Beer Birthday: Fritz Maytag

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Fritz Maytag, who bought the failing Anchor Brewery in 1965 and turned it into a model for the microbrewery revolution, celebrates his 79th birthday today. It’s no stretch to call Fritz the father of craft beer, he introduced so many innovations that are common today and influenced countless brewers working today. A few years ago, Maytag sold Anchor Brewery and Distillery to Keith Greggor and Tony Foglio of the Griffin Group, but continues to make his York Creek wine and consult with Anchor as Chairman Emeritus. I was happy to see him again earlier this year when I was invited to introduce him to receive an award from the Northern California Brewers Guild in Sacramento. Join me in wishing Fritz a very happy birthday.

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Fritz Maytag at the Anchor Christmas party in 2006 with fellow Anchor-ites John Dannerbeck and Mark Carpenter.

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Fritz with the organizers of SF Beer Week at our inaugural opening event at Anchor in 2009.

Speakers at the Symposium: Bruce Paton, Christine Hastorf, Fritz Maytag and Charlie Bamforth
Fritz with fellow speakers at the Herbst Museum Symposium a couple of years ago, from left: Bruce Paton, Christine Hastorf, Fritz Maytag and Charlie Bamforth.

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Ken Grossman, me and Fritz at a beer dinner at Anchor celebrating Sierra Nevada’s 30th anniversary.

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Me and Fritz at the Anchor Christmas Party a few years ago.

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Me and Fritz at the California Beer Summit this September.

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Jack McAuliffe and Fritz in Sacramento earlier this year to accept an award from the Northern California Brewers Guild.

Beer Birthday: Peter Licht

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Today is the 50th birthday — the Big 5-0 — of Peter Licht, brewmaster at Hermitage Brewing. Peter grew up in Rochester, New York but came to California to attend the master brewers program at U.C. Davis in 1994, and ended up staying in the Bay Area. When I first met him, he was brewing at Coast Range Brewing in the South Bay. When that brewery folded, he joined the San Jose Tied House, and moved with the equipment to when they closed to the brewpub to create the Hermitage Brewery at a new location and he’s been there ever since. Peter made some great contract beer for me at Coast Range (when I was at BevMo) and I was happy to see him land at Hermitage, where he’s continued to brew a wide range of great beers. Join me in wishing Peter a very happy birthday.

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Hermitage assistant brewer, Steve Donohue (now at Santa Clara Valley Brewing), Peter and me during a visit to the Hermitage Brewery in San Jose a few years ago.

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Peter in front of Hermitage’s foeder.

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An arty shot on Hermitage’s old brewhouse, which used to be at the San Jose Tied House. My favorite wedding photo is Sarah and me on this same brewhouse during our reception there twenty years ago.

Historic Beer Birthday: Theodor Schwann

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Today is the birthday of Theodor Schwann (December 7, 1810–January 11, 1882). He “was a German physiologist. His many contributions to biology include the development of cell theory, the discovery of Schwann cells in the peripheral nervous system, the discovery and study of pepsin, the discovery of the organic nature of yeast, and the invention of the term metabolism.”

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So Schwann appears to have made several important contributions to science, but his most important one, for my purposes, is that his discovery of the organic nature of yeast influenced Pasteur.

Schwann was the first of Johannes Peter Müller’s pupils to break with vitalism and work towards a physico-chemical explanation of life. Schwann also examined the question of spontaneous generation, which led to its eventual disconfirmation. In the early 1840s, Schwann went beyond others who had noted simply the multiplication of yeast during alcoholic fermentation, as Schwann assigned the yeast the role of primary causal factor, and then went further and claimed it was alive. Embattled controversy ensued as eminent chemists alleged that Schwann was undoing scientific progress by reverting to vitalism.

After publishing anonymous mockery in a journal of their own editorship, they published a purely physicochemical if also hypothetical explanation of the interaction resulting in fermentation. As both the rival perspectives were hypothetical, and there was not even an empirical definition of ‘life’ to hold as a reference frame, the controversy—as well as interest itself—fell into obscurity unresolved. Pasteur began fermentation researches in 1857 by approximately just repeating and confirming Schwann’s, yet Pasteur accepted that yeast were alive, thus dissolving the controversy over their living status, and then Pasteur took fermentation researches further.

In retrospect, the germ theory of Pasteur, as well as its antiseptic applications by Lister, can be traced to Schwann’s influence.

