Historic Beer Birthday: Johann Schiff

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Today is the birthday of Johann Schiff (February 1, 1813-?). Schiff was born in Rohrbach, Germany, but appears to have emigrated to Ohio by at least 1850, but probably earlier. He was a co-owner on the Eagle Brewery in Cincinnati, Ohio, which was known by various names names, such as the Schaller & Schiff Brewery and later the Schaller-Gerke Brewery and finally the Gerke Brewing Co. Accounts seem to vary about his involvement, and especially with the names of the brewery as they changed, but here’s the timeline from the Queen City Chapter’s page, entitled Cincinnati Brewing History-Preprohibition 1811-1919

1829: William Lofthouse and William Attee operate THE EAGLE BREWERY located on Fourth Street from 1829 until 1843. William Lofthouse becomes the sole proprietor of the brewery after William Attee dies in 1843 and he operates the brewery until his own death in 1850. His widow leases the brewery to Joseph Schaller and Johann Schiff who continue to use the EAGLE BREWERY name and operate the facility from 1850 to 1857.

1854: Joseph Schaller and Johann Schiff purchased land on the Miami-Erie Canal near Plum Street and construct a new brewery which they operate from 1854 to 1866. They continued to use the EAGLE BREWERY name. In 1866 Schaller buys out Schiff and he becomes a partner with John Gerke. The brewery name becomes SCHALLER & GERKE, EAGLE BREWERY. They continue in business together until 1882.

1861: Joseph Schaller buys out his partner, Johann Schiff, and continues to operate THE EAGLE BREWERY. In 1866, John Gerke becomes a partner in the business and the brewery operates until 1882.

1882: After John Gerke‘s death, his son, George, takes his place in the brewery and the business is incorporated as THE GERKE BREWING CO. In 1904, a new building is erected but is soon sold to the French-Bauer Dairy and the Gerke Brewing Co. is out of business by 1912.

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I have been unable to find any portraits of Johann Schiff, or indeed much biographical information of any kind. There’s a bit more about the fate of the brewery after Schiff was bought out, and it became known as the Gerke Brewing Co. For example, Lagering Cellar 1861 has some Gerke Brewery History.

Joseph Schaller came to America as a young man. Working as a laborer in Cincinnati and on the Erie Canal, he saved his money to start a vinegar works. He purchased the old Lofthouse Brewery (located on 4th Street) with Johann Schiff in 1850. While not trained as a brewer, he hired well. They quickly grew the business and built the Eagle Brewery at the corner of Plum and Canal in 1854.

The brewery was located at the Plum Street bend of the Miami & Erie Canal, and had large arched windows unique to Cincinnati breweries0 These windows are duplicated in the doors to the elevator room you came through. Partnering with John Gerke, he grew the brewery to be one of the largest and most modern in the city, producing about 140,000 barrels of beer a year. Before retiring, he helped his three sons start the Schaller Brothers Main Street Brewery. Gerke continued brewing until 1912. Brewery was replaced with the French Bauer Ice Cream Factory in 1917, which still exists as the Court Street Center building today.

Gerke continued brewing until 1912.

Schaller & Schiff, Eagle Brewery (4th Street) 1850 – 1857
Schaller & Schiff, Eagle Brewery 1854 – 1866
Schaller & Gerke, Eagle Brewery 1866 – 1882
Gerke Brewing Company 1882 – 1912

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The first brewery on this corner was the Eagle Brewery from 1854 to 1866, owned by Joseph Schaller and Johann Schiff. In 1866, Schiff left the company and John Gerke joined in. The name was changed to Schaller & Gerke, Eagle Brewery and they continued together until 1882. The Schallers left the business then to purchase the Main Street Brewery and after the death of his father John, George Gerke continued the business at Canal and Plum Streets.

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Founded in 1854 as the Eagle Brewery closer to the Ohio River, Joseph Schaller and John Gerke built a new brewery at the bend of the Miami and Erie Canal in 1866. Beer was brewed there until 1910.

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The brewery equipment was sold at auction October 15, 1913.

Historic Beer Birthday: William Hoffmeister

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Today is the birthday of William Hoffmeister (January 31, 1827-1902), who was born in Germany, but emigrated to the U.S. in 1847, settling in Cincinnati, Ohio. There in 1856 he founded the William Hoffmeister Brewery, but it was only in production until 1873, when he closed it and opened a saloon. Being open for a mere seventeen years, there’s precious little information about either the brewery of William Hoffmeister, and I was unable to find any picture of him, his beer or his brewery, though this may be his coat of arms.

