A Meditation On A Quart Mugg

penn-gazette
The Pennsylvania Gazette “was one of the United States’ most prominent newspapers from 1728, before the time period of the American Revolution, until 1800.” In 1729, Benjamin Franklin, and a partner (Hugh Meredith), bought the paper. “Franklin not only printed the paper but also often contributed pieces to the paper under aliases. His newspaper soon became the most successful in the colonies.”

On July 19, 1733, they published a piece entitled “A Meditation on a Quart Mugg.” It was generally attributed to Benjamin Franklin, and for years was published among collections of his writings. However, the current editors of the National Archives are not convinced that it was indeed written by Franklin, and “believe that the essay is not sufficiently characteristic of Franklin’s style to be attributed to him.” Plus, apparently “no external evidence of authorship has been found.” Despite the uncertainty of who wrote it, it remain an interesting, if odd, piece written from the point of view of the mug. It has held beer, among much else, but had more feelings and experienced more humiliations and bad treatment than I had ever thought about before. I must remember to thank my glassware for its service on a more regular basis.

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A Meditation on a Quart Mugg

Wretched, miserable, and unhappy Mug! I pity thy luckless Lot, I commiserate thy Misfortunes, thy Griefs fill me with Compassion, and because of thee are Tears made frequently to burst from my Eyes.

How often have I seen him compell’d to hold up his Handle at the Bar, for no other Crime than that of being empty; then snatch’d away by a surly Officer, and plung’d suddenly into a Tub of cold Water: Sad Spectacle, and Emblem of human Penury, oppress’d by arbitrary Power! How often is he hurry’d down into a dismal Vault, sent up fully laden in a cold Sweat, and by a rude Hand thrust into the Fire! How often have I seen it obliged to undergo the Indignities of a dirty Wench; to have melting Candles dropt on its naked Sides, and sometimes in its Mouth, to risque being broken into a thousand Pieces, for Actions which itself was not guilty of! How often is he forced into the Company of boisterous Sots, who say all their Nonsence, Noise, profane Swearing, Cursing, and Quarreling, on the harmless Mug, which speaks not a Word! They overset him, maim him, and sometimes turn him to Arms offensive or defensive, as they please; when of himself he would not be of either Party, but would as willingly stand still. Alas! what Power, or Place, is provided, where this poor Mug, this unpitied Slave, can have Redress of his Wrongs and Sufferings? Or where shall he have a Word of Praise bestow’d on him for his Well-doings, and faithful Services? If he prove of a large size, his Owner curses him, and says he will devour more than he’ll earn: If his Size be small, those whom his Master appoints him to serve will curse him as much, and perhaps threaten him with the Inquisition of the Standard. Poor Mug, unfortunate is thy Condition! Of thy self thou wouldst do no Harm, but much Harm is done with thee! Thou art accused of many Mischiefs; thou art said to administer Drunkenness, Poison, and broken Heads: But none praise thee for the good Things thou yieldest! Shouldest thou produce double Beer, nappy Ale, stallcop Cyder, or Cyder mull’d, fine Punch, or cordial Tiff; yet for all these shouldst thou not be prais’d, but the rich Liquors themselves, which tho’ within thee, twill be said to be foreign to thee! And yet, so unhappy is thy Destiny, thou must bear all their Faults and Abominations! Hast thou been industriously serving thy Employers with Tiff or Punch, and instantly they dispatch thee for Cyder, then must thou be abused for smelling of Rum. Hast thou been steaming their Noses gratefully, with mull’d Cyder or butter’d Ale, and then offerest to refresh their Palates with the best of Beer, they will curse thee for thy Greasiness. And how, alas! can thy Service be rendered more tolerable to thee? If thou submittest thy self to a Scouring in the Kitchen, what must thou undergo from sharp Sand, hot Ashes, and a coarse Dishclout; besides the Danger of having thy Lips rudely torn, thy Countenance disfigured, thy Arms dismantled, and thy whole Frame shatter’d, with violent Concussions in an Iron Pot or Brass Kettle! And yet, O Mug! if these Dangers thou escapest, with little Injury, thou must at last untimely fall, be broken to Pieces, and cast away, never more to be recollected and form’d into a Quart Mug. Whether by the Fire, or in a Battle, or choak’d with a Dishclout, or by a Stroke against a Stone, thy Dissolution happens; ’tis all alike to thy avaritious Owner; he grieves not for thee, but for the Shilling with which he purchased thee! If thy Bottom-Part should chance to survive, it may be preserv’d to hold Bits of Candles, or Blacking for Shoes, or Salve for kibed Heels; but all thy other Members will be for ever buried in some miry Hole; or less carefully disposed of, so that little Children, who have not yet arrived to Acts of Cruelty, may gather them up to furnish out their Baby-Houses: Or, being cast upon the Dunghill, they will therewith be carted into Meadow Grounds; where, being spread abroad and discovered, they must be thrown to the Heap of Stones, Bones, and Rubbish; or being left until the Mower finds them with his Scythe, they will with bitter Curses be tossed over the Hedge; and so serve for unlucky Boys to throw at Birds and Dogs; until by Length of Time and numerous Casualties, they shall be press’d into their Mother Earth, and be converted to their original Principles.