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In his biography on Famous Scientists, under the section entitled “Microbes, Yeast and Fermentation” it discusses his influence on Pasteur’s work on yeast in fermentation:

Schwann identified the role that microorganisms played in alcohol fermentation and putrefaction. He carried out a variety of fermentation experiments and by 1836 had gathered enough evidence to convince himself that the conversion of sugar to alcohol during fermentation was a biological process that required the action of a living substance (yeast) rather than a chemical process of sugar oxidation.

Unfortunately, Schwann’s explanation of fermentation was ridiculed by other scientists. Acceptance only came with Louis Pasteur’s work over a decade later. Pasteur later wrote in a letter to Schwann:

“For twenty years past I have been travelling along some of the paths opened up by you.”

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Letter to Schwann, 1878

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In a deeper dive about the history of yeast on Think Write Publish, entitled “For the Love of Yeast: A little cell at the cutting edge of big science,” by Molly Bain and Niki Vermeulen, in Chapter 2, they discuss Schwann, Pasteur and others unlocking the secrets of yeast’s role in fermentation:

People had been using yeast—spooning off its loamy, foamy scum from one bread bowl or wine vat and inserting it in another—for thousands of years before they understood what this seething substance was or what, exactly, it was doing. Hieroglyphs from ancient Egypt already suggested yeast as an essential sidekick for the baker and brewer, but they didn’t delineate its magic—that people had identified and isolated yeast to make bread rise and grape juice spirited was magic enough. As the great anatomist and evolutionary theory advocate Thomas Henry Huxley declared in an 1871 lecture, “It is highly creditable to the ingenuity of our ancestors that the peculiar property of fermented liquids, in virtue of which they ‘make glad the heart of man,’ seems to have been known in the remotest periods of which we have any record.”

All the different linguistic iterations of yeast—gäscht, gischt, gest, gist, yst, barm, beorm, bären, hefe—refer to the same descriptive action and event: to raise, to rise, to bear up with, as Huxley put it, “‘yeasty’ waves and ‘gusty’ breezes.” This predictable, if chaotic and muddy, pulpy process—fermentation—was also known to purify the original grain down to its liquid essence—its “spirit”—which, as Huxley described it, “possesses a very wonderful influence on the nervous system; so that in small doses it exhilarates, while in larger it stupefies.”

Though beer and wine were staples of everyday living for thousands and thousands of years, wine- and beer-making were tough trades—precisely because what the gift of yeast was, exactly, was not clear. Until about 150 years ago, mass spoilage of both commercial and homemade alcoholic consumables was incredibly common. Imagine your livelihood or daily gratification dependent on your own handcrafted concoctions. Now, imagine stumbling down to your cellar on a damp night to fetch a nip or a barrel for yourself, your neighbors, or the local tavern. Instead you’re assaulted by a putrid smell wafting from half of your wooden drums. You ladle into one of your casks and discover an intensely sour or sulfurous brew. In the meantime, some drink has sloshed onto your floor, and the broth’s so rancid, it’s slick with its own nasty turn. What caused this quick slippage into spoilage? This question enticed many an early scientist to the lab bench—in part because funding was at the ready.

In a 2003 article on yeast research in the journal Microbiology, James A. Barnett explains that because fermentation was so important to daily life and whole economies, scientific investigations of yeast began in the seventeenth century and were formalized in the eighteenth century, by chemists—not “natural historians” (as early biologists were called)—who were originally interested in the fermentation process as a series of chemical reactions.

In late eighteenth-century Florence, Giovanni Valentino Fabbroni was part of the first wave of yeast research. Fabbroni—a true Renaissance man who dabbled in politics and electro-chemistry, wrote tomes on farming practices, and helped Italy adapt the metric system—determined that in order for fermentation to begin, yeast must be present. But he also concluded his work by doing something remarkable: Fabbroni categorized yeast as a “vegeto-animal”—something akin to a living organism—responsible for the fermentation process.

