Historic Beer Birthday: Emil Schandein

jacob-best
Today is the birthday of Emil Schandein (April 15, 1840-July 22, 1888). He was born in Bavaria, Germany, but emigrated to America when he was sixteen, in 1856. Arriving first in New York, he moved shortly thereafter to Philadelphia, and moved around quite a bit, until finally settling in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1866 where he joined the Philip Best & Co. brewery staff. That same year he married Best’s daughter Lisette, and her father sold the remaining half of the business to her husband, making Frederick Pabst president, and Schandein vice-president. Schandein was a director of the brewery from 1873-1888. When he passed away in 1888, Lisette was elected vice-president.

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This is the Google translation of Emil’s German Wikipedia page:

Schandein was born in 1840 in Obermoschel . His parents were the royal tax and community beneficiary Joseph Wilhelm Schandein (1800-1862) and Louisa Schandein (b. Barth). His uncle was the historian Ludwig Schandein.

At the age of 16 he emigrated to the USA and settled in Philadelphia . After working in different cities, he moved to Watertown, Wisconsin, in 1863. There he married Elizabetha “Lisette” Best, a daughter of the breeder owner Phillip Best.

Together with his brother-in-law Frederick Pabst, he bought shares in his Philip Best Brewing Company and from 1873 until his death took the post of vice-president.

In addition to his work for the brewery, Schandein was one of the founders and first president of the German Society of Milwaukee. He was also director of the Northwestern Life Insurance Company, the Second Ward Savings Bank and President of the Milwaukee Brewers Association.

Emil Schandein died in 1888 during a stay in Germany. He is buried at the Forest Home Cemetery in Milwaukee.

Only after his death was in 1889, the Saddle Your Mansion, a villa in the German Renaissance style, on the 24th and Grand Avenue (now Wisconsin Avenue) in Milwaukee completed. The Milwaukee County Emergency Hospital was built in 1929 on the site of the building.

His widow, Lisette Schandein, assumed his post as vice president after his death until 1894. She died in 1905 during a stay in Germany.

Shandein bequeathed part of his estate to the Kaiserslauter Kreisrealschule and to the Pfälzisches Gewerbemuseum. The Schandeinstrasse in Kaiserslautern is named after him. The Schandeinstrasse in Speyer, however, is named after his uncle Ludwig.

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This Phillip Best Brewing Co. stock certificate, from 1873, is signed by then-president Emil Schandein.

This is from the “National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. III,” published in 1891:

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Historic Beer Birthday: August Krug

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Today is the birthday of August Krug (April 15, 1815-December 30, 1856). Krug was born in Miltenberg, Bavaria, Germany, but when he was 33, in 1848, emigrated to the U.S. and settle in central Wisconsin. He opened a restaurant and the following year, 1849, added a brewery, which was known then as the August Krug Brewery. When he died young, in 1856, his bookkeeper, Joseph Schlitz took over management on behalf of Krug’s widow, Anna Marie. In 1858, Schlitz married Krug’s widow and renamed the brewery after himself.

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Here’s a biography of him from Find-a-Grave:

Brewer. His August Krug Brewery was the foundation that became the giant Joseph Schlitz Brewing Co. in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Born Georg August Krug in Miltenberg, Bavaria, Germany, he came to the USA about 1848, established a restaurant in Kilbourntown (now central Milwaukee), Wisconsin and added a small brewery in 1849 which, limited by lack of refrigeration to brewing in cooler months, produced about 150 barrels the first year. In 1850, his father, Georg Krug, came to visit, surviving a shipwreck on the way. The father managed to save himself, Krug’s eight-year-old nephew August Uihlein and $800 in gold. The gold was used to expand the brewery and hire four people, including Joseph Schlitz as bookkeeper. Krug, who is credited with building Kilawukee’s first underground brewer’s vault tunneled into the hill to provide the consistent cool temperatures essential to brewing and storage, died seven years after his brewery produced its first barrel of beer. The bookkeeper, Schlitz, acquired both his brewery and then his widow after Krug died in 1856. The brewery’s market share increased steadily, and sales doubled when Schlitz entered the Chicago market immediately after the Chicago Fire in 1871. Schlitz was lost at sea in 1875, after which Krug’s four nephews began the Uihlein dynasty that was to run the company during its long history. In the 1960s, Schlitz was the second-largest brewer in the world; during the 1970s it was troubled by indictments for improper marketing, by insufficient advertising and by public resentment over a change in the brewing recipe; finally a 1981 strike lead to the closure of their Milwaukee plant although it was still the USA’s third-largest brewer when purchased by the Stroh Brewery Company of Detroit (now part of Pabst Brewing Co.) in 1982.

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The August Krug Brewery, c. 1850s.