Beer Birthday: Adrian Tierney-Jones

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Today is the birthday of English beer writer Adrian Tierney-Jones. Adrian’s written several beer books, and writes online at Called to the Bar. I first got to him when he was the editor for 1001 Beers You Must Taste Before You Die, to which I contributed around two-dozen entries. I’ve also seen Adrian at events in London and Belgium since then, and he’s a great person to share a pint with. Join me in wishing Adrian a very happy birthday.

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Having another pint.

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In Leuven for the Brussels Beer Challenge last year: Adrian, with fellow Brits Tim Hampson, Tim Webb and Pete Brown.

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Me and Adrian having a beer and a chat in Belgium in 2014.

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Brussels 2015, from left: Me, Stephen Beaumont, Pete Brown, Yuri Katunin and Adrian.

[Note: first and third photos purloined from Facebook.]

Beer In Ads #2341: Morale, I Can Just See The Trout Rising


Tuesday’s 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 U.S. Marine is writing a letter home, reminiscing about little things, like fishing in Seward’s Creek, along with rowboats, baseball, and strawberries. Oh, and “the right to enjoy a refreshing glass of beer.”

Brewing Industry Foundation - USA - 1940

Beer Birthday: Peter Aldred

federation-university
Today is the 58th birthday of Peter Aldred, who is the Senior Lecturer and Program Coordinator of the Brewing Program at the Federation University. I first met Peter when he was teaching at UC Davis for a few months in 2011, and he delivered some AIBA awards to Moylan’s. Last year, we judged together at the AIBA awards in Melbourne, and took a trip to Ballarat, where he teaches brewing. Join me in wishing Peter a very happy birthday.

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Peter at Moylan’s in Novato to present the Australian International Beer Awards Trophy to Brewmaster Denise Jones and Owner Brendan Moylan.

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Peter (second from the left) with a number of the foreign judges during a dinner in Ballarat for the AIBA in 2014, including me in the back right.

Beer Birthday: Glenn Payne

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Today would have been the 63rd birthday of Glenn Payne, an Englishman who wore many beer hats, but unfortunately passed away two years ago. I first met Glenn many moons ago when he was the beer buyer for Safeway in the UK. Since then, we’ve judged together many times at both GABF and the World Beer Cup, and once at the Great British Beer Festival, too. He’s been involved with Meantime Brewing among too many projects for me to keep track of, and he’s been a great ambassador for British beer but, perhaps more importantly, for American beer in Great Britain. Join me in drinking a toast to Glenn’s memory. Cheers, mate.

Glenn Payne and Melissa Cole, from the UK
Glenn, with Melissa Cole, at GABF in 2009.

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With Chris and Cheryl Black, owners of the Falling Rock, Mark Dorber, formerly the publican of the White Horse in London (and now owner of the Anchor) and Glenn Payne at the Brewers Reception at Wynkoop during GABF Week in 2007.

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Glenn with Greg Koch, from Stone Brewing, also at GABF in 2009.

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Glenn accepting a World Beer Cup award on behalf of a British brewery who couldn’t be there in 2008.