Two years later, in 1789 and in France, Antoine Lavoisier focused on fermentation in winemaking, again regarding it as a chemical process. As Barnett explains, “he seem[ed] to be the first person to describe a chemical reaction by means of an equation, writing ‘grape must = carbonic acid + alcohol.’” Lavoisier, who was born into the aristocracy, became a lawyer while pursuing everything from botany to meteorology on the side. At twenty-six, he was elected to the Academy of Sciences, bought part of a law firm specializing in tax collection for the state, and, while working on his own theory of combustion, eventually came to be considered France’s “father of modern chemistry.” The French government, then the world’s top supplier of wine (today, it ranks second, after Italy), needed Lavoisier’s discoveries—and badly, too: France had to stem the literal and figurative spoiling of its top-grossing industry. But as the revolution took hold, Lavoisier’s fame and wealth implicated him as a soldier of the regime. Arrested for his role as a tax collector, Lavoisier was tried and convicted as a traitor and decapitated in 1794. The Italian mathematician and astronomer Joseph-Louis Lagrange publicly mourned: “It took them only an instant to cut off his head, and one hundred years might not suffice to reproduce its like.”

Indeed, Lagrange was onto something: the new government’s leaders were very quickly in want of scientific help for the wine and spirits industries. In 1803, the Institut de France offered up a medal of pure gold for any scientist who could specify the key agent in the fermenting process. Another thirty years passed before the scientific community had much of a clue—and its discovery tore the community apart.

By the 1830s, with the help of new microscope magnification, Friedrich Kützing and Theodor Schwann, both Germans, and Charles Cagniard-Latour, a Frenchman, independently concluded that yeast was responsible for fermenting grains. And much more than that: these yeasts, the scientists nervously hemmed, um, they seemed to be alive.

Cagniard-Latour focused on the shapes of both beer and wine yeasts, describing their cellular bulbous contours as less like chemical substances and more resembling organisms in the vegetable kingdom. Schwann pushed the categorization even further: upon persistent and continued microscopic investigations, he declared that yeast looks like, acts like, and clearly is a member of the fungi family—“without doubt a plant.” He also argued that a yeast’s cell was essentially its body—meaning that each yeast cell was a complete organism, somewhat independent of the other yeast organisms. Kützing, a pharmacist’s assistant with limited formal training, published extensive illustrations of yeast and speculated that different types of yeast fermented differently; his speculation was confirmed three decades later. From their individual lab perches, each of the three scientists concluded the same thing: yeast is not only alive, but it also eats the sugars of grains or grapes, and this digestion, which creates acid and alcohol in the process, is, in effect, fermentation.

This abrupt reframing of fermentation as a feat of biology caused a stir. Some chemist giants in the field, like Justus von Liebig, found it flat out ridiculous. A preeminent chemistry teacher and theorist, von Liebig proclaimed that if yeast was alive, the growth and integrity of all science was at grave risk: “When we examine strictly the arguments by which this vitalist theory of fermentation is supported and defended, we feel ourselves carried back to the infancy of science.” Von Liebig went so far as to co-publish anonymously (with another famous and similarly offended chemist, Friedrich Wöhler) a satirical journal paper in which yeasts were depicted as little animals feasting on sugar and pissing and shitting carbonic acid and alcohol.

Though he himself did little experimental research on yeast and fermentation, von Liebig insisted that the yeasts were just the result of a chemical process. Chemical reactions could perhaps produce yeast, he allowed, but the yeasts themselves could never be alive, nor active, nor the agents of change.
Von Liebig stuck to this story even after Louis Pasteur, another famous chemist, took up yeast study and eventually became the world’s first famous microbiologist because of it.

These long-term investigations into and disciplinary disputes about the nature of yeast reordered the scientific landscape: the borders between chemistry and biology shifted, giving way to a new field: microbiology—the study of the smallest forms of life.

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Historic Beer Birthday: Christian William Feigenspan

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Today is the birthday of Christian William Feigenspan (December 7, 1876-February 7, 1939). His father, Christian Benjamin Feigenspan, was born in Thuringia, Germany but moved his family to New Jersey and founded the C. Feigenspan Brewing Company of Newark in 1875, though at least one source says 1868. When his father died in 1899, Christian William took over management of the brewery, which remained in business through prohibition, but was bought by Ballantine in 1943. He was also “president of Feigenspan Brewing Company, president of Federal Trust Company, and president of the United States Brewers’ Association.”

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Here’s a short biography from Find-a-Grave:

Businessman. He took over Newark, New Jersey’s Feigenspan Brewery Company, founded by his father in 1868, when his father died in 1899. He then transformed the company into one of the best known breweries up until and after prohibition. Today it’s labels are the among the most sought after by collectors.