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This is about all I could find on William Hoffmeister, from the Cincinnati Turner Societies: The Cradle of an American Movement, by Dann Woellert, published in 2012.

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Historic Beer Birthday: John Goetz

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Today is the birthday of John Goetz, Jr. (January 28, 1855-January 23, 1898), who was married to Christian Moerlein’s daughter Lizzie and worked in his father-in-law’s brewery. He also organized the Brewers Exchange, and was its first president, was a trustee in the U.S. Brewers Association and helped organize the Ohio Brewers Guild.

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Here’s his obituary from the American Brewers’ Review, which provides a summary of his life:

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After Goetz married Lizzie Moerlein, he went to work for his father-in-law at one of Cincinnati’s biggest breweries, Christian Moerlein Brewing Co. In fact, before prohibition, it was one of the nation’s ten largest. But like many breweries, it was closed by prohibition, and wasn’t re-introduced until 1981. In 2004, the brand was purchased by Greg Hardman, a local resident of the Greater Cincinnati area, who also bought several other local beer brands in addition to Moerlein.

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And here’s an additional biography.

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Beer Birthday: Peter Kruger

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Today is the 46th birthday of Peter Kruger, head brewer at Bear Republic Brewing. Peter was an early brewer at Full Sail in Hood River, Oregon. He came to California to become the original brewer at Stumptown Brewery when they opened in 2001, but left in 2005 to join Bear Republic. Peter has become an integral part of Bear Republic’s success since joining the team, and is a terrific person to share a pint with. Please join me in wishing Peter a very happy birthday.

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Rich Norgrove and Peter at the New Albion re-launch at Russian River Brewing a couple of years ago.

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Bear Republic brewers Rich Norgrove, Jode Yaksic, Peter and Ray Lindecker during a visit in 2008.

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Peter explaining one Bear Republic’s beers at their annual GABF Tasting at the brewpub in 2009.

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Peter (2nd from the left) with the Bear Republic gang accepting another award at GABF in 2007.

Beer Birthday: Ralph Olson

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Today is Ralph Olson’s 65th birthday. Ralph was the general manager/co-owner of HopUnion, a co-op that supplies hops to many of the craft breweries. Ralph’s pretty much retired but can still be seen at occasional beer events throughout the country. He’s been a good friend to and very supportive of the craft beer industry. Join me in wishing Ralph a very happy birthday.

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Ralph Olson, the Big Cheese from HopUnion. If you look carefully in between his “Sponsor” and “Exhibitor” badge you can see his title really is officially “the Big Cheese.

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Ralph and me at the end of the brewer’s reception at GABF in 2007.

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Dave Keene, from the Toronado, Dave Pyle, Ralph and Becky Pyle, who are also with HopUnion, along with my friend Dave Suurballe.

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Ralph sandwiched between Jessica, the former event coordinator for the AOB and Chad Kennedy, brewer at Laurelwood Public House & Brewery in Portland, Oregon at GABF in 2006.

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With Natalie Cilurzo of Russian River Brewing, who’s accepting an award at the Alpha King Hop Challenge in 2006. If you look closely, you can find the award money.

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Ralph with the other HopUnion Ralph, Ralph Woodall, and Rob Widmer, the younger half of Widmer Brothers Brewing, at the 15th Anniversary Party for the Celebrator Beer News.

Historic Beer Birthday: Gottlieb Muhlhauser

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Today is the birthday of Gottlieb Muhlhauser (January 24, 1836-February 9, 1905), who co-founded the Windisch-Muhlhauser Brewing Company in Cincinnati, Ohio. He had two partners in the venture, his brother-in-law Conrad Windisch and his brother Heinrich Muhlhauser.

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Here’s a short biography from Find a Grave:

Beer Baron. A native of Muggendorf, Bavaria in Germany, he came to America in 1840 with his father, Frederick Muhlhauser, and settled on a farm near Portsmouth, Ohio. They moved to Cincinnati in 1845. After his father’s death in 1849 when he was 13 years old, he assumed the responsibility of the family as the oldest child and left school to work at a pottery. He then entered the mineral water business and became the plant’s foreman in 1852 when he was 16 years old. Muhlhauser went into the same business for himself in 1854. Business was very successful and he branched out to Chillicothe in 1855 and to Hamilton, Ohio in 1857. He also was married in 1857, to Christina Windisch, the sister of his future business partner. In 1858, he erected a mill for crushing malt and another for steam flouring with the aid of his brother, Henry Muhlhauser. During the Civil War, he supplied flour to the Union Army and the Cincinnati Home Guard. Around this time he suffered from a gunshot wound, but it was not severe enough to keep him from operating his businesses. In 1866, he organized the Lion Brewery with his brother Henry and his brother-in-law, Conrad Windisch. The million dollar beer company became the Windisch-Muhlhauser Brewing Company in 1882 and Muhlhauser was the president and general manager. He died in 1905 in Cincinnati when he was 69 years old.