Historic Beer Birthday: Peter Austin

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Today is the birthday of Peter Austin (July 18, 1921-January 1, 2014). He “was a British brewer. He founded Ringwood Brewery and was a co-founder and first chairman of the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA). He built some 140 new breweries in the UK and 16 other countries.”

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This overview is from his Wikipedia page:

Peter Austin was born in Edmonton, London on 18 July 1921. He went to Highgate School, followed by the British merchant navy training ship HMS Conway. His father worked for the brewing equipment supplier Pontifex, and his great-uncle had run a brewery in Christchurch.

Austin founded Ringwood Brewery in 1978. In 1979, David Bruce started his first Firkin Brewery brewpub in Elephant and Castle, London; Austin oversaw his choice of equipment and the design for its small basement brewery.

Austin was the prime mover in establishing the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) in 1980, and its first chairman. Under his leadership, SIBA campaigned for 20 years, without the support of any other body, for a progressive beer duty system (smaller breweries to pay less tax on their products) to be introduced in the UK. Such a system was finally adopted by the then Chancellor Gordon Brown in 2002.

By the time that Austin had retired from Ringwood Brewery, he had assisted in helping start 40 new UK breweries in a decade. After that, he worked internationally, in the US, France, China, Nigeria, and Russia, among others, building some 140 new breweries in 17 countries.

In the US alone, 74 new breweries were built, all using his brewing system. He taught Alan Pugsley brewing, and he went on to found Shipyard Brewing Company in 1994, and later take over Sea Dog Brewing Company.

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Peter only recently passed away. Here’s his obituary in the Guardian, written by Roger Protz:

One rain-swept day in 1978 I went to Ringwood in Hampshire to meet Peter Austin and encounter a new concept in beer making: a micro-brewery. At that time brewing was dominated by six giant national brewers who were converting their pubs to keg beers and taking over and closing many of the remaining independent breweries.

It seemed unlikely that Peter Austin’s tiny plant in a former bakery would dent the power of the Big Six nationals. But Ringwood Brewery proved to be a catalyst. Camra – the Campaign for Real Ale – had been launched in 1971, its membership had soared and its beer festivals were packed.

Rebellion was in the air and Peter Austin, who has died aged 92, was ready to meet the challenge. When he eventually retired from Ringwood he helped set up some 40 new breweries in Britain over 10 years at a rate of one every three months. He then toured the world, repeating the exercise in countries as diverse as China, France, Nigeria, Russia and the United States. In total he built some 140 breweries in 17 countries.

Peter Austin was born in Edmonton, north London, and educated in Highgate and on the Merchant Navy training ship HMS Conway. His family was closely involved in the brewing industry. A great uncle ran a brewery in Christchurch while his father worked for Pontifex, a major supplier of brewing equipment. As a result of the Hampshire connection, his first love was boats not beer and he sailed in Poole Harbour during school holidays. He joined P&O from the Conway but contracted TB and had to be invalided home from Australia.

He was not fit enough to fight in World War Two and moved into brewing. He did his “pupillage” or apprenticeship at Friary, Holroyd & Healy in Guildford, worked briefly at Morrells in Oxford and joined the Hull Brewery in 1945, where he became head brewer. He left in 1975 following a takeover by Northern Dairies.

He moved to Hampshire, bought a boat and took visitors on fishing expeditions. But the brewing bug had bit deep. In 1977 he accepted an invitation from Monty Python’s Terry Jones and Guardian writer Richard Boston – both passionate believers in the concept of small is beautiful – to build a tiny brewery in a former cattle byre at Penrhos Court in Herefordshire. He was back in brewing and a year later opened Ringwood. With business partner David Welsh, he produced Ringwood Best Bitter, Fortyniner and XXXX Porter. The strong ale Old Thumper put Ringwood and micro-brewing on the map when it won the Champion Beer of Britain award from Camra in 1988. Peter was the first chairman of the Small Independent Brewers’ Association (Siba), now the Society of Independent Brewers, which became a powerful lobbying voice for the sector.

In 1986 Peter and David Welsh moved from the original site in Ringwood into bigger buildings in the town that had once housed Tunks Brewery. Ringwood was now a substantial business, producing 80 barrels a week for pubs throughout the south and south-west. Peter sold his share to David Welsh and became a consultant, adviser and builder to aspiring brewers in Britain and then worldwide.