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Here’s another biography from “Legendary Locals of Rumson,” written by Roberta H. Van Anda:

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And here’s his obituary from his local newspaper:

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Historic Beer Birthday: Henry Liebmann

Today is the birthday of Henry Liebmann (December 6, 1836-March 27, 1915). He was born Heinrich Liebmann in Schmiedelfeld, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany. His father owned the Castle Schmiedelfeld, but when Henry was four, the family moved to Ludwigsburg and operated the Zum Stern Inn there, which also included a brewery. For political reasons, some of the family moved to America around 1850 to build a home, and the rest followed in 1854. Initially he ran the old Maasche Brewery, but later built a new brewery in Bushwick. Originally, it was called the Samuel Liebmann Brewery, but when his sons joined the brewery, it was called the S. Liebmann’s Sons Brewery. When Henry’s father died in 1872, Henry and his brothers took over the family brewery, and Henry became brewmaster. After prohibition ended, the brothers’ six sons re-opened the brewery as the simpler Liebmann Breweries, but in 1964 they changed the name again to Rheingold Breweries, after their most popular beer. The brewery closed in 1976.

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Here’s his obituary from the Brewers Journal, in July of 1915:

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This is from “The Originators of Rheingold Beer: From Ludwigsburg to Brooklyn – A Dynasty of German-Jewish Brewers,”
by Rolf Hofmann, originally published in Aufbau, June 21, 2001:

New Yorkers over the age of fifty will remember the brand name Rheingold Beer and the company’s brilliant publicity stunt in which a bevy of attractive young women competed annually for the privilege of being elected that year’s Miss Rheingold and appearing in ads on billboards and in the subways throughout the New York area.

The beer’s evocative name with its allusion to Germany’s great river, was the culmination of a German-Jewish family enterprise that had its beginnings in 1840 in the town of Ludwigsburg, north of Stuttgart, in what was then the Kingdom of Württemberg. One Samuel Liebmann, a member of a prominent Jewish family in the region, settled there and bought the inn and brewery “Zum Stern.” A liberal and staunch supporter of Republican ideals, Liebmann encouraged other like-minded citizens, including some soldiers from the garrison, to meet in his hospitable surroundings. The ideas fomented there contributed to the local revolution of 1848. It brought the opprobrium of the King down upon Liebmann’s enterprise, and “Zum Stern” was declared off limits to the soldiers. Soon thereafter, in 1850, Samuel Liebmann emigrated to the U.S.

The family settled in Brooklyn and Samuel, together with his three sons, Joseph, Henry, and Charles, opened a brewery once again at the corner of Forest and Bremen Streets. With the responsibilities divided among the family – Henry became the brewing expert, Charles. the engineer and architect, Joseph, finance manager – the company was already flourishing by the time of Samuel’s death in 1872. Success also led to a concern for the company’s Brooklyn surroundings, and the Liebmanns became involved in local welfare – focusing on housing and drainage systems.

Each of the three brothers had two sons, and when the older Liebmanns retired in 1903, the six members of the third generation took over. Other members of the family also contributed to the gradual expansion of the company. In 1895 Sadie Liebmann (Joseph’s daughter), married Samuel Simon Steiner, a trader in high quality hop, an essential ingredient for good beer. Steiner’s father had begun merchandising hop in Laupheim in 1845 and still today, S.S. Steiner, with its headquarters in New York, is one of the leading hop merchants. Under these fortuitous family circumstances, beer production grew constantly. In the early years, the brewery had produced 1000 barrels per year, by 1914 its output stood at 700,000 barrels.

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Henry Liebmann (center with white beard) and family.

Unfortunately, political developments in the U.S. between 1914 and 1933 were extremely disadvantageous for the Liebmann brewery. The resentment against Germany and anything German during World War I led to an informal boycott of German beers. Following close upon the lean wartime years, was the implementation of Prohibition in 1920 forbidding the manufacturing and trading of alcohol. The Liebmann enterprise managed to survive by producing lemonade and a product they called “Near Beer.”

With the reinstatement of legal alcohol production under President Roosevelt in 1933, opportunities for the brewery opened up, abetted by the anti-Semitic policies of Hitler’s Germany. The pressures on Jewish businessmen there, brought Dr. Hermann Schülein, general manager of the world-renowned LšwenbrŠu brewery, to America. Schulein’s father, Joseph, had acquired two of Munich’s leading breweries at the end of the nineteenth century–Union and Münchner Kindl–and his son had managed the 1920 merger with Löwenbrau. Arriving in New York with this experience behind him, Hermann Schülein became one of the top managers of the Liebmann brewery and was instrumental in its spectacular growth after World War II.

