Patent No. 2230905A: Beverage Cooling Apparatus

patent-logo
Today in 1941, US Patent 2230905 A was issued, an invention of Louis L. Popky, for his “Beverage Cooling Apparatus.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

The present invention relates to new and useful improvements in apparatus for cooling and dispensing beer and similar beverages, and has for its primary object to provide a dispensing cabinet of a portable nature in which the dispensing faucet is mounted, the faucet being connected to the keg positioned in a room remotely disposed with respect to the cabinet and providing a mechanical cooling unit for circulating air over a set of cooling coils through the cabinet as well as through the room in which the keg is positioned.

A further important object is to provide air ducts leading from the storage room for the beer keg into the cabinet where the same is subjected to the cooling influence of the refrigerant coil and also providing an air duct leading from the cabinet to the storage room for delivering the cooled air to the latter and mounting a beer pipe from ‘the keg in the storage room to the faucet in said cold air duct to further lower the temperature of the beer before the same reaches the faucet.

US2230905-0
US2230905-1

Historic Beer Birthday: Adolph Coors

coors-red
Today is the birthday of Adolph Coors (February 4, 1847-June 5, 1929) whose full name was Adolph Hermann Josef Coors, although it’s probable that the Coors surname was originally spelled Kuhrs, or something like that. Coors was born in what today is Germany, in the town of Barmen, part of Rhenish Prussia, or Rhineland. After being orphaned as a fifteen-year old boy, he continued the apprenticeship he’d begun earlier at the Wenker Brewery in Dortmund, and later on was a paid employee. When he was 21, he stowed aboard a ship in Hamburg and made his way to New York City, where he changed the family name to its present spelling. By spring he’d moved to Chicago, and shortly thereafter became a foreman of John Stenger’s brewery in nearby Napierville, where he worked for the next four years.

At the beginning of 1872, he resigned and headed west, to Denver, Colorado. Coors took a few odd jobs, and then he purchased a partnership in the bottling firm of John Staderman, buying out his partner later the same year, assuming control of the entire business. But it was the following year, on November 14, 1873, that the Coors empire really began. On that day, Adolph Coors, along with Denver confectioner Jacob Schueler, bought the Golden City Tannery, which had been abandoned, in Golden, Colorado, and transformed it into the Golden Brewery. “By February 1874 they were producing beer for sale. In 1880 Coors purchased Schueler’s interest, and the brewery was renamed Adolph Coors Golden Brewery.”

Adolph-Coors

And here’s a short biography from the Colorado Encyclopedia:

Adolph Coors (1847–1929) immigrated to the United States in 1868 after serving as a brewery apprentice in western Germany and then in the Kingdom of Prussia. After working in Chicago breweries, he moved to Colorado in 1872 and purchased a bottling company. He transformed it into the Coors Brewing Company and became one of Colorado’s wealthiest and most influential men during the early twentieth century.

After moving to Denver, Coors promptly bought into a bottling company and became the sole owner by the end of the year. In 1873 he started looking for a place to build a brewery with access to clean mountain water and found one at the abandoned Golden Tannery. He partnered with candy store owner and fellow German Jacob Scheuler to purchase the tannery and turned it into the Scheuler and Coors Brewing Company, one of the first breweries in the area. By 1874, even in the midst of economic crisis, the company was making 800 gallons of beer a day. Their beer was valued for its taste, consistency, and crispness.

Coors hired many German immigrants to run his beer factory, bottling plant, malt house, and icehouse. He invested heavily in new technology, such as metal bottle caps and increased automation. In 1879 he married Louisa Weber. The couple had six children – three daughters and three sons. That same year, he bought out Scheuler and became the sole owner of Coors Brewing. He allowed his workers to join the United Brewery Workmen of the United States and paid them well. The brewery famously provided free beer to its workers during breaks. By 1890, Coors was a millionaire, a US citizen, and a medal winner at the Chicago World’s Fair.

The movement to abolish alcohol began to gather momentum in the late nineteenth century. Coors correctly diversified his investments; beer may be recession-proof, but it would not weather Prohibition. In 1916, when Prohibition began in Colorado, Coors shifted his manufacturing from beer to milk products and porcelain. In 1933, with the repeal of Prohibition, Coors returned to his preferred product but continued to manufacture other goods.