This portion of the brewery’s history from Immigrant Entrepreneurship is entitled “Political Revolution, Emigration, and Establishing a Regional Player in Brewing: August Krug and Joseph Schlitz” and is the early section that includes Krug’s contributions:

At the beginning was the German revolution of 1848. Georg August Krug (born April 15, 1815 in Miltenberg, grand duchy of Hesse-Darmstadt; died: December 30, 1856 in Milwaukee, WI) was born the son of Georg Anton Krug (1785–1860) and Anna Marie Ludwig (1784–1864), who owned the brewery “Zum Weißen Löwen,” the predecessor of today’s Faust brewery, in Miltenberg. This was a small and contested town at the River Main, which belonged until 1803 to the Electorate of Mayence (Mainz), became part of the grand duchy of Baden in 1806, was transferred to the grand duchy of Hesse-Darmstadt in 1810, and finally became part of the Kingdom of Bavaria in 1816. Georg August Krug worked in the family business but also became a member of a group of revolutionists surrounding a local doctor and farmer, Jakob Nöthig, who later emigrated to the U.S. after he was accused of being a ringleader (Rädelsführerei) of a local band of political agitators and other offenses against the Bavarian authorities. Krug and his father were among the petitioners in Miltenberg on March 8, 1848 who demanded liberal reforms. On the following day Miltenberg was shaken by protests and turmoil, and Bavarian armed forces reestablished order. Facing official prosecution, the younger Krug became part of the first wave of politically-motivated emigration. He arrived in the United States in May 1848, where he used only his second name and where he was naturalized on December 15, 1854.

In Milwaukee, at that time a preferred destination for the 48ers, August Krug established, probably with his savings, a saloon and restaurant on 4th and Chestnut Streets. Far from Bavaria, he still managed to receive additional support from his family. First, his fiancée Anna Maria Wiesmann Hartig arrived from Miltenberg (Oct. 9, 1819–Jan. 20, 1887) and they eventually married—likely in 1849. She was the daughter of Michael Wiesmann and Christina Schlohr, both from Miltenberg. Her presence allowed an expansion of his business activities. While Anna Maria Krug managed the restaurant, August Krug started a small brewing business at a nearby building at 420 Chestnut Street in 1849. Second, his father Georg Anton Krug arrived in the United States on October 25, 1850, accompanied by his grandson, 8-year-old August Uihlein. Such visits were not without risk: the visitors travelled on the Helena Sloman, the first German steamship on the transatlantic route. It encountered distress at sea on November 28, 1850 and sunk. Nine people were killed, but the vast majority of the crew and the passengers, in total 175 persons, were rescued by the American ship Devonshire. Georg Anton Krug lost a Bavarian beer pump, which went down with the wreckage, but he rescued $800 in gold (or $23,000 in 2010 dollars). This capital was invested into the brewery of his son and used to hire three additional employees, including a bookkeeper named Joseph Schlitz.

August Krug became a respected citizen. In 1850, his real estate property was valued at $1,600 ($46,100 in 2010 dollars). His household consisted of five people: himself and his wife Anna Maria, two brewery workers (both from Bavaria), and a young 18-year-old women, probably a servant. Krug was apparently a respected voice in his neighborhood, as his name was invoked in a newspaper advertisement for a local fireproof tile maker. He could afford to visit Germany in 1855, where he was able to meet with his relatives again.

By the mid-1850s, Krug already saw himself as a competitor for preeminence with other German immigrant brewers in Milwaukee in particular the Best family and Miltenberg-born Valentin Blatz (1826–1894). However, he was injured in an accident late in 1856, when he tumbled down a hatchway, and passed away several days later. The value of the eleven lots of real estate he owned was estimated at $20,050 ($532,000 in 2010 dollars). There were a total of $15,296.76 in claims and demands against the estate, including $276.50 owed to bookkeeper Joseph Schlitz (in 2010 dollars, equivalent to roughly $406,000 and $7,330, respectively).

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Historic Beer Birthday: Johann Sedlmayr

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Today is the birthday of Johann Sedlmayr (April 9, 1846-November 24, 1900). Johann was the grandson of Gabriel Sedlmayr and the third son of Gabriel Sedlmayr II. Johann’s father inherited the Spaten Brewery, along with his brother, when his father died, but Gabriel became sole owner after his brother Joseph left to start his own brewery, Franziskaner. Two of Joahnn’s older brother dies before their father, so when Gabriel II passed away, he and his younger brothers Carl and Anton inherited the family brewery.

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The caption of this photo, from German Wikipedia, translates to “Delivery of the Spade brewery to the sons Johann, Carl and Anton Sedlmayr 1874,” although I can’t say which one is Johann. I don’t know much more about his time running the brewery. “From 1884 to 1890 he was a member of the German Reichstag for the electoral district of Oberbayern 1 Munich I and the Nationalliberal Party.”

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Historic Beer Birthday: Edward W. Voigt

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Today is the birthday of Edward W. Voigt (April 5, 1844-May 14, 1920). His father was a brewer who founded a brewery, and also trained his son, and sent him to brewing school. He worke din other breweries and in completely different businesses, but eventually worked with his father and ran the family brewery, the Voigt Brewery, in Detroit, Michigan.

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Here’s a thorough biography by Burton (though I confess I don’t know who Burton might be):