His biggest impact was undoubtedly in the United States where 74 breweries were built using his brewing system. Alan Pugsley learnt the brewing skills with Peter at Ringwood (pictured above with Peter) and emigrated to the U.S. where he helped set up the D L Geary Brewing Company in Portland, Maine, in1986, one of the first new-wave American micros. Pugsley opened his own Shipyard brewery in Portland in 1992 and Peter gave him permission to brew Old Thumper under license. He supplied a sample of the Ringwood yeast culture for authenticity. A new brewery using Peter Austin’s system will open this month at the Four Mile Pub in Victoria, British Columbia — a fitting memorial.

Peter Austin married twice. His first wife, Joan, died in 1972 and he married Zena, who pre-deceased him. He had five children, Roland, Jane, Henry (who died in 1992) Jeremy and Sarah, and two step-children, Philip and Leah.

His impact on good beer is immeasurable. There are more than 2,000 craft breweries in the U.S., 1,200 in Britain, 150 in Australia, 70 in New Zealand and a growing number in Italy. Beer drinkers have never had greater choice – and much of that is due to Peter Austin. Alan Pugsley at Shipyard in Maine says: “He was an inspiration” and Terry Jones hails him as “the grandfather of micro-brewing”.

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Austin with Alan Pugsley.

This tribute to his mentor is from Pugsley’s Brewing Projects International:

In 1978 Peter Austin opened Ringwood Brewery in Hampshire, England, presenting a new concept in beer making: a microbrewery. At that time in the UK brewing was dominated by six giant national brewers who were converting their pubs from cask conditioned beers ( real ale) to bland filtered keg beers and taking over and closing many of the remaining independent breweries.

It seemed unlikely that Peter Austin’s tiny plant in a former bakery would dent the power of the Big Six nationals. But Ringwood Brewery proved to be a catalyst. CAMRA – the Campaign for Real Ale – had been launched in 1971, its membership had soared and its beer festivals were packed.

Rebellion was in the air and Peter Austin was ready to meet the challenge. When he eventually retired from Ringwood he had helped set up some 40 new breweries in Britain over 10 years at a rate of one every three months. He then toured the world, repeating the exercise in countries as diverse as China, France, Belgium, Nigeria, South Africa, Russia, Canada and the United States. In total he and his consulting company built some 140 breweries in 17 countries.

Peter Austin was born in Edmonton, north London, and educated in Highgate and on the Merchant Navy training ship HMS Conway. His family was closely involved in the brewing industry. A great uncle ran a brewery in Christchurch while his father worked for Pontifex, a major supplier of brewing equipment. As a result of the Hampshire connection, his first love was boats not beer and he sailed in Poole Harbour during school holidays. He joined P&O from the Conway but contracted TB and had to be invalided home from Australia.
He was not fit enough to fight in World War Two and moved into brewing. He did his “pupillage” or apprenticeship at Friary, Holroyd & Healy in Guildford, worked briefly at Morrells in Oxford and joined the Hull Brewery in 1945, where he became head brewer. He left in 1975 following a takeover by Northern Dairies.

He moved to Hampshire, bought a boat and took visitors on fishing expeditions. But the brewing bug had bit deep. In 1977 he accepted an invitation from Monty Python’s Terry Jones and Guardian writer Richard Boston – both passionate believers in the concept of small is beautiful – to build a tiny brewery in a former cattle byre at Penrhos Court in Herefordshire. He was back in brewing and a year later opened Ringwood. With business partner David Welsh, he produced Ringwood Best Bitter, Fortyniner and XXXX Porter. The strong ale Old Thumper put Ringwood and microbrewing on the map when it won the Champion Beer of Britain award from CAMRA in 1988. Peter was the first chairman of the Small Independent Brewers’ Association (SIBA), now the Society of Independent Brewers, which became a powerful lobbying voice for the sector.

In 1986 Peter and David Welsh moved from the original site in Minty’s Yard, Ringwood into bigger buildings in the town that had once housed Tunks Brewery. Ringwood was now a substantial business, producing over 80 barrels a week for pubs throughout the south and south-west. In 1990 Peter sold his shares to David Welsh but continued consulting to aspiring brewers in Britain and worldwide.

