ad running in major periodicals each month. Last year, for my Beer in Ads series, I featured every one of them. But in the years before that, the U.S. Brewing Industry Foundation (a precursor to the original Brewer’s Association) dabbled with a variety of similar ads promoting the industry as a whole. These were especially popular during World War 2, and in fact they even won an award from the government for some of these ads. Most of the ads were black and white, although a few were in color, though usually in a minimal way, with a few colors accented rather than being in full color.

In this ad, a kindly looking woman carries a tray of four full pilsner glasses of beer along with a bowl of potato chips. If that’s simple hospitality, keep it coming. And I love this bit of wisdom from the copy. “It is the natural companion of good food … making good-things-to-eat taste their best.”

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Beer Birthday: Anat Baron

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Today is the birthday of filmmaker Anat Baron, whose Beer Wars movie started people writing and talking about the beer business, from all sorts of angles, five years ago, and while it’s slowed down, the discussion has yet to have completely gone away. Or as Alan from A Good Beer Blog puts it, “joined to the long standing discussion about the beer business and added an interesting interpretation.” Love it or loathe it, it has certainly managed to capture people’s attention, and if that’s all it’s done, that’s still a huge positive to my way of thinking. But it’s also opened quite a few minds to what those of us who’ve been embedded in the beer business have known forever, which is how the business operates, where it’s fair and unfair, and what you can do as a consumer to support the beers and breweries you love. Join me in wishing Anat a very happy birthday.

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Anat behind the bar.

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Publicity photo for Beer Wars.

Beer In Ads #2225: Bill For Taxes (Federal, State and Local)


Friday’s ad is a trade ad, by the United States Brewing Industry Foundation, from 1939. After prohibition ended, the industry started doing PSA-type ads in an attempt to create goodwill for beer and brewers. They would later go on to do a fairly sophisticated series of ads between 1946 and 1956, known unofficially as Beer Belongs. Officially, they were “The Home Life in America” series, consisting of 120 ads, with a new ad running in major periodicals each month. Last year, for my Beer in Ads series, I featured every one of them. But in the years before that, the U.S. Brewing Industry Foundation (a precursor to the original Brewer’s Association) dabbled with a variety of similar ads promoting the industry as a whole. These were especially popular during World War 2, and in fact they even won an award from the government for some of these ads. Most of the ads were black and white, although a few were in color, though usually in a minimal way, with a few colors accented rather than being in full color.

In this ad, a companion to yesterday’s ad showing surprised man holding a “Bill For Taxes.” This ad is the bill itself. Paper-clipped to the bill is this: “In addition to paying more than 400 million dollars a year in taxes … Beer has made a million new jobs, since re-legalization. Beer also buys each year 3 million acres of farm crops … and pays a million dollars for them.

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Beer Birthday: Jim Crooks

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Today is the 44th birthday of Jim Crooks, who is currently the Master Blender at Firestone Walker Barrelworks in Buellton. But before that, Jim was the QC manager, and was one of the original brewers there when it was still SLO Brewing when Adam Firestone and David Walker bought the brewery. When I wrote an Innovator’s Series piece for Beer Connoisseur magazine on Matt Brynildson, naturally, Jim came up when re-telling the story of the transition:

But Matt and another SLO brewer, Jim Crooks, weren’t ready to give up quite so easily. What happened next is local legend. The bank didn’t lock the doors or turn off the power. Maybe it was an oversight, maybe not. So Brynildson and Crooks came in and kept making beer while the brewery was still in receivership, and continued filling orders. The idea, they thought, was to just hang on. They both loved the area and the brewery that they’d poured so much of themselves into. The pair hoped that if they kept it alive, that someone would come to the rescue, buy the brewery and give them both jobs. The gamble paid off and their harebrained idea actually worked. Both Matt and Jim Crooks continue to work there to this day, with Jim leading the Barrelworks production in Buellton.

I’ve run to Jim several times over the years, and since heading up Barrelworks in 2013, he’s been knocking it out of the park. Join me in wishing Jim a very happy birthday.

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Jim, Chuck Silva and me at the Firestone Walker Invitational in 2016.

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At the 2008 GABF, Eric and Lauren Salazar, both from New Belgium Brewing, sandwiched by Jim, and Chris Swersey, Competition Manager for GABF judging.