And this is him in another portrait, when he was a little older.

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Their brewery became known as the “Lion Brewery” because of the two lions that rested atop the brewery’s gables and many of their beer names used a lion in the name and on the labels.

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The History of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Ohio has a short history of the Windisch-Muhlhauser Brewing Company:

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Paired Creation also has a history of the brewery.

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A label from Lion Lager (date unknown).

Historic Beer Birthday: Franz Sales Reisch

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Today is the birthday of Franz Sales Reisch (January 24, 1809-August 18, 1875), who founded the Reisch Brewing Co. in 1849, in the city of Springfield, Illinois. According to Wikipedia, “the brewery operated until 1920 when it was forced to close because of Prohibition. It reopened in 1933 and stayed open until it shut its doors permanently in 1966.” During that time it changed names seven times.

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The Historical Encyclopedia of Illinois and History of Sangamon County has an entry for Franz Reisch:

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An early photograph of the original brewery.

The 1910 book 100 Years of Brewing has a short entry about the brewery:

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The letterhead for the company from shortly after they incorporated in 1903.

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A delivery truck of Reisch Beer (date unknown).

Lester Jones, of the Beer Institute & George Reisch, of Anheuser-Busch @ GABF Saturday
Lester Jones, currently with the NBWA, and George Reisch at GABF in 2009.

George Reisch is currently the Brewmaster and Director of Brewmaster Outreach at Anheuser-Busch, and has been there since 1979. He’s a fifth generation with Franz Sales Resich being first. His 96-year old father Edward is 4th generation (and will be 97 on March 1). His son Patrick Reisch brews for Goose Island and is 6th Generation.

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Reisch Hercules Malt, an interesting lower-alcohol label.

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And finally, Wiener-style Special. I hope they mean Vienna-style and not frankfurter.

There’s also some additional information and photos at the entry for his son’s birthday, Frank Reisch.

Historic Beer Birthday: Leopold Schmidt

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Today is the birthday of Leopold F. Schmidt (January 23, 1846-September 24, 1914) who founded the Olympia Brewing Co. in Tumwater, Washington in 1896. Although it was originally called the Capital Brewing Company, but changed it in 1902 to reflect its flagship Olympia Beer, and also began using the slogan “It’s the Water.”

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Gary Flynn from Brewery Gems has the best biography of Schmidt. He also has a shorter piece about Schmidt’s first brewery in Montana, the Centennial Brewing Co., which he sold in 1896, before moving to Washington to scout locations for his next venture. He settled on Tumwater, and built a brewery “at Tumwater Falls on the Deschutes River, near the south end of Puget Sound. He built a four-story wooden brewhouse, a five-story cellar building, a one-story ice factory powered by the lower falls, and a bottling and keg plant and in 1896, began brewing and selling Olympia Beer.”

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The Olympia Tumwater Foundation picks up Schmidt’s story through his home, the Schmidt House:

The Schmidt House, set high on a wooded bluff at the mouth of the Deschutes River, was built at the turn of the 20th Century for local brewery owner Leopold Schmidt and his wife Johanna. Mr. Schmidt already owned a successful brewing operation in Montana when a business trip first brought him to the Tumwater area in the early 1890s. Discovering that the artesian springs here were perfect for brewing beer, Schmidt sold his Montana holdings and built a new brewery at the foot of Tumwater Falls which shipped its first beer in 1896.

At first the Schmidt’s moved into an existing house on the slope above the brewery, a home that the family affectionately nicknamed “Hillside Inn.” As his brewing business prospered, Mr. Schmidt began planning a larger, more elegant residence that would stand at the top of the hill. In 1904 the couple moved into the new house with their daughter, the youngest of six children. Their five sons continued to live at Hillside Inn and work in the family business. For reasons lost to posterity, the Schmidt’s called the new house “Three Meter.”

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Leopold and his wife Johanna, posing with their six children in a portrait taken in the late 1890s.