His biggest impact was undoubtedly in the United States where over 75 breweries have been built using the Original Peter Austin Brick Kettle Brewing System. Alan Pugsley learnt the brewing skills with Peter at Ringwood and emigrated to the U.S. where he helped set up the D L Geary Brewing Company in Portland, Maine, in 1986, one of the first new-wave American micros. In 1994 Shipyard Brewing Company was opened in Portland, Maine where Ringwood Brewery gave Alan Pugsley permission to brew Peter Austin’s Old Thumper recipe under licence. Peters legacy is truly alive and well in North America particularly the North East corridor.

Peter Austin passed away January 1, 2014 at the age of 92. Peter was a master brewer, Alan Pugsley’s mentor and dear friend. He was a great man, a great brewer, and an inspiration to all whom he touched. His legacy will continue on through the many beers and brewers he inspired around the world. His impact on good beer is immeasurable. There are more than 2,500 craft breweries in the U.S., 1,200 in Britain, 150 in Australia, 70 in New Zealand and a growing number in Italy. Beer drinkers have never had greater choice – and much of that is due to Peter Austin.

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And here’s one more tribute from the Salisbury Journal:

THE founder of Ringwood brewery Peter Austin – widely credited with saving the microbrewery movement in the UK as well as introducing it to America and popularising it worldwide – has died aged 92.

Mr Austin set up the famed brewery in 1978, aged 57. He came from a brewing family; his great-uncle was a brewer in Christchurch and his father worked for Pontifex, which was the leading brewing engineering firm in the country.

After school Mr Austin joined the sail training ship HMS Conway and subsequently went to sea with P&O. He was invalided out in 1938 and convalesced before going to Friary Meux Brewery in Guildford to study.

In 1944 he worked at Morrells in Oxford and in 1945 he went as third brewer to the Hull Brewery, where he stayed for 30 years, eventually becoming head brewer.

But in 1975, disillusioned with the direction of the company after it was taken over by Northern Dairies, he left 30 years of brewing, bought a boat and ran sea-angling trips on the south coast.

Mr Austin was approached by Monty Python star Terry Jones and The Guardian beer columnist Richard Boston, who were looking for help setting up a small brewery with Martin Griffiths, the owner of a medieval manor called Penrhos Court and he leaped at the chance to return to brewing.

The Penrhos Brewery was established and this inspired Mr Austin to launch Ringwood Brewery, starting with small premises in the old station yard.

Business partner David Welsh previously described Mr Austin as “a slave to the mash tun”, often checking his brews in the early hours.

He told The Grist magazine in 1995: “One very hot summer night he went down (to the brewery) in his dressing gown and had to take this off to skim the yeast. There was a knock at the door and it turned out to be the local bobby who was confronted by Peter in his underpants, wielding a yeast scoop. ‘You’re probably wondering what I’m doing officer’, he said. ‘I didn’t like to ask, sir’,” came the reply.”

In 1982 Mr Austin hired Alan Pugsley to train to brew and work with him on brewery start-ups.

They installed more than 120 breweries in 17 countries, including Siberia, China, Nigeria and South Africa. The equipment for the Siberian brewery was lost in the Russian railway system for two years before finally turning up in Dudinka.

Mr Austin also helped found the UK’s small brewers association SIBA in 1980.

Keith Bott of Titanic Brewery in Staffordshire, the current SIBA chairman, told Camra magazine: “Peter Austin was the godfather of the microbrewing revolution in the UK.”

In 1986 Mr Austin moved the brewery to its current location, and retired two years later, aged 67. On July 12, 2007, it was announced that Ringwood had been purchased by Marston’s Plc for £19.2million.

Mr Austin’s son Jeremy said: “The family are proud of dad, who was very modest about all that he had achieved.

“Peter was a determined and colourful character who made an impression on all. He was bright and amusing right up until the end and his family and friends will miss him deeply.”

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Historic Beer Birthday: Josef Sedlmayr

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Today is the birthday of Josef Sedlmayr (July 18, 1808-March 12, 1886). He was the son of Gabriel Sedlmayr, who owned Spaten brewery, and Josef owned the Franziskaner brewery, though the two breweries later merged.