EDWARD W. VOIGT was an outstanding figure in connection with the development of Detroit, where for more than fifty-five years he was identified with the city’s business interests. Mr. Voigt was born in Daebeln, Saxony, Germany, April 5, 1844, a son of Carl William and Pauline (Beck) Voigt, the latter of whom died in Germany. The father married again in that country and with his wife and only son, Edward W., sailed from Hamburg for Liverpool, England, the latter part of May, 1854. At the latter port they embarked on the ship Malabar and reached New York on the 1st of August. An epidemic of cholera was then raging in New York and, moreover, the father was not in robust health as a result of conditions which he had experienced during the ocean voyage. It seemed better that they leave New York at once, which they did, and went to College Paint, Long Island. When the father had sufficiently recovered to travel they went west, stopping in Toledo, Chicago and Milwaukee, but remained in those cities only a short time, after which they journeyed an to Madison, Wisconsin. In the latter city Carl William Voigt established a small ale brewery, which was converted into a lager beer brewery in 1857, and this business he conducted until 1863, when he removed to Milwaukee, where he soon afterward purchased the schooner Columbian that plied the lakes between Chicago and Buffalo in the grain trade. In 1864 Carl William Voigt removed to Detroit, retaining his vessel interest until December, 1865, when he disposed of same. It was really his intention at this time to return to Germany, but rumors of the possibility of war between that country and France caused him to defer the trip. In 1866 he established a brewery in Detroit and continued to conduct this until 1871, when he leased the plant to his son, Edward W., and returned to Germany, where he engaged in the milling business until his death in that country in 1889. Edward W. Voigt was about ten years of age when his parents brought him to America. His first schooling was received in his native land and after coming to this country he attended the public schools of Madison, Wisconsin, also a business college and for one term was a student at the University of Wisconsin. He had from boyhood worked in his father’s brewery at different periods and early in life had acquired a practical knowledge of the business. In those days it was impossible to brew lager beer during the summer months owing to the lack of familiarity with the theory of refrigeration, so that during those periods of inactivity Edward W. Voigt was able to attend classes. When the weather became cooler, so that the manufacture of beer could be resumed, he again took his place as a brewer in his father’s plant.

After his father disposed of the brewery at Madison in the fall of 1863, Edward W. Voigt concluded he would go to California and try his fortune in that new country. He went by the Isthmus of Panama but on reaching San Francisco found that work as a brewer was difficult to secure. He could not afford to remain idle indefinitely, so shipped before the mast on the barkentine Monitor, plying between San Francisco and north Pacific coast cities. Wages were law and the work not the most desirable. In writing home to his Vol. II-3 parents he had mentioned the character of his employment and his father replied that if Edward W. Voigt wanted to be a sailor he should come back home, as the father had bought the schooner Columbian. Edward W. Voigt returned east, again by the Isthmus route, and took the position of second mate on his father’s schooner. This was during the latter part of 1864. During the winter of 1864-65 Edward W. Voigt studied navigation in Boston, thus equipping himself to command his father’s schooner, and during the season of 1865 he was captain of the vessel, which was sold in December, 1865.

The following year Edward W. Voigt entered the employ of his father in the brewery which the latter had established in Detroit and continued in that capacity until 1871. At this time his father decided to return to Germany, so that the brewery equipment was disposed of to the son, who rented the plant for a term of four years, later renewing the lease for five more years. This was a downright business transaction and the fact that the father and only child were the principals made no difference whatever in the terms of the deal. The son had practically no capital at all and the father was secured by chattel mortgage on the stock and equipment. This was Edward W. Voigt’s beginning in business for himself and at a time when competition was keen, as there were no less than thirty plants in the ale and lager beer line in Detroit, but he was young, energetic and a hustler. Under his management the business began to grow from the very start and before long he was on the rapid road to success, so that in 1882 he purchased outright the entire interest of his father. The high class product that he turned out soon became one of the most popular in the city and the capacity of his brewery grew from three thousand barrels annually to more than forty-three thousand barrels, which was then a larger production than that of any brewery in the state. Mr. Voigt continued the business as sole owner and under his personal management until 1889, when he sold out to an English syndicate, retaining, however, a substantial interest in the new organization. In 1895 he bought back the business and organized the Voigt Brewery Company, of which he became president, and remained as such until the business was closed out on May 1, 1918, as a result of prohibition. Subsequently the plant passed into the hands of the Voigt Beverage Company, which now owns the plant.

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While Mr. Voigt was a most successful brewery operator and one of the most prominent men in that industry in Detroit, his activities in other lines were big and valuable factors in the city’s growth. As his business became profitable and his means began to accumulate, he invested in numerous projects that not only brought personal gain but great public benefit as well. He was one of the founders of the Edison Illuminating Company of Detroit in 1886, in which undertaking he was associated with James Scripps, George Peck, Simon J. Murphy and several others. This company had a capital of one hundred and fifty thousand dollars and for fifteen years Mr. Voigt was its vice president. It proved a profitable project from its inception and led to Mr. Voigt’s further connection with various public utilities. He helped in establishing branches of the Edison Illuminating Company at Grand Rapids, Jackson, Sault Ste. Marie and Petoskey, Michigan. Mr. Voigt was formerly the owner of a tract of about one hundred and fifty acres of land on Woodward avenue four miles from the city’s center that he operated as a farm for a number of years. Then as the city began to expand he developed the property into the Voigt Park subdivision, which was laid out in the ’90s. In connection with that project he donated the present Voigt Park to the city. He laid out Boston and Chicago boulevards, as well as Atkinson, Edison, Longfellow and Calvert avenues and Glynn Court, comprising some of the best residential property in the city. Years ago Mr. Voigt purchased what was then known as Moores Bay, a tract of land of about fourteen acres at the foot of Twenty-fourth street, which was covered by six feet of water. This was filled in to the harbor line after nearly forty years of effort and was transformed into a valuable property. In 1919 the same was condemned by the city for dockage purposes. He was an extensive owner of central property and his city realty included his residence on Second boulevard and Cass Park, which was completed in 1886 and was his home until his death. This fine old mansion was built in the days when every detail of material and construction was most carefully considered and everywhere gives evidence of the thorough manner in which such work was done. Mr. Voigt was also one of the founders of the Port Huron Sulphite & Paper Company, which was organized in 1888 and of which he was the president until his death. In 1898-1900 he built the North Western Electric Railway out Grand River road to Northville, Orchard Lake and Pontiac, which is a great feeder now to Detroit and is controlled by the Detroit United Railway. He was likewise the president of the bridge company that built the large bridge between Grosse Ile and Wyandotte in 1912. This bridge connected his large tract of valuable land with the mainland. He was also the president of the Miles Theatre Company. He readily recognized and utilized business opportunities and as the years passed by developed his interests to extensive proportions.