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Another portrait of Leopold Schmidt.

Here’s more on Olympia, again from Flynn:

In October 1896, after issuing $125,000 in capital stock, he established the Capital Brewing Company, nucleus of what would become the highly successful Olympia Brewing Company. The brewery was an unqualified success, its product outselling competing beers from Seattle and Tacoma. The pure artesian water and Schmidt’s brewing skills were a perfect match. The enterprise steadily grew in production in the following years, reaching peak production of 100,000 barrels of beer in 1914, just in time for statewide prohibition. This not only shut down the Olympia plant but also the other two plants in the state, the Bellingham Bay Brewery and the Port Townsend Brewery. Oregon also voted to go “dry” in 1914, five years before national prohibition, which ended the Salem Brewery Association. Only the two Acme Brewery plants in San Francisco were spared, albeit temporarily.

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The Olympia brewhouse around 1906.

After prohibition was repealed, Leopold’s son Peter Schmidt ordered the construction of larger brewery buildings upriver from the 1906 building, rather than repurchasing and retrofitting the aging structure.

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Olympia’s brewery in 1933.

There’s quite a lot on the history of Olympia Brewing, and here are a few good sources. The Cooperpoint Journal has Water to Beer: A Timeline of Industry and Drinking and the Seattle Weekly wrote Olympia Beer: The Water and the History. But Brewery Gems again has a thorough History of the Olympia Brewing Company, and the Olympia Tumwater Foundation had a concise history. Even cooler, the Foundation has some great old photos online, in Images of the Old Brewhouse : A Pictorial Exhibit from the Archives of the Olympia Tumwater Foundation.

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The brewery around 1989, a few years before I first visited it on my honeymoon.

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Leopold posing on his lawn overlooking the brewery in the early 1900s.

Beer Birthday: Charlie Papazian

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Today is the 67th birthday of Charlie Papazian, one of the most influential persons in modern brewing. Charlie founded the AHA, the AOB and the IBS back in 1978 (which today is the Brewers Association) and organized the first Great American Beer Festival. His book, the Complete Joy of Homebrewing was one of the seminal works on the subject, and is now in its fourth edition. Join me in wishing Charlie a very happy birthday.

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Just before taking the stage during GABF 2007, from left, Glenn Payne (of Meantime Brewing), Charlie, Mark Dorber (formerly of the White Horse on Parson’s Green but now at the Anchor Pub), Garrett Oliver, and Steve Hindy (both from Brooklyn Brewing), Dave Alexander (from the Brickskeller), and Tom Dalldorf (from the Celebrator Beer News).

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Some NBWA luminaries at the 2008 NBWA welcome reception. From left, Jamie Jurado (with Gambrinus), Lucy Saunders (the Beer Cook), Charlie Papazian (President of the Brewers Association), Kim Jordan (from New Belgium Brewing) and Tom Dalldorf (from the Celebrator Beer News).

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On stage at the Beer Wars Live premiere with Ben Stein and Greg Koch.

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Charlie with Pete Slosberg at last year’s Craft Brewers Conference in San francisco.

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Of the literally hundreds of GABF and World Beer Cup award-accepting photos I have with Charlie in them, this is one of my favorites.

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The BA recently shared this great photo of Charlie from 1977.

Beer Birthday: Chris Nelson

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Today is the 50th birthday of Chris Nelson, better known as The Beer Geek. Chris and his wife, Merideth Canham-Nelson, recently completed an around the world beer festival tour, but are still traveling the globe searching for great beer. A few years ago his wife also published Teachings From the Tap, her account of the year they spent circling the globe visiting beer destinations. Join me in wishing Chris a very happy birthday.

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The first “official meeting” of the Bay Area Beer Bloggers. From left: Merideth Canham-Nelson, me, Chris, JJ (the Thirsty Hopster), and Gail Ann Williams and Steve Shapiro, both from Beer by BART.

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In front of the Rocky statue in downtown Philadelphia during our trip to the first Philly Beer Week.

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At the OBF media tasting: Rick Sellers, from Pacific Brew News, Merideth and Chris Nelson, The Beer Geek, and Meagan Flynn (at right) with her assistant, Annalou, former publishers of Beer NW during the 2007 Oregon Brewers Festival.

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Chris, at right, with Shaun O’Sullivan, Merideth, and Jeff White in Pub Talk Radio in Monterey in September of last year.

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Chris and Merideth at Pangea in 2012 (photo “borrowed” from Facebook, by Virginia Vasquez)