Historic Beer Birthday: Jacob Ruppert, Jr.

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Today is the birthday of Jacob Ruppert, Jr. (August 5, 1867–January 13, 1939). He was the son of Jacob Ruppert, who founded the Jacob Ruppert Brewing Company in 1867. Jacon Jr., who went by Jake “was an American brewer, businessman, National Guard colonel and United States Congressman who served for four terms representing New York from 1899 to 1907. He also owned the New York Yankees of Major League Baseball from 1915 until his death in 1939.

Starting out in the family brewing business, Ruppert entered the United States National Guard in 1886 at the age of 19, eventually reaching the rank of colonel. While he was the owner of the Yankees, he purchased the contract of Babe Ruth and built Yankee Stadium, reversing the franchise’s fortunes and establishing it as the premier club in the major leagues. Ruppert was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in July 2013.”

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Ruppert was born in New York City, the son of brewer Jacob Ruppert, Sr. (1842–1915) and his wife, the former Anna Gillig (1842–1924). He was the second oldest of six children, along with Cornelia Ruppert-Franko (1865–96), Anna Schalk (born 1870), Frank (born 1872), George (1875–1948) and Amanda Elizabeth “Lizzie” Ruppert-Silleck (1878–1952). His grandfather Franz (1811–83), a brewer from Bavaria, had emigrated to the United States in 1836 or 1842. His mother was also of German ethnicity, and was herself the daughter of prominent brewer George Gillig. Although he was a second-generation American, to the day he died he spoke with a noticeable German accent.

He grew up in the Jacob Ruppert, Sr. House on Fifth Avenue. Jacob Jr. attended the Columbia Grammar School. He was accepted into Columbia College, but instead began working in the brewing business with his father in 1887. He started as a barrel washer, working 12-hour days for $10 a week ($267 in current dollar terms), and eventually became vice president and general manager of the brewery.

Ruppert enlisted in the Seventh Regiment, National Guard of New York, serving in the rank of private from 1886 through 1889. In 1890, he was promoted to colonel and appointed to serve on the staff of David B. Hill, the Governor of New York, serving as aide-de-camp. He became a senior aide on the staff of Roswell P. Flower, Hill’s successor as governor, until 1895.

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The Jacob Ruppert Brewery around 1932.

Ruppert was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1898 as a member of the Democratic Party to the Fifty-sixth United States Congress, defeating incumbent Philip B. Low of the Republican Party in New York’s 15th congressional district. He was supported in his election by Richard Croker, the political boss of Tammany Hall. Ruppert won reelection over Alderman Elias Goodman in 1900. Ruppert was renominated for Congress, this time running in New York’s 16th congressional district, in 1902. Ruppert was not a candidate for reelection in 1906, and he left office in 1907.

Ruppert was also president of the Astoria Silk Works and the United States Brewers Association from 1911 through 1914. In January 1914, he bought J&M Haffen Brewing Company for $700,000 ($16,737,209 in current dollar terms), intending to close the brewery down and develop the property, which was located near The Hub in The Bronx. Upon his father’s death in 1915, Ruppert inherited the Jacob Ruppert Brewing Company and became the company’s president. Ruppert also owned real estate, including Pass-a-Grille Key in Florida.

Ruppert, interested in baseball since his childhood, began to pursue ownership of a Major League Baseball team, and attempted to purchase the New York Giants on numerous occasions. In 1912 he was offered an opportunity to purchase the Chicago Cubs, but decided that Chicago was too far away from New York for his tastes. However, Frank J. Farrell and William S. Devery, owners of the New York Yankees, were looking to sell their franchise. Ruppert and Tillinghast L’Hommedieu Huston, a former United States Army engineer and captain, purchased the Yankees from Farrell and Devery before the 1915 season for $480,000 ($11,363,684 in current dollar terms). The Yankees were, at that time, a perennial also-ran in the American League (AL), posting winning records in only 4 of their 12 seasons – and only once since 1906 – since relocating to New York prior to the 1903 season from Baltimore, where the team had played as the Orioles during the AL’s first two years of operation, 1901 and 1902.

After the 1917 season, Ban Johnson, president of the AL, suggested that Ruppert hire St. Louis Cardinals manager Miller Huggins to take over the same position with the Yankees. Huston, who was in Europe at the time that Ruppert was considering the appointment, disliked Huggins and wanted to hire the manager of the National League’s crosstown Brooklyn Robins, Wilbert Robinson, his drinking buddy. However, Ruppert interviewed Huggins on Johnson’s recommendation, and agreed that Huggins would be an excellent choice Ruppert offered the job to Huggins, who accepted and signed a two-year contract. The hiring of Huggins drove a wedge between the two co-owners that culminated in Huston selling his shares of the team to Ruppert in 1922.

Ruppert and Huston purchased pitcher Carl Mays from the Boston Red Sox in 1918, in direct opposition of an order issued by Johnson. The matter was taken to court, where Ruppert and Huston prevailed over Johnson. The case led to the dissolution of the National Commission, which governed baseball, and helped lead to the creation of the Commissioner of Baseball. Ruppert eventually organized opposition to Johnson among other AL owners.

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The Yankees purchased star pitcher-outfielder Babe Ruth from the Red Sox in 1919, which made the Yankees a profitable franchise. The Yankees began to outdraw the Giants, with whom they shared the Polo Grounds. In 1921 the Yankees won the AL pennant for the first time, but lost to the Giants in the World Series. As a result of the Yankees’ increased popularity, Charles Stoneham, owner of the Giants and the Polo Grounds, raised the rent for Ruppert and Huston for the 1922 season. The Yankee owners responded by purchasing land in The Bronx, across the Harlem River from the Polo Grounds, from the estate of William Waldorf Astor for $675,000 ($9,658,002 in current dollar terms), breaking ground on a new stadium in May 1922. That year, the Giants once again defeated the Yankees in the World Series. Yankee Stadium opened on April 18, 1923,[the first ballpark with three tiers of seating for fans, and the first referred to as a “stadium”. Ruppert and Huston financed the project with $2.5 million of their own money ($35,770,378 in current dollar terms).

In 1923, Ruppert bought out Huston for $1.5 million ($21,084,961 in current dollar terms), and he became the sole owner. Later that year, the Yankees finally beat the Giants to win their first World Series title. The Yankees went on to dominate baseball throughout most of the 1920s and 1930s, winning three more pennants from 1926 through 1928, including the Murderers’ Row team which won the 1927 World Series and repeated as champions the following year. They returned to the top with the 1932 World Series title, and then began their strongest period yet with the Bronx Bombers teams of the late 1930s, becoming the first team to win three consecutive World Series titles in 1936, 1937 and 1938. In 1937, the Yankees became the first team to win six World Series titles, and in 1938 they surpassed the Philadelphia Athletics to become the first team to win ten AL championships, with only the Giants winning more pennants in the 20th century.