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Joseph Sedlmayr in 1861

Here’s a very short biography on Find a Grave:

Owner of the Franziskaner Brewery in Munich, which was established near the Franciscan Monastery in Munich in 1363. Up to and during Sedlmayr’s time it was known as the Franziskaner-Leistbrauerei.

According to Spaten’s website (which owns Franziskaner today)

At the same time, one of the sons of Gabriel Sedlmayr – Joseph, was the owner of the brewery Leist (Leistbrauerei), which dates back to the fifteenth century.

In 1858, he bought shares in the Franziskaner brewery, and from 1861 Joseph Sedlmayr becomes its sole owner.

In 1865, the entire production of the brewery Leist is transferred to the Franziskaner-Brauerei.

At Oktoberfest in 1872 becomes presented a new beer with an amber colour, which gave rise a new style known since then as Marzenbier.

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And here’s a timeline from the Sheehan Family Companies website:

  • 1363 – Franziskaner’s roots can be traced back to 1363. It was in this year that the brewer Seidel Vaterstetter is first mentioned as the owner of the ‘brewery next to the Franciscans’ in the Munich Residenzstrasse. The name ‘Franziskaner’ derives from the Franciscan monastery diagonally across the street.
  • 1841 – The Franziskaner Brewery moves to Lilienberg in Munich’s eastern suburb of Au. In the same year Augustin Deiglmayr, a son-in-law of Spaten’s owner Gabriel Sedlmayr the Elder, buys the Residenzstrasse brewery.
  • 1861 – Joseph Sedlmayr, owner of the Leist Brewery (probably founded in the 15th century) and son of Spaten’s Gabriel Sedlmayr the Elder, buys out August Deiglmayr, with whom he has been co-running the Residenzstrasse brewery since 1858.
  • 1865 – The Leist Brewery in Sendlinger Strasse stops its brewing operations, which are now left entirely to the Franziskaner Brewery.
  • 1872 – ‘Ur-Märzen’, the amber-colored Oktoberfest beer from Franziskaner-Leist, is served for the first time at the Schottenhamel Tent on the Oktoberfest fairgrounds. Brewed from a Viennese recipe, this golden-yellow beer is stronger than the summer beer.
  • 1909 – Gabriel Sedlmayr III, the son of Joseph Sedlmayr, turns the Franziskaner-Leist Brewery into a family-owned joint stock company, the ‘Joseph Sedlmayr Zum Franziskanerkeller (Leistbräu) AG’.
  • 1922 – The Franziskaner-Leist Brewery and the Spaten Brewery, likewise owned by the Sedlmayr family, unite to form a single joint stock company, the ‘Gabriel und Joseph Sedlmayr Spaten-Franziskaner-Leistbräu AG’, in order to combat the economic problems of the crisis-ridden postwar years and to capitalize on synergies.
  • 1935 – The Munich artist Ludwig Hohlwein designs the company’s distinctive trademark, which is still used today. The Franciscan Friar continues to stand for the unsurpassed quality of Franziskaner’s premium weiss beer.

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Curiously, the iconic Franziskaner image of the monk that’s used on their labels was only created in 1935

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Beer Birthday: Carol Stoudt

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Today is Carol Stoudt’s birthday. She and her husband Ed started the first microbrewery in Pennsylvania, Stoudt’s Brewing, not far from where I grew up. After my grandfather retired, he worked part time there helping out with maintenance. He was married to Ed’s aunt so I’m distantly related to the Stoudts’ by marriage. I grew up going to their restaurant, Stoudt’s Black Angus, but had already moved to California by the time they opened the brewery. But it’s been great seeing them at the various craft beer industry functions from year to year. Plus they make terrific beer and have created an amazing destination in Adamstown. If you haven’t been to Stoudtberg, you should definitely plan a visit. Join me in wishing Carol a very happy birthday.

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Me and Carol behind Stoudt’s bar during a Christmastime visit several years ago.

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Ed and Carol Stoudt, with Brian Dunn of Great Divide Brewing Co. in Denver, Colorado.

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Dave Alexander, former owner of the Brickskeller in D.C., with Carol at GABF.

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Carol and me at Fergie’s Place during Philly Beer Week several years ago.