Coors generally remained aloof from Denver high society, but he felt great kinship with his employees and identified with them as a craftsman. He instituted more breaks, better working conditions, and higher wages for his workers than did almost all other brewers. But Coors became disillusioned with his product in the early twentieth century, after pasteurization (the heating of beer to kill microbes) and mass marketing transformed the beer industry. Coors took his life in 1929 by jumping from his hotel balcony in Virginia Beach. In his will, he stipulated that his hotel bill be paid in its entirety; otherwise, he left no note and no reason for his action. Coors is remembered for his entrepreneurial spirit, his rags-to-riches immigrant story, and his dedication to the craft of brewing beer.

bill-moomey-adolph-coors
A portrait of Adolph Coors by artist Bill Moomey

Coors was elected to the Colorado Business Hall of Fame in 1990, who produced a short film of his life for the induction ceremony:

And here’s an early postcard depicting the Coors Brewery in Golden, Colorado. It’s a remarkable place and you should definitely take the tour if you ever get near that part of the world.

coors-brewery-postcard

Patent No. 878136A: Brew-House Equipment

patent-logo
Today in 1908, US Patent 878136 A was issued, an invention of Max Henius, for his “Brew-House Equipment.” There’s no Abstract, although in the description it includes this summary:

The gist of my invention lies in centering about a single point on the brew-house floor, on which the entire apparatus employed in producing the wort is located, all the controlling means for governing and inspecting the operation of the different parts, whereby all such means are rendered conveniently accessible to the manipulation and view of a single operator whose position of duty is at such centering point.

US878136-0
US878136-1

Beer In Ads #1810: Alexander Hamilton — “Father Of American Credit”


Wednesday’s ad is for Budweiser, from 1915, No. 3 in a series they did in 1914-15 called “Framers of the Constitution of the U.S.A.” The third one features Alexander Hamilton, and tells the story of Hamilton creating the Constitution, and his contributions to creating credit. And apparently he was also a fan of beer. “During Hamilton’s lifetime he used his great influence to encourage and protect the brewing industry. Among all the Fathers of the Republic none knew better than he that honestly-brewed barley-malt beers make for true temperance.”

Bud-framers-1915-alex-hamilton

Norman Rockwell’s Beer

art-beer
Today is the birthday of American illustrator and painter Norman Rockwell (February 3, 1894-November 8, 1978) one of the 20th centuries most famous artists. Known for his wholesome depictions of everyday American life, his paintings appeared on the covers of the Saturday Evening Post for almost fifty years, and he frequently did work involving the Boy Scouts, Boys’ Life and such patriotic subjects as “The Four Freedoms.” For a long time, I had assumed his conspicuous absence from the “Beer Belongs” series of ads that the brewing industry did from the 1940s through the 1960s employing some of the best known illustrators of the day, was because he wanted to maintain his wholesome image. But I later found out that he had done quite a bit of advertising work, including for at least one beer company, the Jacob Schmidt Brewing Co.

There’s also “Man with Sandwich and Glass of Beer,” which I believe was painted for an unspecified beer ad, between 1947 and 1950. I far as I can tell, it was never used, as I’ve been unable to turn up the illustration in any actual advertisement. If someone as famous as Rockwell had done the ad, it would be highly collectible and would turn up somewhere.

rockwell-beer-and-sandwich

But several years earlier, in 1930, he did do an illustration for the Jacob Schmidt Brewing Co., and specifically for their brand, Schmidt’s City Club Beer, which they started brewing in the 1920s as a non-alcoholic beer, though after 1933 it became a golden lager.

Schmidts-City-Club-Beer--Labels-Jacob-Schmidt-Brewing-Company
The City Club Beer label in 1933.

It looks like they continued to use the image, and who can blame them, for years afterwards, both in other ads and merchandising. For example, they used the artwork as the back of a deck of promotional playing cards for the brewery in 1954.