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Lous Gehrig, Ruppert and Joe McCarthy in 1935.

In 1929, Ruppert added numbers to the Yankees’ uniforms, which became a feature of every team. He said, “Many fans do not attend games on a regular basis and cannot easily pick out the players they have come to see.”

in 1931 Ruppert bought the Newark Bears who played at Ruppert Stadium in Newark, New Jersey, and begin building the farm system for the Yankees. Ruppert’s 24 years as a Yankee owner saw him build the team from near-moribund to a baseball powerhouse. His own strength as a baseball executive – including his willingness to wheel and deal – was aided by the business skills of general manager Ed Barrow and the forceful field managing of Miller Huggins, until his sudden death at age 50 late in the 1929 season, and Joe McCarthy, beginning in 1931. By the time of Ruppert’s death, the team was well on its way to becoming the most successful in the history of Major League Baseball, and eventually in North American professional sports.

Ruppert and Ruth had public disagreements about Ruth’s contracts. Nevertheless, they were personal friends; according to Ruth, Ruppert called him “Babe” only once, and that was the night before he died. Usually, Ruppert called him “Root” (as “Ruth” sounded in his German-accented voice); he always called everyone, even close friends, by their last name. Ruth was one of the last persons to see Ruppert alive.

Ruppert suffered from phlebitis in April 1938, and was confined to his Fifth Avenue apartment for most of the year. He was too sick to follow the Yankees to the 1938 World Series, what would be their seventh world title under his stewardship; he listened on the radio. In November 1938, he checked into Lenox Hill Hospital, where he died on January 13, 1939.

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New York Yankees Tony Lazzeri, Joe DiMaggio, and Frankie Crosetti with their team owner Jacob Ruppert taken in the late 1930’s.

Ruppert’s father, Jacob, Sr., left behind an estate of $6,382,758 ($111,618,204 in current dollar terms) when he died in 1915, which Ruppert increased to $40 million by the time of his death in 1939. This was managed by his heirs. His brother George, who served as the Yankees’ vice president, declined to take over the team presidency, and instead recommended that general manager Ed Barrow be given control of the club. Under Barrow’s leadership, the Yankees won a fourth consecutive World Series in 1939, and captured three more AL titles and two World Series from 1941 to 1943 as the nation entered World War II. After mismanaging Ruppert’s brewery, the heirs sold the Yankees to Dan Topping, Del Webb and Larry MacPhail in 1945. The brewery sold its flagship beer, Knickerbocker beer, to Rheingold, and went out of business in 1965.

On April 16, 1940, the Yankees dedicated a plaque in Ruppert’s memory, to hang on the center field wall of Yankee Stadium, near the flagpole and the monument that had been dedicated to former manager Miller Huggins. The plaque called Ruppert “Gentleman, American, sportsman, through whose vision and courage this imposing edifice, destined to become the home of champions, was erected and dedicated to the American game of baseball.” The plaque now rests in Monument Park at New Yankee Stadium.

An apocryphal story says that Ruppert is responsible for the Yankees’ famous pinstriped uniforms; according to this account, Ruppert chose pinstripes in order to make the often-portly Ruth appear less obese, but the uniform was in fact introduced in 1912.

A beer was named after Ruppert, as were Ruppert Stadium in Newark, New Jersey. Ruppert Park in Manhattan, is part of the Ruppert Yorkville Towers housing complex was built on the site the brewery in Yorkville, Manhattan.

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Ruppert and Lou Gehrig in 1938.

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Historic Beer Birthday: John Stocker

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Today is the birthday of John Stocker (August 5, 1850-July 19, 1903). He was born in Baden, Germany, but moved to Pennsylvania, working for Frederick Lauer in Reading for 17 years before opening his own small brewery with John Roehrich in 1891, initially known as the John C. Stocker & John Roehrich Brewery. By 1897, Stocker was the sole owner and renamed it the John C. Stocker Brewery. There seems to be some confusion about his middle initial. Some sources say it was a “C” while others report it was a “G.” The brewery continued after he died, briefly as the Estate of John C. Stocker Brewery for two years, and then it became known as the Fairview Brewery, until 1912. From 1912 until closed by prohibition it was called the Mt. Penn Brewing Co. It reopened after prohibition as the Fisher Brewing Co., at least until 1934. Thereafter it was known briefly as the Woerner Brewery and then the Adam C. Jaeger Brewing Co. until it closed for good in 1943. I was unable ti find any photos of Stocker.

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This biography of Stocker is from the “Historical and Biographical Annals of Berks County, Pennsylvania,” edited by Morton Luther Montgomery:

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And this obituary is from the Reading Historical Society”

John Stocker, a worthy and honored citizen and prominent business man of Reading, died at Carlsbad, Bohemia, July 19, 1903. Mr. Stocker was born in Baden, Germany, Aug. 5, 1850, son of John and Catherine (Werren) Stocker, both of whom were natives of the same section of the German Empire.

The will of John Stocker was made only a short time before Mr. Stocker sailed for Germany for his health, and left his entire estate to his widow. His son John Stocker was named as the executor.

The estate was a large one, with up to $200,000 in real estate, with about $15,000 personal property. The real estate included the Stocker brewery, near the fair ground, his late residence located at 1700 North 11th Street, and a number of hotel stands in the city and county.

The brewer’s license of John Stocker for the brewery at 2100 North 11th; was granted by Judge Endlich to John Stocker, his son.

John Stocker was reared to manhood in his native land, and was afforded the advantages of the excellent schools there. In 1869, at the age of nineteen years, he emigrated to America and took up his residence in Reading, Pa., where he secured employment in the brewery of Peter Barbey. Later he identified himself with the operation of the brewery of Frederick Lauer, and after continuing in the employment of others for seventeen years he removed to Tremont, Schuylkill County, where he and his brother-in-law, John Roerich, rented a brewery, which they operated for the ensuing six years. Mr. Stocker then disposed of his interest in the enterprise and returned to Reading, where he built up a large and profitable business in the ownership and operation of what was known as the Stocker Brewery. He was thoroughly familiar with all details of the business, gave to his plant careful personal supervision and gained for the output a high standard of excellence. Mr. Stocker continued the executive head of the brewery until his death.

Mr. Stocker was survived by his wife, whose maiden name was Catherine Roerich, and by five (children: Henry, J. George, Catherine (wife of Charles Deale), Adam (who was killed by the explosion of a beer vat, Oct. 20, 1905, at the age of twenty-six years, two months, eighteen days), and Caroline.