Beer In Ads #2340: Morale, Sunday Morning Special


Monday’s ad is by the Brewing Industry Foundation, from 1943, 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, Mr. Potter makes his wife breakfast in bed every Sunday. It’s one of the little things helping to build morale, like “a refreshing glass of beer.”

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Historic Beer Birthday: Anthony Straub

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Today is the birthday of Anthony Straub (July 17, 1882-June 13, 1962). He was the son of Peter Straub, who founded the Straub Brewery in St. Mary’s, Pennsylvania in 1872. Anthony took over running the family brewery after his father died in 1913. The brewery is still owned and operated today by the Straub family.

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Peter Straub and two of sons, I think Anthony is on he left.

He’s mentioned in the biography from his father’s Wikipedia page:

The Straub family had been brewing a local beer for generations. As expected Peter learned a trade important to the brewing art. He became a Cooper, a craftsman who makes wooden barrels. Peter aspired to be a brewer and at the age of 19 in 1869 immigrated to the United States for a better and more prosperous life. Upon his arrival in the United States he found employment at the Eberhardt and Ober Brewing Company in Pennsylvania. Peter admired his employers’ pledge to forfeit $1,000 if any adulteration was found in their beer, and as he honed his brewing skills to a sharp edge, he adhered faithfully to this promise. Eventually he tired of city life and moved north to Brookville, where he perfected his brewing process while working in the Christ and Algeir Brewery.

Peter later moved to Benzinger (St. Marys), where he met and married Sabina Sorg of Benzinger. The couple settled in Benzinger and had ten children: Francis X., Joseph A., Anthony A., Anna M., Jacob M., Peter M. (who died at two years of age), Peter P., Gerald B., Mary C., and Alphons J.

Peter’s employment in Benzinger was with the Joseph Windfelder Brewery and he worked there until he purchased the Benzinger Spring Brewery (founded by Captain Charles C. Volk in 1855) from his father-in-law, Francis Xavier Sorg. It was then that Straub Beer and the Straub Brewery was born.

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The Straub Family in 1904. Anthony is in the second row, on the right.

Early on, Peter introduced his sons to the world of brewing. Straub used wooden kegs for his beer. He always placed a red band around his barrels to ensure that people would know they were drinking his beer and so that he would get them back. As a lasting trademark tribute to Peter, the brewery continues to place a bright red band around each of its barrels. Red has become a trademark color for the brewery.

Following Peter’s death on December 17, 1913, his sons assumed control of the brewery, renaming it the Peter Straub Sons Brewery. During this time, the brewery produced Straub Beer as well as other beer, such as the pilsner-style Straub Fine Beer and Straub Bock Beer. In 1920, the Straub Brothers Brewery purchased one half of the St. Marys Beverage Company, also called the St. Marys Brewery, where St. Marys Beer was produced. During Prohibition, which lasted from January 29, 1920, until December 5, 1933, the brewery produced nonalcoholic near-beer. On July 19, 1940 they purchased the remaining common stock and outstanding bonds of the St. Marys Beverage Company.

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The Benzinger Spring Brewery in 1895.

And this account is by Erin L. Gavlock, from 2009, at the Pennsylvania Center for the Book at Penn State:

Straub owned and operated the Benzinger Spring Brewery until he died in 1912 and left the company to his son, Anthony. Anthony Straub changed the name of the brewery to “Peter Straub Sons’ Brewery,” the only alteration he would make to his father’s business. From there, Peter Straub’s beer would become a Pennsylvania legend.

The Bavarian Man, a long-time image of the Straub Brewery that recalls its German roots.
Fast-forward over a hundred years from Straub’s humble beginnings to today and one will find the Straub Brewing pledge remains unchanged. The company still serves only unadulterated beer to its customers, proclaiming to be “The Natural Choice.” “Our all grain beer is brewed from Pennsylvania Mountain Spring water and we don’t add any sugar, salt, or preservatives to our recipes,” brew master Tom Straub told St. Marys’ Daily Press. “You can say our beer is a fresher, healthier choice than many of the selections in the marketplace.” Although time and technology have forced a transformation in brewing techniques and standards, the taste, ingredients, and the location of Straub have remained constant. Still located in St. Marys, the brewery depends upon the same mountain water from the Laurel Run Reservoir to blend with all-natural ingredients of cornflakes (used to produce fermentable sugars), barley and hops. “Our brewing process is virtually unchanged since our great, great, grandfather, Peter Straub, perfected it in 1872,” Straub’s promises. The reason behind sticking to the fresh taste of the original recipe is simple: people like it. Through the century, Straub has grown a dedicated patronage in western Pennsylvania with its traditional flavor. “Our style of brewing has pretty much stayed the same over the years, but what is interesting is that our popularity has grown and the reputation of our hand-crafted beer has increased,” Straub CEO Bill Brock said. “It is nice to know that we are becoming increasingly popular not for something we’ve changed, but rather for something we’ve always done well.”