Schmidts-City-Club-Beer-Blotters-Jacob-Schmidt-Brewing-Company_6272-1

I’d seen the ad before, and searched in vain for a decent size image of it, finding only small ones. But then over the summer, “thrifting” (which is what my son calls going to yard sales and thrift shops), I found a coffee table book of Norman Rockwell’s advertising work published in 1985. And lo and behold, there was the beer ad. So I picked up the book, scanned the ad, and here it is below in all of its glory. One of the few beer ads by one of the best known illustrators in America. It includes all his trademark folksy charm, and it still relatively subtle for an advertisement, which the wooden case of beer being the most prominent sign of the brand. The bottles have the City Club labels on them, but they’re hard to see sitting on the table. A very cool ad and definitely one of my favorites.

Schmidt's-norman-rockwell-1930
Click here to see the artwork full size.

U. Penn Students Win Prize For 9 Times Faster Brewing Process

u-penn
I tend to be skeptical of anyone who claims to be able to shorten the brewing process, especially by up to nine times, since brewing is a pretty time-honored process, improved little by little over the centuries. And generally speaking, speeding up fermentation has rarely resulted in better beer. Of course, there was that flourish of decades beginning with the industrial revolution that speeded up that process considerably, but since then things have slowed down to a more manageable pace. But that’s exactly what got the winners of this year’s Y-Prize, from the University of Pennsylvania, the grand prize $10,000, “for developing a process that speeds up the fermentation process in beer production by up to nine times — while maintaining alcohol quality and composition.”

The three winners, Alexander David, Shashwata Narain and Siddharth Shah, are students in the Wharton School and the School of Engineering and Applied Science. They’ll received “$10,000 and the rights to commercialize the technology through their company,” which they’ve named “Fermento.”

Y-Prize-2016-Winners-Fermento
The Fermento Team: Alexander David, Shashwata Narain and Siddharth Shah

From UPenn:

The Fermento team selected microfluidic fabrication technology developed by Assistant Professor of Bioengineering David Issadore as the basis of their application.

The alcohol in beer is the product of yeast, which metabolically converts sugar found in barley and other grains into ethanol. This fermentation process typically occur in large batch reactors, where a concoction of boiled and strained grain liquid, known as wort, is left mixed with a carefully controlled amount of yeast.

This stage is one of the major bottlenecks of beer production. It can take up to three weeks, as maintaining the correct amount of yeast is a delicate balance.

“There is only a certain amount of yeast cells one can directly add to a batch reactor,” Narain says, “because overpopulation causes physiological stress on the yeast cells, which in turn reduces reaction rate. It takes time for yeast cells to grow and reach a critical mass to produce enough beer. Moreover, the concentration of sugar available to yeast cells is limited because in a large batch solutions, yeast cells don’t consistently interact with sugar molecules.”

Capable of delivering precisely controlled amounts of liquids to exact locations in a conveyer-belt fashion, microfluidics present a possible solution to both of these challenges. Yeast and wort can be introduced to one another in microdroplets, providing the optimal ratio for fermentation each time.

“Microdroplets to speed up fermentation have been tried in labs, but none of the technologies so far are scalable,” Narain says. “This patented technology actually makes the process industrially scalable for the first time, and in a financially feasible manner.”

So who knows. According to another report, “[t]heir advisors include executives from some of the biggest brewers in the world: MillerCoors, Anheuser-Busch InBev, Biocon India and Heineken. And say what you will about them, but those beer companies employ brewers who know how to make beer. So there may be something to it. It will be interesting to see what becomes of the idea.

Beer In Ads #1809: James Madison — “Father of the Constitution”


Tuesday’s ad is for Budweiser, from 1915, No. 2 in a series they did in 1914-15 called “Framers of the Constitution of the U.S.A.” The second one features James Madison, and tells the story of Madison creating the Constitution, and being a moderate beer drinker. “Many a foaming glass of good barley-malt beer he drank with his bosom friend Thomas Jefferson.”

Bud-framers-1915-james-madison

Historic Beer Birthday: Anton Schwarz

american-brewer-old
Today is the birthday of Anton Schwarz (February 2, 1839-September 24, 1895). In addition to having studied law, he also became a chemist and worked for several breweries in Budapest, before moving to the U.S. in 1868. Moving to New York, he got a job working for the magazine/journal American Brewer, which at the time was more like the People magazine of the brewing industry. He was quickly promoted to editor, eventually buying the publication. He turned it into a serious scientific journal, writing many of the articles himself, but is credited with helping the entire industry improve its standards and processes.