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In April, 1871, Mr. Voigt was married to Miss Bertha Dramburg, of Detroit, and they became the parents of four children: Augusta L. and Pauline M., both living at home; Anna Elsa, who is now Mrs. Otto Reinvaldt, of Detroit, and has three daughters; and one son, William F., who married Miss Caroline Halloran, of Detroit, by whom he has a son, Edward W. (II), and two daughters. William F. Voigt, who is the second of the family, and Otto Reinvaldt, his son in-law, were far a number of years associated with the father in business, largely looking after the Voigt interests. Mrs. Bertha (Dramburg) Voigt died in 1890 and for his second wife Mr. Voigt married in 1892 Miss Marion Randall, of Detroit, who passed away in December, 1911. There were no children by this marriage.

Years ago Henry Ford was in the employ of Mr. Voigt for a period of nine years as chief engineer of the Edison Illuminating Company. After prohibition went into effect the Voigt Brewery Company ceased to operate, but the outside interests of Mr. Voigt were extensive and important and made full claim upon his time and energy. In early manhood Mr. Voigt was a democrat, but the party’s stand upon the subject of free trade made him change his allegiance to the republican party, of which he became a warm supporter. He belonged to the Harmonie Society, to the Elks lodge and to the New Grosse Ile Golf Club. Mr. Voigt was one of the original founders of the Detroit Museum of Art. His success came from his own efforts and for many years he was included among Detroit’s strong, substantial business men. He was an unusually well preserved man for one of his years and took a keen interest in everything that pertained to the civic welfare and advancement of Detroit. His contributions to the development of the city were of a most substantial character, making him one of the foremost business men of Michigan’s metropolis. His death occurred May 14, 1920.

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Telling the Stories of Detroit Parks also tells Voigt’s story:

As a landowner, he turned his 150 acre farm off Woodward into Voigt Park Subdivision in the 1890’s. We can thank him for Boston Boulevard, Chicago Boulevard as well as several of the surrounding streets west of Woodward.

Raised in Germany, he traveled to America with his folks Carl William and Pauline in 1854 on the trans-Atlantic ship, the Malabar. The trio crisscrossed the Midwest settling in Madison, Wisconsin where his father started the Capitol Steam Brewery. Edward began his education and attended the University of Wisconsin. He achieved the status of Brew Master at age 17. In 1864, the family brewery was sold to Carl Hausmann, a local WI ale competitor. William Voigt moved to Detroit to start a new brewery; his son Edward went on an adventure to California. The Detroit Voigt Brewery was built on Grand River at High Street [today this is around Grand River and I-75 area). Eventually, its 150 ft. chimney would grace the Detroit skyline.

Edward did an apprenticeship as a sailor and became captain of his father’s schooner – the Columbian; a short-lived adventure running the Great Lakes. Father and son would reunite in Detroit in 1871. Nothing was handed to Edward. He rented the Detroit brewery from his father who moved back to Europe. His energy and work ethic resulted in the ability to purchase the entire brewery operation from Carl in 1882. In 1893, his Rheingold beer earned 4 medals in the Chicago World’s Fair.

Rheingold-Beer-Labels-Voigt-Brewery-Co--Aka-of-Voigt-Prost-Brewing

In 1889, British investors took great interest in purchasing or leasing American brewing facilities. Brewers such as the Stroh family and Anheuser Busch were vocally opposed to this practice. Edward Voigt negotiated the lease of his brewery for the period of 1890-1897. At the end of the contract, he received his business back but without a clean title. He enacted foreclosure proceedings to clear the title and stood in front of the old Detroit city hall to rebid on his business at auction. His creative business practices increased his fortune. He amassed extensive land holdings and was a principal founder of the Edison Illuminating Company which employed Henry Ford.

Around 1902, Voigt donated a rectangular parcel of land at 2nd and 3rd Avenues, Longfellow and Edison Avenues to the city on the condition it would be converted to a park and named for him.

Edward Voigt died at home on May 14, 1920 of a stroke. In 1922, the Voigt estate sold the brewery to a demolition firm who pulled down the chimney with a chain and a truck. The tumbling brick marked the end of Voigt reign in Detroit and the beginning of prohibition.

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He was also very involved in the Grosse Ile Toll Bridge. There’s quite a bit more at Find a Grave, not for him, but for his first wife, Bertha Dramburg Voigt, who believe it or not was the family maid.

Historic Beer Birthday: Frank Hahne

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Today is the birthday of Frank J. Hahne (March 31, 1856-1932). He was born in Neiderfeleris, Germany, an orphan, but made his way to the U.S. when he was 19, in 1875, and found a job in a Milwaukee brewery. He moved around to different brewery jobs across the country, eventually coming to Pennsylvania, and fews later settling in DuBois. Arriving in 1896, he founded the DuBois Brewing Co. either that year or 1897, sources seem mixed. The brewery survived prohibition, with his son, Frank Jr. taking over, and the brewery stayed in business until 1973, but the business had been sold to Pittsburgh Brewing in 1967.