John Stocker, his son, who was made executor of the estate by the terms of his father’s will, and who was identified with the operation of the brewery from his youthful days was born in Reading, March 19, 1875. After completing the curriculum of the public schools he rounded out his discipline by a course in the Inter-State Business College, at Reading, where he graduated. He then became associated with the work of his father’s brewery in Tremont, and later with the Stocker Brewery in Reading. In January, 1903, he was graduated in the American Brewery Academy in Chicago, Ill. In 1893 he was made brewmaster in his father’s brewery, and in 1897 became general manager of the business.

On Sept. 1, 1904, Mr. Stocker married Miss Anna P. Watkins, who was born and reared in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

On April 8, 1907 John Stocker disposed of the Stocker Brewery. The Stocker brewery, located at 2100 North Eleventh Street, and the Stocker residence, located at 1700 North Eleventh Street, were sold to Augustus Snyder, a brewer, of Pittsburg. The price was never made public.

After the sale of the brewery Mr. Stocker attended to the affairs of the estate and for a short time conducted the Stocker Cafe, at 13 North Eighth Street.

John Stocker died suddenly in St. Joseph’s Hospital at 6:45 o’clock April 13, 1933. He was admitted to the institution from his home, 805 Centre Avenue, at 12:45 o’clock in the morning. He was in ill health for three months prior, but not seriously. He was 58 years old.

Historic Beer Birthday: Julius Deglow

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Today is the birthday of Julius Deglow (August 1823-August 4, 1885). He was born in Germany sometime in August, though the exact date is unknown, but since we know he died on August 4, that’s as good a date as any. He moved to Covington, Kentucky as a young man. In 1866, he founded what would become the Bavarian Brewing Co. Although ownership would pass to others, the brewery remained in business n some form until 1966.

Julius-Deglow

This obituary of Deglow is from the Kentucky State Journal in Newport:

The many friends of Mr. Julius H. Deglow, the prominent tanner of Covington, will regret to learn of his rather sudden death Tuesday at about 1:30 o’clock. The deaths of Mr. Deglow and his wife are of a peculiarly sad nature. About three months ago they went to Germany to be cured of an illness, but not meeting with success, Mrs. Deglow came home to spend her last days. In a few days after her arrival she died. A telegram was sent Mr. Deglow in Germany, but he never received it, and he knew nothing of his wife’s death until he arrived in Cincinnati on Monday night. This sad news so affected him that he, too, died at his country residence on the Lexington pike about an hour after his arrival and taking his bed.

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The Wikipedia page for the Bavarian Brewing Co. mentions Deglow, of course, since he founded the brewery, though how long he remained as an owner is unclear.

After the brewery was established as DeGlow & Co., new ownership interests within just a couple of years resulted in several change to its name beginning in 1868, including DeGlow, Best & Renner. However, in 1873, it was established as the Bavarian Brewery Co. Over the next several years the brewery operated under this name, but ownership interests varied. John Meyer obtained controlling interest and the brewery operated under his name for a short time, starting in 1879. Then in 1882, a German immigrant named William Riedlin, who established a saloon and beer hall called Tivoli Hall in the Over The Rhine area of Cincinnati, entered into partnership with John Meyer. It operated as the Meyer-Riedlin Brewery before Riedlin purchased controlling interest in the brewery from Meyer, incorporated the business under its former name and became president in 1889.

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The Kenton County Public Library also has a history of the Bavarian Brewery, and again Deglow figured only very briefly in the first paragraph.

Bavarian Brewery can be traced back to the year 1866 when Julius Deglow and Charles L. Best began operating a small brewery on Pike Street in Lewisburg. In 1869, the brewery officially became known as Bavarian. William Riedlin and John Meyer were the next owners of the brewery. They purchased Bavarian in 1882. Seven years later, Riedlin became the sole owner. Anton Ruh was hired as the brew master.

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Historic Beer Birthday: Emanuel Bernheimer

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Today is the birthday of Emanuel Bernheimer (August 3, 1817-March 26, 1890). He was born in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, and apprenticed as a brewer in Germany, coming to New York City when he was 27, in 1844. With a partner, August Schmid, in 1850, he founded the Constanz Brewery on East 4th Street near Avenue B, and a couple of years later, with a different partner, James Speyers, he started the Lion Brewery on Columbus Ave, between 107th and 108th Streets in Manhattan, next door to the beer garden at the Lion Park, and indeed it is sometimes referred to as the Lion Park Brewery. The business was reorganized in 1868, and his old business partner August Schmid also became a partner in the Lion Brewery, and by 1890 its official name was the Bernheimer & Schmid Brewery, though they continued to trade under the Lion Brewery name. In 1895, it was the sixth-largest brewery in the U.S. After 1903, it was called the Lion Brewery of New York, presumably to avoid confusion with the many other breweries with Lion in their name. Lion survived prohibition but closed for good in 1942.

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Here’s a biography of Bernheimer from Find-a-Grave, originally from the New York Times, for March 29, 1890:

Emanuel Bernheimer, one of the owners of the Lion Brewery and one of the oldest brewers in this part of the country, died at his home, 351 West Fifty-fifth street, on Thursday, from complaints incident to his advanced age. He had not been in good health for several years, and for some months was unable, save rarely, to leave his house. The funeral will be held at his home to-morrow at 9:30 A.M., the Rev. Dr. Gottheil officiating. The burial will be in the Salem Field Cemetery, the Rev. Dr. Silverman leading the services at the grave. Mr. Bernheimer was born in Germany in 1817, and served an apprenticeship of some years in a brewery in his native country before he came to this city in 1844. When he arrived here it was with some capital, and he engaged in the general importing business in Beaver-street. In 1850 he formed a partnership with August Schmid, and, recognizing the possibilities of brewing in this city, established the Constanz Brewery in East Fourth-street. This was one of the first breweries started here, and it was successful beyond the hopes of the partners. Hundred and Eighth-street, which, with its additions of a big garden and a park for picnics, soon became quite famous, parties being made up in all parts of the city to take the then long trip to Lion Park for an evening’s enjoyment. Mr. Bernheimer began the extensive and elaborate system of advertising which is now a characteristic of the trade, and was the first to establish beer saloons of his own in various parts of the city, gradually disposing of them to their lessees, much the same as is done at present. Under the firm name of Speyer & Bernheimer he continued the business for several years. About 1868 the firm was reorganized by the admission of August Schmid, and a year or so later it was changed into Schmid & Bernheimer by the admission of Joseph Schmid. In 1878 Mr. Bernheimer retired from active participation in the brewery business, his son, S. E. Bernheimer, succeeding him. The business was carried on under the name of Schmid & Bernheimer until Mr. August Schmid died in July, 1889. Then the firm was composed of Mr. Bernheimer’s three sons, S. E., Max E., and Henry Bernheimer. During the civil war Mr. Bernheimer was a liberal contributor to the various funds which were then established. He was a Democrat throughout his life, following his party in national affairs. In local politics he was disposed to be independent. He was one of the oldest members of the Temple Emanu-El, was an active participant in the work of the German Widows and Orphans’ Society, a patron of the Mount Sinai Hospital, the Hebrew Orphan Asylum, the German Hospital, and the Montefiore Home for Chronic Invalids. Besides his sons, he leaves one daughter. His wife died four years ago to-day.