Matt-and-JimMatt and Jim at the Firestone Walker Invitational [photo by Sean Paxton].

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A happy Jim, also at last year’s Firestone Walker Invitational [photo purloined from Facebook].

Beer In Ads #2224: Raise An Extra Million Dollars A Day?


Thursday’s ad is a trade ad, by the United States Brewing Industry Foundation, from 1939. After prohibition ended, the industry started doing PSA-type ads in an attempt to create goodwill for beer and brewers. They would later go on to do a fairly sophisticated series of ads between 1946 and 1956, known unofficially as Beer Belongs. Officially, they were “The Home Life in America” series, consisting of 120 ads, with a new ad running in major periodicals each month. Last year, for my Beer in Ads series, I featured every one of them. But in the years before that, the U.S. Brewing Industry Foundation (a precursor to the original Brewer’s Association) dabbled with a variety of similar ads promoting the industry as a whole. These were especially popular during World War 2, and in fact they even won an award from the government for some of these ads. Most of the ads were black and white, although a few were in color, though usually in a minimal way, with a few colors accented rather than being in full color.

In this ad, a surprised man looks back at us over his glasses, while holding a comical “Bill For Taxes.” The bill is for $1,000,000 per day. The point of the ad is that if beer hadn’t come back, politicians taxpayers would have to find that same amount somewhere to fund government, and the obvious place would be from taxpayers, and they’d have to make up the difference. His expression is great.

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Historic Beer Birthday: Michael Brand

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Today is the birthday of Michael Brand (March 23, 1826-October 26, 1897). Born in Gau-Odernheim, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, he was trained as a brewer and came to America and became a partner with Valentine Busch in 1852 and Busch and Brand Brewery continued until Busch passed away in 1872, when in became the Michael Brand Brewery in Chicago, Illinois, though many sources say that it was 1878 when the name change took place. In 1889, in became the United States Brewing Co., which it remained until in closed in 1955.

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Here’s a short biography from the “History of Chicago.”

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Here’s another short history of his brewery for “One Hundred Years of Brewing.”

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Historic Beer Birthday: Maximilian Schaefer

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Today is the anniversary of the death of Maximilian Schaefer, whose exact birth date is not known (1819-March 23, 1904). He was born in Wetzlar, which is part of Hesse, in what today is Germany. He arrived in New York in 1839, a year after his brother Frederick came to America, and the two co-founded F&M Schaefer Brewing Co. in 1842. It was Max who brought with him a recipe for what would become their lager beer.

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This is his obituary from Find a Grave:

Beer Magnate. In 1839 he emigrated to the United States, carrying with him the recipe for lager, a popular brew in Germany that was then unknown in America. He joined his brother Frederick in the employ of a local brewer, and in 1842 the Schaefer brothers bought out the owner, establishing F & M Schaefer Brewing. Lager proved popular and the Schaefer company became one of the country’s largest beer producers, with Maximilian Schaefer remaining active in the company until failing health caused him to retire in the late 1890s. By the early 1900s, its customer base in the Northeastern United States made Schaefer the most popular beer in the country, a position it maintained until ceding it to Budweiser in the 1970s. The Schaefer brand continued to decline, and as of 1999 is owned by Pabst Brewing, a holding company that contracts for the brewing of formerly popular regional brands.

This is what the brewery looked like in 1842, when Maximilian and his brother opened the brewery.

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Below is part of a chapter on the history of F&M Schaefer Brewing Co., from Will Anderson’s hard-to-find Breweries in Brooklyn.

Longest operating brewery in New York City, last operating brewery in New York City [as of 1976], and America’s oldest lager beer brewing company — these honors, plus many others, all belong to The F. & M. Schaefer Brewing Co.

“F. & M.”, as most breweriana buffs know, stands for Frederick and Maximilian, the brothers who founded Schaefer. Frederick Schaefer, a native of Wetzlar, Prussia, Germany, emigrated to the U.S. in 1838. When he arrived in New York City on October 23rd he was 21 years old and had exactly $1.00 to his name. There is some doubt as to whether or not he had been a practicing brewer in Germany, but there is no doubt that he was soon a practicing brewer in his adopted city. Within two weeks of his landing, Frederick took a job with Sebastian Sommers, who operated a small brewhouse on Broadway, between 18th and 19th Streets. Frederick obviously enjoyed both his job and life in America, and the next year his younger brother, Maximilian, decided to make the arduous trip across the Atlantic also. He arrived in June of 1839 and brought with him a formula for lager, a type of beer popular in Germany but unheard of in the United States. The brothers dreamed, and planned, and saved – and in the late summer of 1842 they were able to buy the small brewery from Sommers. The official, and historic, starting date was September, 1842.