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Here’s a biography of Hahne from the “Twentieth Century History of Clearfield County, Pennsylvania, and Representative Citizens,” by Roland D. Swoope, Jr., published in 1911:

FRANK HAHNE, who is identified with many of the leading enterprises of DuBois, Pa., has been a resident of this borough since 1896. He was born in Germany, March 31, 1856, and being left an orphan when quite young, has mainly made his own way in the world and stands today as a telling example of what an honest, right-minded, hard working boy can become.

Mr. Hahne attended the excellent German schools and at the age of seventeen years started to learn the brewer’s trade. In 1875 he came to America in search of better industrial conditions, landing in Milwaukee, Wis., where he found employment in a brewery. One year later he went to Iowa, where he worked at his trade for three years, when, having accumulated some capital, he took up Government claims in South Dakota, where he engaged in farming for two years. In 1881 he became a resident of Chicago, Ill., and there again went into the brewing business and remained until 1887, at which time he went to Allegheny. He was there until 1896, and then came to DuBois, where his business interests have been extensively developed.

When Mr. Hahne decided that this Pennsylvania town offered excellent business opportunities, he organized first the DuBois Brewing Company and was made its president. The plant at the beginning was not more than one-half the size of the present one but the growth of the enterprise has been continuous, under Mr. Hahne’s judicious management and the time will come when the present commodious quarters on South Main Street, on the B. R. & P. Railroad, will have to be enlarged and still better facilities provided. It is a growing business. The buildings are of brick construction and an average of eighty men are employed. The main office is at DuBois, Pa., with branch offices at Buffalo, N. Y., and Newark, N. J. In connection with the brewery proper, the company has a complete ice plant and by contract, the Hygienic Ice Company takes all their over-production of ice. In addition to supplying the local trade from the brewery, shipments are made to many points, including Hamilton, Canada. The main brands of beer manufactured are: DuBois Budweiser, DuBois Wurzburger, Hahne’s Export and Hahne’s Porter. The officers of the DuBois Brewing Company are well known capitalists. Frank Hahne is president; J. Weil, is vice president; Frank I. Schwem is treasurer, and M. I. McCreight is secretary. Mr. Hahne is also president of the DuBois Storage and Carting Company; is a director of the DuBois Electric and Traction Company; a director of the United Traction Company, and formerly was president of the J. Mahler Glass Company which sold out to the American-French Belgium Glass Company, in 1909.

Mr. Hahne has also prospered as a farmer and stock raiser. He manages a farm of 180 acres of valuable land belonging to the Brewing Company and situated near Luthersburg, in Clearfield County, where he has a large orchard selected by the state as a model demonstrating orchard. He is much interested in the breeding of thoroughbred horses and cattle, making a specialty of Percherons and Holsteins. His 1800-pound Percheron stallion, DuBois, has taken many blue ribbons when exhibited. Improvements of every kind have been made on this farm and Mr. Hahne has been heard to express the wish that he may spend his last years in the midst of these beautiful surroundings.

On May 30, 1883, Mr. Hahne was married first to Miss Carrie A. Trom, of Chicago, Ill., who died in 1896. Four children were born to that union, namely: Emelia T., Maria A., Frank John and Carolla A. In 1900, Mr. Hahne was married secondly to Mrs. Maria Strey, whose death occurred May 16, 1910. Mr. Hahne and children are members of the Roman Catholic church. He is identified fraternally with the Elks, at DuBois, and socially with the Acorn Club of DuBois and the German Club, of Pittsburg. He belongs also to the Pennsylvania Brewer’s Association. In 1903 Mr. Hahne erected his substantial and comfortable dwelling on South Main Street, DuBois, which has been the family home ever since.

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As I mentioned, there was some confusion about the brewery’s founding date, which is addressed on the Wikipedia page for the town of DuBois, Pennsylvania:

There seems to be some debate as to exactly when Frank Hahne came to DuBois and broke ground on his own facility. One source claims 1898, another 1897. It seems most likely that this occurred between April and the end of 1896. It was on April 16, 1896, that the DuBois Weekly Courier reported: “Some new developments in connection with the brewery may be looked for in the near future.”

There were a number of reasons Hahne chose the DuBois site for his facility, but the most frequently cited was the excellence of the water supply. He purchased 2,300 acres (9.3 km2) surrounding the local reservoir to protect the watershed from pollution.

By 1906, the brewery had four products on the market: DuBois Wurzburger, Hahne’s Export Pilsener, DuBois Porter, and DuBois Budweiser. The Budweiser name would be at the center of controversy for 60 years between DuBois Brewing and Anheuser-Busch.

The DuBois brands soon traveled far and wide for a brewery of its size, ranging up to 150 miles (240 km) away and selling well in Buffalo, Erie and Pittsburgh. The brewery’s 300-barrel kettle was kept busy churning out brands, while the left-over grain materials were pressed and sold for cattle feed and grist mills in the rural areas surrounding DuBois.

As with many other American breweries, DuBois Brewing moved right along until 1918 and the advent of Prohibition. The brewery shifted production to “near beer” and soft drinks and opened the H&G Ice Company. According to the April 7, 1933, DuBois Courier, the brewery won the honor of being one of only two breweries in the entire nation that had never violated or been suspected of violating the Prohibition laws since the 18th Amendment went into effect. As a result, DuBois Brewing Company was issued license number G-2, allowing them to resume brewing immediately upon the enaction of the 21st Amendment.