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And this account of Bernheimer is from the West Side Rag:

Emanuel Bernheimer was born in Germany in 1817 and served an apprenticeship there before coming to New York in 1844. He arrived “with some capital” and set up an importing business on Beaver Street. In 1850, he became a partner of August Schmid in the Constanz Brewery which is described as “successful beyond the hopes of the partners.” In all, at its height, the firm of Bernheimer and Schmid owned and operated five breweries, including the Lion, on Staten Island and in Manhattan.

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Bernheimer’s genius seems to have been advertising. He began an elaborate system of marketing which was quickly adopted by his fellow brewers and he established “beer saloons of his own in various parts of the city, gradually disposing of them to their lessees,” not unlike the franchise system of today. The advertisement shown [here] is a perfect example of business savvy combined with some of the higher ideals of the day: “Kings and Emperors will gladly lay down their arms of warfare and drink to the health and happiness of all their peoples. The sun of that golden morn will soon rise and all nationalities will be found drinking our Pilsener and Wuerzberger – the beer of Surpassing quality and lasting flavor.” An image of 19th century paradise accompanied by a glass of Lion Brewery beer. Perfect.

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This is about the brewery from Wikipedia:

Shortly after immigrating to the United States, Swiss-German August Schmid and Emanuel Bernheimer founded the Costanz Brewery at East 4th Street near Avenue B in 1850. The brewery produced a lagered beer, a favorite among German immigrants. By 1852, they built a second Costanz Brewery at Four Corners in Staten Island, home to a large German community. Five years later, Bernheimer became the partner of another German immigrant, James Speyers and founded the Lion Brewery in 1857 in Manhattan Valley.

A group of Catholic Bavarians helped build the Lion Brewery. When it was built, they held masses in the Brewery on Sunday mornings.

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At its peak, the Lion Brewery occupied about six square city blocks, from Central Park West to Amsterdam Avenue and from 107th to 109th Street. At the time Manhattan’s Upper West Side was an open area with inexpensive land housing, many public institutions and an insane asylum. There were about five to ten thousand living in shanties after being displaced by the creation of Central Park in 1859. Consequently, with the brewery and surrounding areas, the Upper West Side failed to increase its real estate value until the early twentieth century.

In 1862, a $1 tax on each barrel of beer hurt small brewers but not Lion. The anti-saloon movement in the late 19th and early 20th century encouraged Lion to clean up its own saloons. Lion Brewery got caught up in a wave of mergers and closings among some of the smaller New York Brewers in the early 1940s which continued until 1941, when the business closed. The brewery (including the canning facilities) was auctioned off on August 26, 1943. The plant was demolished in 1944 and more than 3,000 tons of steel were taken from the original brewery structure and recycled for the war effort.

After the Brewery was knocked down the lot was paved over with cinders. On Sundays, after the war, returning World War II Veterans formed a Softball League and played almost every Sunday afternoon. Home plate was located near 107th street and Columbus Avenue. Today, apartment houses occupy the Lion brewery’s former location.

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Around 1860, the brewery published a pamphlet titled “Observations on Brewing and Beer: With an Analysis and Scientific Testimony Relative to the Lager Beer of the Speyers’ Lion Brewery.” The pamphlet had a short history of the different kinds of beer, and an analysis showing that their lager beer was pure. The pamphlet also included some great line drawings of the brewery complex.

And here’s another story from Rusty Cans:

In 1850 recent Swiss German immigrants August Schmid and Emanuel Bernheimer founded the Costanz Brewery at East 4th Street near Avenue B. The brewery specialized in lagered beer, a favorites among their fellow immigrants. By 1852, their success encouraged them to build a second Costanz Brewery at Four Corners in Staten Island, then home to a large German immigrant community. Eight years later, Bernheimer became the partner of another German immigrant, James Speyers, in his Lion Brewery, established in 1857.

The Lion Brewery, depicted here, occupied a site bounded by what are now Central Park West and Amsterdam Avenue and extending from 107th to 109th Streets. The background view includes Central Park, with a glimpse of the Blockhouse, a relic from the War of 1812. (The Church of the Ascension is there now, built with the brewery’s help in the 1890s). During this period Manhattan’s Upper West Side was a relatively open area offering inexpensive land and it accommodated numerous public institutions including an insane asylum. Also clustered in the neighborhood were the shanty homes of between 5-10,000 thousand people displaced by the formal opening of Central Park in 1859. The combination of shanties, public institutions, and such foul-smelling industries as breweries explains why the Upper West Side failed to develop the real estate value of other areas bordering Central Park until the early twentieth century.

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Late in the life of the Lion Brewery, it became involved in a number of mergers and acquisitions, eventually becoming The Greater New York Brewery, Inc.:

Lion brewing got caught up in a wave of mergers and closing among some of the smaller New York Brewers in the early 1940s. In late 1940, the Fidelio Brewing Co., located at 1st Ave. between 29th and 30th Streets., closed. However, on November 15, 1940, it reopened business as the Greater New York Brewery, Inc. In December 1940, the Greater New York Brewery merged with the Horton Pilsener Brewing Co., which was located at Amsterdam Ave. and 128th Street. Horton Brewing President Alex White became a director of Greater New York Brewery and they continued producing previous Horton products. In January 1941, the Greater New York Brewery merged with City Brewing Corporation of Queens. In February of 1941, Horton, as part of Greater New York Brewery, closed its doors. On April 9, 1941, City Brewing Corporation, as part of Greater New York Brewery, temporarily had its license canceled because of illegal merchandising in the form of gifts to retailers. (It apparently reopened at a later date.)

In May of 1941, Greater New York Brewery, Inc. acquired the Lion Brewery. It was the only brewery of the four that merged that had facilities to package beer in flat top cans. But by February of 1942, the Lion Brewery was closed and put up for sale. There being no buyers, the brewery (including the canning facilities) was auctioned off on August 26, 1943. In 1944 over 3,000 tons of steel were taken from the original brewery structure and recycled for the war effort. In April, 1946, the Greater New York Brewery, Inc. became known as the Greater New York Industries. This entity remained in operation until 1950.