Working with Philip Liebmann (great-grandson of Samuel), Schülein developed a dry lager beer with a European character to be marketed under the brand name “Rheingold.” According to company legend, the name was created in 1883 at a brewery dinner following a performance at the Metropolitan Opera. When the conductor took up his glass, he was so taken with the shade of the beer, that he declared it to be the color of “Rheingold.” For New Yorkers, however, the name Rheingold did not bring to mind the Nibelungen fables, but the pretty young ladies who participated in Schülein’s most brilliant marketing strategy – the selection of each year’s Miss Rheingold by the beer-drinking public of greater New York

At the height of the campaign’s success in the 1950’s and 60’s, the Liebmann Brewery had an output of beer ten times that of Löwenbrau at the same time in Munich.

For thirty years, Rheingold Beer reigned supreme in the New York area, but by 1976, as a local brewery, it could no longer compete with nationwide companies such as Anheuser & Busch, Miller, and Schlitz, and its doors were closed. Only recently, using the same brewmaster, Rheingold is once again being sold in the tri-state area.

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Here’s an “Origin of Liebmann Brewery” posted by a relative on Ancestry.com:

On May 12 1833 (Sulzbach-Laufen Archive) Samuel and his older brother Heinrich bought a castle/inn Schmiedelfeld, Sulzbach-Laufen, Schwaebisch Hall District that dated from 1739. They renovated the place and created a prosperous farm/estate and in 1837 began a brewery in the cellar. In 1840, he moved to Ludwigsburg, near Stuttgart and purchased the gasthaus [guest house or inn] “Zum Stern” on Seestrasse 9 (later Zum Rebstock) which included a brewery. (source: Translation extract from Dr. Joacim Hahn’s book, History of the Jewish Community of Ludwigsburg)

After supporting a movement to oust King William I of Wurttemberg, and sensing the wavering tolerance of Jewish businessmen, Samuel sent his eldest son Joseph to the US in 1854 to scout out a location to establish a brewery.

Samuel retired in 1868 and turned the family business over to his sons Joseph, Charles, and Henry under the name S. Liebmann’s Sons Brewery.

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Beer Birthday: Natalie Cilurzo

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Today is the 48th birthday of Natalie Cilurzo, co-founder of Russian River Brewing, and the woman who makes everything run smoothly at both the brewpub and the production brewery. You’d be hard-pressed to find a nicer person in the beer world, and though she spent many years working with wine, the brewing industry is all the richer now that she’s left that all behind her. Join me in wishing Natalie a very happy birthday.

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Natalie with Vinnie at his 40th birthday party a few years ago.

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Jen Garris, from Pi Bar, Dave Keene’s wife Jen Smith, and Natalie at the Toronado 25th Anniversary Blending Dinner.

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Four out of Five, the Cilurzos and a Stan. From Left: Natalie, Stan Hieronymus, Vinnie’s mother and father, and Vinnie Cilurzo at the World Beer Cup gala dinner in 2008.

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Best man Vinnie Cilurzo, Dave Keene, Jennifer Smith and maid of honor Natalie at Dan & Jen’s wedding during GABF 2010.

Me, Natalie Cilurzo and Sean Paxton (and his daughter Olivia)
Me, Natalie and Sean Paxton (and his daughter Olivia) at the Pliny the Younger release in 2011. (photo by Mario Rubio.)

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Natalie two years for the 8th annual All Hopped Up for the Cure.

Beer Birthday: Christian DeBenedetti

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Today is the 43rd birthday of fellow beer writer and aspiring brewery owner Christian DeBenedetti. In 2011, he wrote The Great American Ale Trail and you can check out a lot of his other work online. His latest project is building a brewery on his family’s property, Springbrook Farm, and it’s called the Wolves & People Farmhouse Brewery. It’s now been open a short time, and just added food, too. Join me in wishing Christian a very happy birthday.

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Christian with Stephen Beaumont at the Denver Rare Beer Tasting in 2013.

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With Vinnie Cilurzo in the barrel room during a visit to Russian River Brewing.

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With Charlie Papazian at GABF.

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With Jim Koch at Ale House at Amato’s for the book release party for the Great American Ale Trail, during GABF in 2011.

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In front of the brewhouse at Wolves & People Farmhouse Brewery, his brewery under construction.