Frank Hahne died in 1932, and the brewery was passed to his only son, Frank Hahne Jr., whose own only son died in infancy, leaving the family without an heir. Hahne Jr. sold the brewery to Pittsburgh Brewing in 1967.

The brewery was torn down in late 2003.

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This biography is from Hahne’s German Wikipedia page:

Frank Hahne had been an orphan at a young age and at the age of 17 he learned the craft of brewing. In 1875 he emigrated to the USA and settled down in Milwaukee , where he found employment in a brewery. A year later he moved to the state of Iowa and worked as a brewer for three more years. With his hitherto saved money he was able to settle in South Dakota and worked for two years in agriculture. He was a beer brewer in Chicago (1881-1887) and Pittsburgh (1887-1896), where he worked as a Braumeister for Eberhardt & Oberbrewery.

In 1896 he moved to DuBois, where he wanted to start his own brewery because of the high water quality. At first, it was not certain whether Hahn’s plans would be accepted by the City Council, but the initial resistance was agreed, and Hahne founded the Du Bois Brewing Company on South Main Street. His business partners were Mike Winter and Jack Weil. Hahne held 51% of the shares in the brewery.

In order to protect the water used in his brewery from pollution, Hahne rose almost nine square kilometers of the area surrounding the local water reservoir.

In 1911 Hahne bought a farm near Luthersburg, Pennsylvania. There he raised Percheron and Holsteiner horses. His orchard was selected by the state as a model factory (English state model orchard).

The Du Bois Brewing Company was at the height of its success when the Prohibition Laws were passed. In the following years, she was only able to produce alcohol-reduced beer and soft drinks.

In addition to the Du Bois Brewing Company, Hahne was also President of DuBois Storage and Carting Company, as well as Director of DuBois Electric and Traction Company and United Traction Company. He also temporarily held the office of J. Mahler Glass Company. In addition, Hahne was a member of the Catholic Church, the DuBois Elks, the Acorn Club of DuBois and the Pennsylvania Brewer’s Association.

Frank Hahne died in 1932, one year before the end of prohibition. His son Frank Jr. took over the management of the company, his daughter Maria became Vice-President.

The Du Bois Brewing Company stayed in business until 1972 when it was closed by their new owner, the Pittsburgh Brewing Company.

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And this account is from the DuBois Area Historical Society:

The DuBois Brewing Company started by Frank Hahne Sr., who was born in Neiderfeleris-on-Rhine, Germany, on March 31, 1856. His father was a tenant famer for one of the great German nobles.

Hahne came to the United States at age 19. He went to the Iowa farming region having heard of the need for help in that section. He worked there for a year before moving to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he got a job in a brewery. Later he went back to farming in Iowa and then to Chicago, Ill,. and Pittsburgh as an employee of various breweries learning all the intricicies of that trade. He was brewmaster for Eberhardt and Ober (E & O) in Pittsburgh’s Troy Hill area.

He married Caroline Trum in Chicago in 1895 and they had four children, Caroline, Amelia, Marie, and Frank Jr.

Hahne came to DuBois in 1895 or 1896 to see if the area would be a suitable place to open his own brewery. He requested a public meeting to determine whether or not the business would be welcome.

There was some resistance to a brewery being established. Hahne decided to take his brewery elsewhere, but was convinced to come back for a second meeting where the details were worked out. A newspaper report on March 8, 1932, the year of Hahne’s death, told the story in this fashion:

“The Board of Trade called such a meeting where he with several of his associates from Pittsburgh outlined their project and offered to join with DuBois citizens in establishing a large brewery . . . To show their good faith large sums were forthwith subscribed and paid to the Board of Trade officials with the privilege to DuBois citizens to subscribe such amounts as they might desire. The public meeting was so enthusiastic at the fine spirit shown by Mr. Hahne and his associates that nearly all the business men of the city subscribed to the venture and a charter was applied for.”

Hahne’s partners in his business were Mike Winter and Jack Weil. Hahne owned 51% of the stock in the company and the rest was sold to interested buyers. The brewery opened in 1896 or 1897. The brewery was built by A. D. Orner and included the brew house, outbuildings, ice house, hospitality room, smoke stack, and the Hahne home on Main Street, still a private residence.

By 1906, at least four products – DuBois Wurzburger, Hahne’s Export Pilsener, DuBois Porter and DuBois Budweiser – were being produced. Hahne’s use of the Budweiser name would create legal battles with the giant Anheuser-Busch Brewery leading to several court cases.

Hahne also owned a farm off of what is now Route 322 east in Luthersburg (above), which he purchased from the R. W. Moore estate in 1911. The orchard was selected by the state as a model demonstrating orchard and his 1,800-pound Percheron stallion, DuBois, took many blue ribbons when he exhibited him. He also breed Holstein cattle.

John H. Hayes managed the farm from 1912-25 and Bill Fairman Sr. and Jr. farmed the grounds from 1936-53. DuBois Brewing sold the farm to Milton Sr., Milton Jr., and Gordon Hartzfeld in 1946. Hartzfeld sold his portion of the farm to Crescent Brick Company, who sold it to present owner Larry Baumgardner. Today the farm is a memory, the buildings are gone and the land strip-mined for coal. There is new growth grasses and small trees and the old farm has become home for wildlife.

Ultimately, the DuBois Brewery grew to a point where branches were established in Buffalo, N.Y., and Newark, N. J. The grain that was left over from the beer was dried and sold to farmers to be used as feed for their cattle. Early on, horse and wagon were used for local deliveries, but anything further could only be delivered by the railroad, using boxcars kept cold by blocks of ice.