For its short lifetime the former Lion Brewery continued to produce beer in cans labeled as products of the Greater New York Brewery. The two flat tops produced are scarce, but not truly rare. However, during its short life span, the Greater New York Brewery also produced a very rare crowntainer and two rare quarts containing Lion beer and ale. There are only 3 of the Beer quarts known today and the Ale is not much more common. Another rare Lion can, a Lion Pilsner, was produced by Pilsner Brewing in New York in the 1940s, but I do not yet know this company’s relationship to the original Lion Brewing. Today, apartment houses occupy the Lion brewery’s former location.

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Sapporo Buys Anchor Brewing

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This morning Anchor Brewing and Sapporo anounced that Sapporo Holdings Limited was acquiring all of the equity interest in Anchor Brewing Company, and that they’ll take over at the end of the month, August 31. As large as the beer industry is, it’s also a small community where everybody knows everybody, and everybody talks. As a result, there are few secrets. This was one of those rumors that has been circulating around the beer world for months. It’s a rumor everybody was talking about but no one could confirm, though no one was denying it either. Anchor’s press release holds back the amount of the sale, but the news release from Sapporo gives the transaction as $85 million, which seems like a bargain. Sapporo bought only the brewery; Anchor’s distillery business will be spun off into a separate company.

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Here’s Anchor’s press release:

San Francisco, CA (August 3, 2017) – Anchor Brewing Company announces that Sapporo Holdings Limited will be acquiring the company with plans to continue Anchor’s traditions and legacy in San Francisco while growing the brand globally. Anchor Brewing Company’s flagship beer, Anchor Steam® Beer, has been brewed in San Francisco since 1896. Sapporo has a long-standing history in Japan dating back to 1876 and an appreciation for tradition, craftsmanship and provenance which are all fundamental tenets of Anchor.

“Sapporo shares our values and appreciates our unique, time-honored approach to brewing,” said Keith Greggor, Anchor Brewing Co-Owner. “With both a long-term vision and the resources to realize it, Sapporo will keep brewing Anchor’s beers in San Francisco while expanding to new markets worldwide.”

“Anchor Steam Beer is a San Francisco original, inspiring a new generation of brewers and beer lovers around the world,” said Masaki Oga, President and Representative Director, Sapporo Holdings LTD. “Both companies share a brewing philosophy backed by long histories and this transaction enables both Sapporo Group’s US business and Anchor Brewing Company’s global business to make a further leap forward.”

More than 50 years ago, Anchor started the modern craft beer movement with a series of innovations. Anchor brewed the first post-prohibition Porter, ignited todays IPA boom when it introduced dry-hopping and the cascade hop and created the industry’s first seasonal beers. Since then, the emergence of thousands of craft breweries within the United States and around the world has created the need for scale and synergies to compete in a growing global market for craft beer.

Anchor’s experienced management team will continue to run the business but now benefit from superior financing and additional resources. Sapporo is committed to preserving and maintaining Anchor’s operations in San Francisco, including the historic Potrero Hill brewery. Sapporo will invest in the brewery to improve production efficiencies and will strengthen all aspects of management and production to ensure the highest quality of beer is consistently delivered. In addition, Sapporo is fully supportive of Anchor’s new public taproom concept that will be opening soon. Sapporo will also export Anchor to new international markets using its global distribution resources.

The transaction is expected to close on August 31st; subject to customary closing conditions. Terms are not disclosed. Anchor Distilling Company is not part of this transaction and will now become a fully independent company in its own right.

Sapporo first made its way to America in 1964. In 1984, SAPPORO U.S.A., INC. was founded to help preserve our high standard of quality throughout the country. Today, Sapporo stands alone as the best-selling Asian Beer in the United States for more than 30 years.

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Sapporo’s announcement on their website is more perfunctory and all-business, but in some ways more illuminating:

Sapporo Holdings Limited (hereinafter “Sapporo Holdings”) will acquire all of the equity interest of Anchor Brewing Company (California, US; hereinafter “Anchor”).

The Sapporo Group plans to further expand its US beer business by adding Anchor, a prominent beer manufacturer which produces the leading brand “Anchor Steam® Beer,” to its group.

1. Equity transfer agreement

Sapporo Holdings will enter into an equity transfer agreement with Anchor’s parent company Anchor Brewers and Distillers, LLC (hereinafter “ABD”). The transaction will be conducted through Sapporo Holdings’ subsidiary, to be established for the purpose of entering into the agreement. Sapporo will obtain all of ABD’s equity interest in Anchor which will join its group companies.

Execution date of agreement: August 3, 2017 (Thursday)

Equity transfer date: August 31, 2017 (Thursday)

2. Rationale behind Agreement

Last year, the Sapporo Group formulated the new Long-Term Management Vision “SPEED 150” through 2026, the year marking the Group’s 150th anniversary since its founding. The vision set forth in Speed 150 is for the Sapporo Group to be a company with highly unique brands in the fields of “Alcoholic Beverages,” “Food,” and “Soft Drinks” around the world.

Regarding its “Promote Global Business Expansion” policy, a key driver of its group growth strategy, Sapporo Group is pushing forward a distinctive plan that designates North America its business base and the rapidly growing “Southeast Asian” region as its highest-priority markets. In the US where the SAPPORO brand has maintained its position as the No. 1 Asian beer in the country over 30 years, the Group has been considering expanding its beer business through the acquisition of a new brand as well as further growing the SAPPORO brand.

Anchor is a prominent and historic US beer producer founded in 1896 in San Francisco. “Anchor Steam Beer,” its flagship brand, is said to be an icon that ignited the current craft beer boom in the US. Armed with its strong brand power primarily in San Francisco, where it is based, as well as other areas across the US, it has been enjoyed by countless beer lovers throughout the years.

The addition of Anchor’s strong brand power and network to the Sapporo Group’s US beer business portfolio through the conclusion of this agreement is expected to accelerate its speed of growth in the US.

3. About Anchor

Name: Anchor Brewing Company, LLC (beer manufacturing and sales)
Location: 1705 Mariposa Street, San Francisco, California, USA
Year founded: 1896
Representative: CEO Matt Davenport
Num. of employees: 160 (as of December 2016)
Production plant: One plant (San Francisco, California state)
Sales volume Approximate: 1.75 million cases (equivalent to 355ml × 24 bottles in 2016)
Annual sales Approximate: 33 million U.S. dollars (about ¥3.7 billion in fiscal 12/2016)

(Note 1) Sapporo Holdings acquired Anchor Brewing Company’s “equity” instead of its shares due to the fact that the latter is a limited liability company.