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The new brewery they built in 1849.

Sommers’ former facility was a start, but that’s all it was, as it was much too small. New York beer drinkers immediately took a liking to “the different beer” the brothers brewed, and in 1845 Frederick and Maximilian developed a new plant several blocks away, on 7th Avenue, between 16th and 17th Streets (7th Avenue and 17th Street is today, of course, well known as the home of Barney’s, the giant men’s clothing store). This, too, proved to be just a temporary move; the plant was almost immediately inadequate to meet demands and the brothers wisely decided to build yet another new plant, and to locate it in an area where they could expand as needed. Their search took them to what were then the “wilds” of uptown Manhattan. In 1849 the brewery, lock, stock and many barrels, was moved to Fourth Ave. (now Park Avenue) and 51st Street. Here, just north of Grand Central Station, the Schaefers brewed for the next 67 years, ever-expanding their plant. The only problem was that the brothers were not the only ones to locate “uptown.” The area in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s grew rapidly all during the last half of the 19th century, and especially after the opening of the original Grand Central Terminal in 1871. Frederick and Maximilian had wisely purchased numerous lots between 50th and 52nd Streets, and by the time they passed away (Frederick in 1897 and Maximilian in 1904) the brewery was, literally, sitting atop a small fortune. Maximilian’s son, Rudolph J. Schaefer, fully realized this when he assumed the Presidency of the brewery in 1912. In that same year Rudolph purchased the 50% of the company owned by his uncle Frederick’s heirs. He thus had complete control of the brewery, and one of the first matters he turned to was the suitable location for a new, and presumably everlasting, plant. In 1914, in anticipation of its move, Schaefer sold part of the Park Ave. site to St. Bartholomew’s Church. This sale, for a reputed $1,500,000, forced Rudolph to intensify his search for a new location. Finally, in June of 1915, it was announced that the brewery had decided on a large tract in Brooklyn, directly on the East River and bounded by Kent Avenue and South 9th and 10th Streets. Here, starting in 1915, Rudolph constructed the very best in pre-Prohibition breweries. The move across the river to their ultra-new and modern plant was made in 1916, just four years before the Volstead Act crimped the sails (and sales!) of all United States breweries, new or old alike.

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The Schaefers around 1895, with Maximilian Schaefer sitting down, his son Rudolph Schaefer standing behind him, Maximilian holding F.M. Emile Schaefer, his grandson and Rudolph’s son on his lap.

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Three generations of Schaefers.

Beer In Ads #2223: Why Responsible Brewers Are Adopting This Symbol


Wednesday’s ad is a trade ad, by the United States Brewing Industry Foundation, from 1938. After prohibition ended, the industry started doing PSA-type ads in an attempt to create goodwill for beer and brewers. They would later go on to do a fairly sophisticated series of ads between 1946 and 1956, known unofficially as Beer Belongs. Officially, they were “The Home Life in America” series, consisting of 120 ads, with a new ad running in major periodicals each month. Last year, for my Beer in Ads series, I featured every one of them. But in the years before that, the U.S. Brewing Industry Foundation (a precursor to the original Brewer’s Association) dabbled with a variety of similar ads promoting the industry as a whole. These were especially popular during World War 2, and in fact they even won an award from the government for some of these ads. Most of the ads were black and white, although a few were in color, though usually in a minimal way, with a few colors accented rather than being in full color.

In this ad, just six years after the repeal of prohibition, the brewers had formed a trade organization, the United Brewers Industrial Foundation in an effort to promote themselves as not just good brewers, but also as good citizens. You do start to see the logo pop up in member’s advertising after this point, so at least some made the effort. I don’t think it was overly effective, however, and they seemed to try several different advertising strategies over the next few years. It also doesn’t seem like the best of names, either. I wonder who thought “Industrial Foundation” sounded like a name consumer would respond positively to?

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