The Buffalo, Rochester, & Pittsburgh (BR&P) Railway Company served the brewery. Two spur tracks from the mainline crossed over Pentz Run to the complex. The railroad provided there special designated cars for the brewery, white with trademark lettering, that cost the brewery $50 in 1899.

Over 100 employees were on the payroll and the business was at its peak when the 18th Ammendment to the U.S. Constitution, the Prohibition ammendment, was passed in 1918. Throughout Prohibition the brewery stayed open by converting to selling soda pop and near beer; and opening a division called H & G Ice Company. The DuBois Brewery was one of the few in the country not to be cited during Prohibition and one of the first to reopen when Congress passed the 21st Ammendment. The sale of beer became legal again on April 7, 1933.

Unfortunately, Frank Hahne Sr., who died in March 1932, never got to see his brewery reopen. The reopening meant that the skeleton crew of 20 employees, who kept the plant open during Prohibition, increased to 108 with $200,000 a year in payrolls. Carl Waldbisser resumed his duties as brewmaster, the position he held for two decades prior to Prohibition, and Hahne Porter and Hahne Expoert were new products. The company had orders for 3,000,000 bottles of beer when it reopened.

With the death of his father, management of DuBois Brewery passed to Frank Hahne Jr. with his sister, Marie, as vice president.

The DuBois Brewery had many successes and some setbacks defending its right to use the Budwiser name for over 60 years that it brewed a Budweiser beer. Starting in 1905 when the brewery began the use of the name for one of its many beer brands, Hahne Sr. and later Frank Jr. maintained that their major label beer’s name was derived from the original Budvar Brewery of Budweis, Germany, in the present Czech Republic. This was the Royal Brewery of the Holy Roman Emperor dating back to the early Middle Ages. Effective October 31, 1970, however, Frank Hahne Jr. was prohibited from the using the Budweiser name by a Federal Court order.

In 1967, because of no heirs and the fact that he was losing interest, Frank Jr. had sold the brewery to the Pittsburgh Brewing Company for $1 million, as the Budweiser name case was preceding through the appeals process. A temporary production output problem for Iron City and the DuBois competition was eliminated at the same time. Five years later, 1972, the DuBois Brewery was closed forever. The Pittsburgh company had been bound by the terms of sale to keep the DuBois plant operating for those five years. While under the ownership of Iron City, the Budweiser name case was settled with Anheuser-Busch for a reported million-dollar profit for Pittsburgh Brewing, which had won the U. S. Supreme Court decision. So in effect, Iron City Beer got the DuBois Brewery for next to nothing, however over 100 jobs were lost.

The brewery building complex, which had been used by various businesses over the decades since closing as a brewery, was demolished in 2003. Clearfield County took over the largely condemned and abandoned area and tore down the derelict structures that summer. First to go was the H & G Ice Company followed by the stock house, offices, and, finally, the huge main brewery building and smoke stacks. During the demolition, the whole rear side collapsed unexpectedly with a loud crash and a billow of dust. Luckily, the workmen were on a break and no one was hurt. Rubble was piled to make a ramp that enabled the cranes to reach and safely remove the tall smokestacks. The powerhouse and the smaller outbuilding shops were the last to go. A DuBois landmark was gone.

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Curiously, the DuBois brewery started marketing a beer under the name DuBois Budweiser in 1905. Not surprisingly, Anheuser-Busch brought suit in 1908, but dismissed it and the two brands were marketed simultaneously until DuBois finally stopped making its Budweiser in 1972, after it was owned by Pittsburgh Brewing. Here’s the interesting story of the two Budweisers, from a Metropolitan News-Enterprise article on Thursday, August 4, 2005

Anheuser-Busch long tolerated the operations of DuBois Brewery, maker of “DuBois Budweiser.” It did sue the small Pennsylvania brewery for infringement in 1908, but dismissed the action without prejudice the following year, supposedly because company president Adolphus Busch was in ill-health and conserving his energies. It wasn’t until 1940 that it filed a new action, 35 years after the introduction of “Dubois Budweiser.”

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The Associated Press reported on March 11, 1947:

The DuBois Brewing Co. of DuBois, Pa., contended in Federal District Court Monday that the name “Budweiser Beer” is a geographic and descriptive name and is not the exclusive name of the Anheuser-Busch Brewing Corp. of St. Louis. Judge R. M. Gibson heard arguments in a suit entered by Anheuser-Busch to bar the Pennsylvania company using the name Budweiser for its products. “We have a great mass of testimony to show that where Anheuser-Busch Budweiser and DuBois Budweiser are sold together, there is no confusion,” Elder W. Marshall, former Allegheny county judge and counsel for the DuBois company, declared. “The bartender knows his customers and knows which Budweiser they want,” he continued. “Where a stranger asks for Budweiser, the bartender asks him, ‘Anheuser-Busch or DuBois?’” Marshall said Anheuser-Busch had no exclusive right to the name when DuBois first used it in 1905 and that nothing has occurred since to justify issuance of an injunction against DuBois using the name.

Gibson held on Sept. 9, 1947, that “Budweiser” was not a geographic term as applied to the product of either litigant. The beer of neither brewer came from Budweis. And the word was not a mere description because there was no such thing as a Budweiser process for making beer. It was, plainly and simply, a trade name, he found.

Declaring DuBois to be an infringer in using that trade name, the jurist said:

“In the instant case the Court has had little difficulty in determining that in 1905, when defendant adopted its trade name, the name ‘Budweiser’ identified beer so marked to the general public as the product of Anheuser-Busch.”