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This is, of course, big news, especially locally. The Chronicle got the exclusive on the story because Fritz Maytag had a good relationship with his local paper and after the Griffon Group bought Anchor they continued that tradition. So my newspaper group, like everyone else, was a little behind, and while their reporters are working on the story itself, they asked me to write an analysis of what the sale means for beer lovers, written for a mainstream audience, so please forgive the explanations of everyday things known by most beer aficionados. After an introduction similar to the one that began this post, here’s my initial thoughts on the acquisition of Anchor:

We know why Sapporo wanted Anchor. Their 150th anniversary is coming in 2026, and they’ve made it policy “to be a company with highly unique brands in the fields of ‘Alcoholic Beverages,’ ‘Food,’ and ‘Soft Drinks’ around the world.” They call it “Speed 150,” or the “Promote Global Business Expansion” policy. For the last thirty years, Sapporo has been the number one beer in the Asian market, but they have plans to expand worldwide through the acquisition of new brands. For example, in 2006, Sapporo bought the third-largest brewer in Canada, Sleeman Breweries.

Sapporo considered Anchor a prime target, characterizing the brewery as “a prominent and historic US beer producer founded in 1896 in San Francisco. ‘Anchor Steam Beer,’ its flagship brand, is said to be an icon that ignited the current craft beer boom in the US. Armed with its strong brand power primarily in San Francisco, where it is based, as well as other areas across the US, it has been enjoyed by countless beer lovers throughout the years.”

So what about Anchor? Why were they interested in being part of Sapporo? According to the rumors, Anchor’s been looking for funding to help fuel their growth for at least a year, as sales faltered somewhat in recent years. They’ve remained a strong brand, but the many new beers they’ve been releasing haven’t all done as well as hoped, and it’s been widely rumored that capacity has been down. Capacity is the maximum amount of beer a brewery can brew in a year, and the closer to 100% a brewery is, the more profitable they are. According to Anchor’s president, Keith Greggor, they’re currently operating at between 55 and 60 percent. The grand Pier 48 plan to build a new brewery and event space near AT&T Park has been on hold for a while now, and it’s unclear if that will change. What will change is Anchor will have access to expansion money and other resources that a company as large as Sapporo can make available for them. For example, they’ve already announced a new public taproom on De Haro St., across the street from the existing brewery will go forward as planned.

As is almost always the case, initially nothing will change at Anchor Brewing. None of the beers will change, they’ll continue to brew at their location on Potrero Hill and the current management team will remain at the helm. When Fritz Maytag sold Anchor to the Griffin Group in 2010, very little changed initially, though many hardcore beer lovers were concerned. As the beer industry is going through a period of time where breweries being bought by other breweries or financial groups is becoming commonplace, these deals are often met with a backlash. After an announced sale, many vow to no longer drink beer from the acquired brewery. It was particularly strong when Anheuser-Busch InBev bought 10 Barrel Brewing, Golden Road Brewing and several others recently or when Constellation Brands bought Ballast Point.

Most beer drinkers will be unaffected. Most don’t follow the beer industry’s news at all, and just buy the beer they like to drink. That’s what recent history has shown. There’s a small subset of all craft beer drinkers who really do follow the beer news, and care deeply about whether or not the brewery is independent. They’re often vicious on social media and once a brewery has “sold out,” they become dead to them. But in almost every case, the new markets and increased distribution that resulted from the acquisition more than makes up for losing their business and sales overall increase, often dramatically.

The trade association for craft breweries — The Brewers Association — has been promoting the value of independent breweries for many years, and rewrote their definition of a “craft brewery” in part to reflect that but also to determine who can be a member. They also recently rolled out an “Independent Craft Beer Seal” that members can put on their labels to indicate that they’re not owned by another company (or at least not more than 25 percent).

Being bought by Sapporo will make Anchor no longer eligible to be a member of the Brewers Association, which is particularly strange since Anchor Brewery is credited with starting the entire craft beer movement that resulted in the conditions that led to a trade group representing small brewers being viable. So as the days and weeks unfold, it will be interesting to see how hardcore beer lovers react. So far this morning, after the announcement, reactions have been fairly tame, at least compared to previous sales. Maybe we’re getting used to these things. They’ve definitely become part of the maturing of the craft beer industry, and we’ll continue to see many more in the coming years. This is simply part of the ups and downs of any industry.

But many beer lovers tend to be more emotional and feel an attachment to their favorite brewery, much more so than seems to happen in other businesses. Many breweries, in addition to their beer, sell a brand lifestyle that’s a part of the brand’s identity. Small brewers regularly promote themselves as being mavericks, rebels, independent or just different as a way of distinguishing themselves from the larger breweries. And it often works too well, so much so that their fans sometimes feel betrayed when they reveal themselves to have been a savvy business all along. I think with Anchor Brewery, who’s been around since 1896, they’ll be less of a backlash than in some of the more recent high profile sales. Anchor, and Fritz Maytag, re-invented itself in 1965 and sparked a revolution in beer-making. No one can take that away from them as they start the next chapter of their journey. As long as I can still get a fresh Liberty Ale the next time I stop by the brewery, everything will be fine.

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As I’m sure many people are wondering, I asked Anchor’s press contact whether or not Fritz was consulted — not that they’d have to, of course — but just as a courtesy, and if so, what his thoughts were. As far as I can tell, I don’t think they did talk to him (again, not that they had to at all) and this was the response I got:

We think they would recognize the difficult decision we had to make and would approve of the care and diligence we have made in the route chosen. This acquisition and investment insures that Anchor will be able to continue its time-honored brewing tradition in San Francisco for a long time, which was Fritz’s goal when he sold the brewery.

Historic Beer Birthday: Armin Louis Neubert

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Today is the birthday of Armin Louis Neubert (August 2, 1864-July 3, 1946). He was born in Wolkenstein, Saxony, Germany. His father died when he was five, and he grew up with an uncle, who allowed him to train as a brewer while attending school. After a stint in the German-Saxon Army, he moved with his uncle to the United States. After helping his uncle set up his American business, he moved from city to city working for prominent breweries for several years before finally settling in Minnesota, spending twenty years as the head brewer of the Minneapolis Brewing Co., though his official title was “Production Superintendent.” The year after he took the job, he introduced the popular “Grain Belt Beer.”

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In 1900, the Minneapolis Brewing Co. bought the Black Hills Brewing Co. in Central City, South Dakota. A new brewery was built, designed by Armin Neubert and he was also named vice-president when the business was reorganized.

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When Neubert retired from the Minneapolis Brewing Co. in 1914, he moved his family to Central City, which he’d become fond of during his numerous visits there over the years, and continued to work at Black Hills. Unfortunately, the brewery closed at the beginning of 1917 when the state voted to start prohibition two years before the national prohibition, though it stayed in business by switching to soft drinks and near-beer. But it was a pain in the ass, and Armin apparently was disheartened by what had happened to the industry he loved and the brewery was closed in 1927, and sold the next year. “After that, he moved to a ranch he’d bought near Great Falls, Montana and became a wheat farmer. But aAfter a few years he turned the ranch over to his son and retired to Santa Cruz,” California.