Anton-Schwarz

Here’s his entry from the Jewish Encyclopedia, published in 1906.

Austrian chemist; born at Polna, Bohemia, Feb. 2, 1839; died at New York city Sept. 24, 1895. He was educated at the University of Vienna, where he studied law for two years, and at the Polytechnicum, Prague, where he studied chemistry. Graduating in 1861, he went to Budapest, and was there employed at several breweries. In 1868 he emigrated to the United States and settled in New York city. The following year he was employed on “Der Amerikanische Bierbrauer” (“The American Brewer”) and soon afterward became its editor. A few years later he bought the publication, remaining its editor until his death. He did much to improve the processes of brewing in the United States, and in 1880 founded in New York city the Brewers’ Academy of the United States.

Schwarz’s eldest son, Max Schwarz (b. in Budapest July 29, 1863; d. in New York city Feb. 7, 1901), succeeded him as editor of “The American Brewer” and principal of the Brewers’ Academy. He studied at the universities of Erlangen and Breslau and at the Polytechnic High School at Dresden. In 1880 he followed his father to the United States and became associated with him in many of his undertakings.

Both as editor and as principal of the academy he was very successful. Many of the essays in “The American Brewer,” especially those on chemistry, were written by him. He was a great advocate of the “pure beer” question in America.

american-brewer-letterhead

When the United States Brewers’ Academy celebrated its 25th anniversary, in 1913, there was a ball where several alumni gave speeches and toasts, mentioning Schwarz’ contributions, including this from Gallus Thomann from Germany:

Schwarz-USBA

He also co-wrote the Theory and Practice of the Preparation of Malt and the Fabrication of Beer

Fabrication-of-Beer

Beer Advocate also has a nice story of Schwarz, entitled the O.G. Beer Geek.

anton-schwarz-bust

Beer Birthday: Luke Nicholas

epic
Today is also the 45th birthday of Luke Nicholas, founder/brewer of Epic Brewing in New Zealand. Luke brewed for many years in New Zealand before striking out on his own, and also lived in the States for a spell working for RealBeer.com and became fond of hoppy beers. As a result, his beers are some of the hoppiest in New Zealand. He also started a real beer website just for New Zealand, RealBeer.co.nz and was instrumental in starting a Brewers Guild of NZ. Luke was kind enough to show me around the beer scene in Auckland when I was there with my family a few years ago, and we run into one another at beer events surprisingly often. He’s a great beer ambassador not just for his native country, but for great beer everywhere. You can also read about his exploits online at Luke’s Beer. Join me in wishing Luke a very happy birthday.

P1000425
Me and Luke outside 21st Amendment during a visit to our shores.

P1200435
And at the 2010 Craft Brewers Conference in Chicago.

P1010866
With Stephen Beaumont at CBC in Washington, DC a few years back.

two-bretts-4
Luke in New Zealand at Hallertau Brewbar & Restaurant with owner/brewer Stephen Plowman.

Historic Beer Birthday: Frank Senn

senn-&-ackermann
Today is the birthday of Frank Senn (February 2, 1838-November 8, 1913) who was born in Mechtersheim, Germany, which today is known as Römerberg, but settled in St. Louis, Missouri with his parents in 1853. In Louisville, Kentucky, he opened the Frank Seen Brewery in 1874, but later sold it to his two brothers. In 1877, he took with a partner, Philip Ackermann, he opened a new brewery, the Frank Senn & Philip Ackermann Brewery. In 1892, they shortened it to the Senn & Ackermann Brewing Co., which it remained until being closed by prohibition.

frank-senn

Here’s a short bio, from his obituary, printed in the Western Brewer and Journal for July to December 1913.

Frank-Senn-obit

Here’s a short history of the brewery, from the Encyclopedia of Louisville:

senn-ackermann-history

And another one from Germans in Louisville: A History:

senn-ackermann-history-2

After prohibition began, the building was abandoned, eventually becoming a scrapyard.

Ackerman-and-Senn-abandoned