Beer Birthday: Bob Brewer

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Today is the 68th birthday of Bob Brewer, longtime brewery rep. for Anchor Brewing. For many years, he worked from southern California, circling the country with the entire nation his territory (the only exception being the Bay Area) representing Anchor beers. More recently, he moved back to the Bay Area, but you could find him at every nook and cranny of the beer world. Last year, Bob retired from Anchor, although he still occasionally works a festival or does other work, like giving a great talk at my class last spring and more recently he was working the taps for Anchor at the Lagunitas Circus. Join me in wishing Bob a very happy birthday.

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Bob serving a festival-goer at the Mammoth Lakes Bluesapalooza in 2007.

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Bob giving a tour at Anchor.

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Bob serves up the then-new Anchor Bock to Portland beer sage Fred Eckhardt.

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Me, brewer Mike Lee and Bob at the 2011 Anchor Christmas party.

Beer Birthday: Bob Pease

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Today is the 55th birthday of Bob Pease. Bob is the CEO of the Brewers Association and has been integral to their growth. He’s been with the BA since 1993 and was made V.P. in 1999. A few years ago he was promoted to COO, and in August of 2014 was promoted yet again. He’s worked directly on the Export Development Program and also on Government Affairs, especially with respect to Federal Excise Tax legislation. Join me in wishing Bob a very happy birthday.

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On the floor at GABF in 2007, with Ray Daniels, Mark Dorber, publican extraordinaire, and John Mallet, from Bell’s Brewery.

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With Nancy Johnson at CBC in New Orleans.

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Bob with Rick Lyke at a Pints For Prostates event.

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The BA staff at CBC a few years ago in Chicago. That’s Bob second to the right of the tuxedo (which is Charlie Papazian) and next to Julia Herz.

Historic Beer Birthday: John H. Foss

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Today is the birthday of John H. Foss (November 30, 1859-December 13, 1912). He was the son of Henry Foss, who in 1867 became involved with the Louis Schneider Brewery in Cincinnati, Ohio, eventually becoming a partner. It was later known as the Foss-Schneider Brewing Co. When his father passed away in 1879, John H. Foss stepped into his father’s role as co-owner of the company and was also president of the brewery. The brewery closed during prohibition, but reopened when it was repealed in 1933, though closed for good in 1939. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find any photos of John H. Foss.

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This biography is from the “History of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Ohio: Their Past and Present,” published in 1894:

John H. Foss, president of the Foss-Schneider Brewing Company, is the eldest son of the late John Henry and Adelaide (Te Veluwe) Foss. He was born in Cincinnati, November 30,1859, received his education at. Xavier College, and became the junior partner of the firm of Foss & Schneider in 1879. In 1883 he made an extensive tour, inspecting many of the greatest breweries of Europe, and obtaining ideas there from that have proved of incalculable benefit in his management of the business of his company. Upon his return from Europe, and the incorporation of the business in 1884, he was elected its secretary and treasurer, in 1890 becoming its president. On November 4, 1885, Mr. Foss was married to Katherine Marie, daughter of B. H. Moorman, a retired merchant and capitalist of Cincinnati. She died May 15, 1893, leaving two children, Adele and Robert. The foundation of the Foss-Schneider Brewing Company was laid in 1849 when Louis Schneider transformed his little cooper shop on Augusta street into a brewery. The new industry thrived, and became known as the Queen City Brewery. Soon a removal to more commodious quarters was necessitated. In 1863 new buildings were erected on the site of the present plant on Fillmore street. Four years later Mr. Schneider, on account of ill-health, sold out to Foss, Schneider and Brenner, the son, Peter W. Schneider, taking up the burden of active interest in the business laid down by the father. In 1877 Mr. Foss purchased the interest of Mr. Brenner.

The business was then continued under the name of Foss & Schneider until the death of John Henry Foss, August 13, 1879, when his interest became the property of his widow and her eldest son, John H. Foss, P. W. Schneider still retaining his interest. In 1884 it was incorporated under the name of The Foss-Schneider Brewing Company. The year 1884 was one of annoyance and disaster to the young corporation. The flood which devastated the city that year undermined and caused the collapse of the malt house burdened with over sixty thousand bushels of malt. This calamity, however, caused no cessation of work, and, in spite of the disaster, the business of that year showed an advance over the preceding year. It was determined at this time, too, to erect an entirely new plant, and in less than one year the Foss-Schneider Company was installed in one of the finest and most completely equipped brewery structures in the country. The product of this great establishment is celebrated, and finds a ready market throughout the United States and in many foreign lands, the annual output being 80,000 barrels.

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Here’s a short history of the brewery, from “100 Years of Brewing:”

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