Apparently, a new Black Hills Brewing Co. is in the works, though it gives the original founding date as 1878.

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But after prohibition ended in 1933, Neubert was lured back into the brewery industry and was asked to get involved in reopening the old Salinas Brewery, in California.

Armin was to receive equity in the new company as payment for his engineering work, and his son, Armin K., who had an engineering degree, was included in the deal. The Salinas Brewing & Ice Company was opened and soon gaining recognition for its excellent “Monterey Beer.” Armin, Sr. was brewmaster, and Armin, Jr. was the treasurer of the firm.

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Eventually, Neubert ended up owning the Salinas Brewery outright, with his son, who’d been involved since the beginning, as president.

Then in February of 1937, Rettenmayer met with an untimely death, followed in November by the death of a prime stockholder and director of the company, Dr. Wm. Fehliman. This resulted in the restructuring of the company in 1938, and the Neubert family gaining sole control. The company’s name was changed to the Monterey Brewing Co., with Armin, Jr., president.

There’s surprisingly very little information about Neubert, and no pictures I could find, and almost everything here is from the website Brewery Gems. They also have a much fuller biography of Armin Neubert.

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Historic Beer Birthday: Henry Hess

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Today is the birthday of Henry Hess (August 1, 1859-July 25, 1909). Hess was born in Bucks County, Pennsylvania and in 1901 bought the Germania Brewing Co. in Philadelphia, which has originally been founded in 1875 by Philip J. Laubner, and it was known then as the Philip J. Laubner Brewery. Hess renamed the Henry Hess Brewing Co. and remained opened until it closed in 1911, presumably due to his death two years before. He appears to have been involved in another location that was also called the Henry Hess Brewing Co. from 1909-1912. Before 1909, itwas known as the Consumer’s Brewing Co. and afterwards was known as the Premier Brewing Co., which closed in 1920 due to prohibition. In 1933, it re-opened as Trainer Brewing and in 1937 became known as the Otto Erlanger Brewing Co. until 1951, when it closed for good.

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Here is an obituary of Hess from the “Brewers Journal, Volume 34 for the Year 1909:”

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And this is about his brewery from the book “1100 Years of Brewing:”

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Historic Beer Birthday: Frederick J. Stegmaier

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Today is the birthday of Frederick J. Stegmaier (July 27, 1861-April 23, 1915). He was the son of Charles Stegmaier, who founded the Baer & Stegmaier Brewery with his father-in-law in 1857. It eventually became known as the Stegmaier Brewing Co., and ran it with his sons, Christian, Fred and George. Fred became president when his father passed away in 1906.

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Here’s his obituary, published on Find a Grave:

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The Stegmaier brewery in 1870.

And here’s another obituary, from the Encyclopedia of Pennsylvania Biography Illustrated, Volume 7:

Frederick J., son of Charles and Kathleen (Baer) Stegmaier, was born in Wilkes-Barre, July 27, 1861, and died at his home on South Franklin street, Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, April 22, 1915. He was educated in the public schools, St. Nicholas Parochial School, and Wyoming Seminary, being a graduate of the last named institution. He then became actively associated with his father in business, and at the death of Charles Stegmaier, the father, Frederick J. Stegmaier succeeded him as president of the Stegmaier Brewing Company. It was through the foresighted planning and energy of the sons of Charles Stegmaier that the business founded by the father was developed until it became one of the largest and best equipped plants of its kind in the country. In addition to his responsibilities as head of the company, Frederick J. Stegmaier had other large and important interests. He was for many years president of the South Side Bank, a position ill health caused him to relinquish. He was a director of the First National Bank, director of the Fenwick Lumber Company, director of the Stegmaier Realty Company, and largely interested with his brothers and Abram Nesbitt in the Wales Adding Machine Company. When the last company was threatened with absorption by rivals, these men fought for a number of years to retain the company as a separate plant manufacturing an independent machine, and finally succeeded. Mr. Stegmaier was interested in many other projects, but failing health during his latter years compelled him to withdraw from active participation in many. For four years he lived under the constant care of his physician and knew that his days were numbered, but he neither lost courage nor became despondent. He passed the last winter of his life in the south, but after his return spent nearly every day in his office, literally “dying in the harness.”

He was kind and considerate, very generous, charitable organizations having in him a liberal friend, and when his will was read it was found that Wilkes-Barre City Hospital, Mercy Hospital, United Charities, Nanticoke Hospital, Wilkes-Barre Home for Friendless Children, the Florence Crittenden Shelter and Day Nursery, and the Ladies’ Aid Society had been generously remembered, as had the Home of the Good Shepherd, St. Patrick’s Orphanage, and St. Patrick’s Foundling Home, of Scranton. During his life he served as a director of the City Hospital, knew its needs, and did his full share there as elsewhere in relieving suffering. He was a member of St. Nicholas Church (Roman Catholic) and was a member of the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, who after a solemn high mass of requiem in the church conducted final services at the Stegmaier mausoleum in Hollenback Cemetery. He was also a member of the Franklin Club and the Concordia Singing Society.

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Stegmaier Brewery workers c. 1894.

And here’s one more from American Brewers’ Review from 1915:

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Historic Beer Birthday: Adolf Bremer

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Today is the birthday of Adolf Bremer (July 24, 1869-October 9, 1939). He was born in Minnesota and married the daughter of Jacob Schmidt, who had been a brewer with Hamm’s, and others. Gremer and Schmidt partner in buying the Christopher Stahlmann Cave Brewery, and in 1900 completely remodeled it turning into the iconic “Castle” brewery with the help of Chicago brewery architect Bernard Barthel. They also renamed it the Jacob Schmidt Brewing Co., and after Prohibition, it became the nation’s seventh largest brewery, and for a time Brewer was its president. The brewery continued until 1972, when the brand was bought by G. Heileman. The Castle brewery in St. Paul was abandoned and only recently was renovated into the Schmidt Artist Lofts. Today the Schmidt Brewery brands are owned by Pabst.

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

Businessman. Financier and president of Jacob Schmidt Brewing Company. The son-in-law of Jacob Schmidt and the father of Edward Bremer, who was a 1934 kidnap victim of the Barker-Karpis gang.

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Adolf with his son, Edward Bremer.

Here’s the brewery history from the current brand website:

In 1884, Jacob Schmidt moved to St. Paul, Minnesota and purchased a half interest in the North Star Brewery located at Commercial St. & Hudson Rd. Jacob retired in 1899, turning over the operation to his daughter and son-in-law. The following year the brewery burned to the ground and a new location was immediately found. In 1901, the brewery was incorporated as the Jacob Schmidt Brewing Company and a new plant and malt house were erected next to the existing structures.