The choice to protect and maintain the brewing customs has kept Straub a small, family owned brewery. “We’ve always thought small. We’re more about quality than quantity,” Dan Straub, former CEO, told Fredericksburg, Virginia’s Free-Lance Star. Until June 2009, Straub Beer was only distributed in glass bottles throughout Pennsylvania and Ohio. Now Straub is being brewed and distributed in aluminum cans in Rochester, New York at the High Falls Brewery. The recipe and method have not changed in the new setting and are under the careful watch of brew master Tom Straub. Despite the recent company growth, Straub still only produces about 45,000 barrels of beer per year. “We are unique; we are much larger than a micro brewery yet far, far smaller than some of the leading national brands,” said Bill Brock. In the middle ground, the brewery has managed to survive beer tycoons, economic depression, and cultural trends—a tough maneuver for a company exporting from Pennsylvania’s least populated region. “I believe the brewery has survived because of the fact that it is family owned; it is steeped in tradition and we have an absolute passion for making beer and our products,” said Brock. “From my perspective, the company and our traditions are a huge legacy and there is a clear obligation to continue these traditions.” Keeping to the family legacy has allowed Straub to persevere through the years to become the second oldest brewery in Pennsylvania after Yuengling.

Staying small and faithful to the company’s founding principles has enabled Straub to keep traditions that other larger breweries have been forced to abandon. The returnable bottle, an eco-friendly service that allows customers to send glass bottles back to the brewery for recycling, is still offered at Straub. “We stayed with the returnable bottles first of all, and I think this is really important, because we have a really strong customer base and they like the returnables,” Bill Brock said during a 2009 radio broadcast. “Over the years we maintained it while other breweries slowly fazed them out.” For Straub, a successful regional brewery, shipping bottles back to the factory is feasible, where it would create more pollution for national brands to do the same. In the future, Straub hopes to go greener and offer more returnables to customers. “We’d love for it to grow,” Brock said. “We think it is the right thing to do and if we can blend the right thing to do with making our customers happy that’s almost a perfect world.”

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The family in the early 1900s. Anthony is the third from the left in the front row.

Another Peter Straub tradition kept to make customers happy is the Eternal Tap, an oasis for Elk County beer drinkers. The Eternal Tap, established long before any of the brewery’s current chief operators were born, is a “thank you” gesture for patrons, daily providing two mugs of complimentary, fresh cold beer to anyone of legal drinking age. “The roots of it go as far back as the brewery itself and I am sure that my great, great, grandfather, his workers and their friends would spend time at the end of the week enjoying a few pints of freshly brewed beer,” Brock said. According to Bloomington, Illinois’ Pantagraph, the Eternal Tap sprang up shortly after Peter Straub received the Benzinger Spring Brewery from his father-in-law as a way to draw beer enthusiasts to the taste of Straub. Since the marketing gimmick started in 1872, the Eternal Tap has not been turned off, giving free beer to customers in good times and bad.

Although Straub has been in operation for more than a century since its founder’s death, if Peter Straub were able to return to his brewery today, he might feel as if he still ran it. The original recipe, the customer appreciation, and the environmental concerns he founded his business upon are still principal brewing laws at Straub today. For the descendents of Peter Straub, keeping the tradition was second nature. “For me, being President/CEO, my job is to be faithful to the traditions and it is really not that difficult,” Brock said. “I have one of the best jobs in the world and I have been given the opportunity to continue an important tradition and legacy.”

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Anthony after his first communion in the late 1800s.

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