Jacob died in 1910, but the brewery continued to enjoy success until Prohibition struck. After a failed attempt at producing soft drinks, a non-alcoholic malt beverage was created and became extremely popular.

After considerable success following the repeal of Prohibition, the company continued to prosper under the Schmidt name until 1955. Most of the original buildings still stand today, looming proudly above the Mississippi River.

Schmidt beer is known as the “Official Beer of the American Sportsman”…a slogan that capitalizes on the exciting, rugged appeal of the Pacific Northwest. The quality and brewing tradition instilled by Jacob Schmidt, continues today.

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And here’s the portion of Schmidt’s Wikipedia page that deals with the brewery’s namesake:

Jacob Schmidt started his brewing career in Minnesota as the Brewmaster for the Theodore Hamm’s Brewing Co. He left this position to become owner of the North Star Brewing Co. Under Schmidt’s new leadership the small brewery would see much success and in 1899 Schimdt transferred partial ownership of his new brewery to a new corporation headed by his son in law Adolph Bremer, and Adolph’s brother Otto. This corporation would later become Bremer Bank. With the new partnership the Jacob Schmidt Brewing Company was established. In 1900 the North Star Brewery would suffer a fire that would close it for good. With the new management team in place a new brewery was needed, the new firm purchased the Stahlmann Brewery form the St. Paul Brewing Co. and immediately started construction on a new Romanesque brewery incorporating parts of Stahlmann’s original brewery along with it including the further excavation of the lagering cellars used in the fermentation process to create Schmidt’s Lager Beer.

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This account is excerpted from the Land of Amber Waters: The History of Brewing in Minnesota, by Doug Hoverson:

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The Schmidt “Castle” brewery in 1905.

Here’s a portion of a lengthier, more thorough account of the brewery’s history, from Substreet:

He came to the United States in 1865 at the age of 20 and worked in brewhouses as he moved westward. He worked in Rochester, Chicago, and Milwaukee, before coming to Minnesota, where he found a position at Schell’s brewery in New Ulm, before moving to Minneapolis’ Heinrich’s and then to Banholzer’s and Hamm’s of St. Paul.

At Theodore Hamm’s brewery, the biggest of its kind in the state, Schmidt became not just the chief brewer, but also a personal friend of the firm’s powerful owner and namesake.

Ultimately, Jacob Schmidt wanted his own brewery.

On the other end of Swede Hollow, in 1860, Edward Drewry and George Scotten founded what would become the North Star Brewery, then just called ‘Drewry & Scotten’. Though it featured a brewhouse large enough to compete with Stahlmann’s operation on the other side of St. Paul, and had adequate—though far from extensive—underground cellars to match, this brewery produced ale, not lager beer, and therefore did not compete with Stahlmann’s brand.

After changing hands several times, it was clear by the early 1880s that North Star required a talented master brewer. The owners of that humble brewery, William Constans (grocer and brewery supply dealer) and Reinhold Koch (brewer and Civil War veteran), hired Jacob Schmidt, and the former Hamm’s brewer rapidly expanded production below the bluff.

Together, Schmidt, Constans and Koch grew North Star Brewery to the point it competed directly with Hamm’s.

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In a few years, the Dayton’s Bluff brewhouse became the second greatest producer of beer west of Chicago by some estimates, sending out 16,000 barrels annually as far as Illinois. In 1884, Constans and Koch decided to leave the business, thereby leaving Schmidt as sole owner. In 1899, Schmidt took down the ‘North Star Brewery’ sign and replaced it with ‘Jacob Schmidt Brewing Company’.

The next year, it all burned.

Today, all that remains of the brewery are its aging cellars, which are a part of the new Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary in Lowertown off Commercial Street.

As he considered the cost of rebuilding, Schmidt received a proposal from St. Paul Brewing: they wanted to sell him their troubled brewery. The brewmaster accepted the offer and moved his operation into the former Cave Brewery, which had been only slightly modified since Stahlmann built it almost 50 years prior. Facilities were inadequate, but he would fix that.

Interestingly, Jacob Schmidt had all the bottles salvaged from the ruined brewery shipped to his new location. The glasses still bore the mark of the North Star brand, a large five-pointed star—a feature the brewer would ultimately opt to keep.

Stars cover the Schmidt brewery to this day, in signs and ironwork, hearkening to Jacob Schmidt’s time at, and the destruction of, North Star Brewery.

Observing the lowly state that Stahlmann’s brewery was in, Schmidt hired a rising Chicago architect, Bernard Barthel, to design a totally new complex to replace what was left of the Christopher Stahlmann Brewing Company, and St. Paul Brewing Company’s brash modifications to it.

It would be medieval on the outside, but totally modern and streamlined inside.

Soon, imposing red brick towers were rising on Fort Road, with obvious influences borrowed from feudal era castles, replacing the modest remains of Cave Brewery. Construction of Jacob Schmidt Brewing Co. was completed in 1904, followed in the next decade by its more significant outbuildings, notably ending in 1915 with the Bottling Department. Schmidt beer was some of the first to be bottled on-site in the state.

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The new brewery complex was designed to compete with the biggest brewers in the country, and it did.

When Jacob died in 1911, his brewery was an icon of the West Side and the employer of more than 200 people. More importantly, the beer continued to flow, unlike the bust that followed the Stahlmanns. Though the man himself was gone, the name Schmidt was becoming ever more prominent across the country.

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Historic Beer Birthday: Peter Adolph Schemm

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Today is the birthday of Peter Adolph Schemm (July 20, 1852-June 6, 1909). He was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Peter Schemm, who founded the Peter Schemm Brewery. When Peter A. began working at his father’s brewery, it was renamed the Peter Schemm & Son Brewery, or the Peter Schemm & Son Lager Brewery.

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

Was a ‘Gentleman’ and had taken over the brewery of his father- Peter Schemm Brewery in Philadelphia. He was also an extensive collector of paintings and was a lover of books.

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The Peter Schemm & Son Brewery located at North 25th Street near Poplar in Philadelphia.

In a biography about his father, Peter Schemm, from the Peter Schemm and Fredericka Rosina Schill Family Group, Peter A. is mentioned toward the end:

In 1885, Peter A. Schemm, Peter’s only son, joined the business, and the elder Peter gradually relinquished active management. His eyesight was beginning to fail, but even so, he maintained his daily practice of visiting the brewery two or three times every day, stroll up to Massholder’s saloon, a few doors above the brewery and sit with three or four old friends, and every day took his own carriage and driver (rather than using the carriage of his family) to meet with an old friend and stop by the brewery to be sure the beer was not too cold and had been properly drawn. In 1895, the contracting firm of Philip Halbach was engaged to add a large stock house to the Peter Schemm & Son brewery at a cost of $30,000.

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Peter A. Schemm (standing up behind the table).

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