As to laches, Gibson wrote:

“While the delay in bringing the action has been great, it must not be forgotten that defendant faced the fact that suit might again be brought when it consented to the withdrawal of the 1909 action, and that since the withdrawal it had notice that plaintiff was not consenting to its use of the trade name.”

The majority of a three-judge panel of the Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals saw it differently. Judge John J. O’Connell remarked in his May 12, 1949 opinion:

“Certainly we have found no case in which injunctive relief was granted after an inexcusable delay for a comparable period of time….In our view, this is not merely a matter of laches; Anheuser has been grossly remiss.”

O’Connell said of the dismissal in 1908:

“The conclusion is irresistible that the Association feared the outcome of its 1908 suit, and that the long delay prior to the filing of the instant complaint amounted to at least an acquiescence in use of the word by DuBois, which Anheuser should be estopped to deny at this late hour, if it was not an actual abandonment of the exclusive right as far as DuBois was concerned.”

The DuBois brewery was purchased in 1967 by Pittsburgh Brewing Company which continued to produce DuBois Budweiser. It ceased production in 1972 following an adverse decision in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.

The Associated Press reported on Oct. 1, 1970:

A 65-year court battle over the use of the name “Budweiser” by two brewing companies apparently came to a head Wednesday when a federal judge shut off the tap on “DuBois Budweiser.”

Judge Louis Rosenberg ruled in U.S. District Court that the name “Budweiser” is now the exclusive trademark of Anheuser-Busch, Inc., of St. Louis….

The two companies in the past reached several court agreements limiting the area in which the DuBois product could be sold, but each agreement was marred by charges of violation.

Du-Bois-Budweiser-Beer-Labels-DuBois-Brewing-Co--Pre-Prohibition

Historic Beer Birthday: Michael Brand

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Today is the birthday of Michael Brand (March 23, 1826-October 26, 1897). Born in Gau-Odernheim, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, he was trained as a brewer and came to America and became a partner with Valentine Busch in 1852 and Busch and Brand Brewery continued until Busch passed away in 1872, when in became the Michael Brand Brewery in Chicago, Illinois, though many sources say that it was 1878 when the name change took place. In 1889, in became the United States Brewing Co., which it remained until in closed in 1955.

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Here’s a short biography from the “History of Chicago.”

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Here’s another short history of his brewery for “One Hundred Years of Brewing.”

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Historic Beer Birthday: Gabriel Sedlmayr

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Today is the birthday of Gabriel Sedlmayr (March 21, 1772-November 19, 1839). He is sometimes referred to as Gabriel Sedlmayr I or Gabriel Sedlmayr the Elder to avoid confusion with his arguably more historically important son, Gabriel Sedlmayr II. In 1807, Gabriel Sedlmayr the Elder acquired the Spaten brewery, when “at the time was the smallest brewery in Munich.” All his Find-a-Grave page says is “Beer brewer, brandy and vinegar manufacturer, bought the location and building of the later founded Spaten Brewery.”

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This is his entry in the Oxford Encyclopedia of Beer, written by Ian Horsey:

Sedlmayr, Gabriel the Elder

[He] purchased a rather unremarkable brewery in Munich, in 1807. Nobody could have imagined then that this commonplace transaction, conducted by an erstwhile brewmaster to the Bavarian Royal Court, would herald the birth of one of the greatest brewing dynasties on earth, and help change the world of brewing forever. The brewery in question was Spaten, which had started life as a Munich brewpub in 1397. Between 1622 and 1704 it was owned by the Späth family, from which the brewery took its name of Spaten (the German word for “spade”). Subsequently, the brewery changed hands a few times, until it was acquired by the Siesmayr family, who sold it to Sedlmayr. The new owner’s brewing acumen was to serve the company well, and, coupled with his energy and enterprise, was to transform Spaten from virtual obscurity—ranking last in terms of malt consumption among Munich’s 52 brewers at the time—to a position of prominence, having become the third-largest brewery in Munich, after Hacker and Pschorr, by 1820. A decade later, Spaten beer was even respectable enough to be served in Munich’s world-renowned Hofbräuhaus, the 1589 former private, now public, watering hole of the Dukes of Wittelsbach, the ruling Bavarian Dynasty between 1180 and 1918. See wittelsbacher family. Much of Sedlmayr’s success stemmed from his readiness to embrace the new brewing technologies that were being developed in Europe in the course of the Industrial Revolution. It was under his stewardship, with direction from his son Gabriel the Younger, for instance, that Spaten experimented with new malting techniques in the 1830s. See sedlmayr, gabriel the younger. In the process, Spaten developed a highly aromatic, deep amber malt now known as Munich malt. The brewery used this malt as the foundation grist of a new lager style, the märzen, which it introduced in 1841. See märzenbier and munich malt. Gabriel Sedlmayr was fortunate in that he had two sons, Gabriel and Josef, who followed in his footsteps as gifted brewers. They assumed the Spaten reins upon Gabriel the Elder’s death in 1839, and immediately began to write their own part of brewing history by turning Spaten into Munich’s leading brewery by the end of the 19th century.

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And here’s a part of a timeline from the Munich Beer Gardens website:

  • 1397: A brewer named Hans Welser of the Welser Prew at Neuhausergasse 4 is recorded in the Munich tax records. Several ownership changes of the brewery occurred over the following 125 years.
  • 1522: The Welser brewery is bought by the Starnberger family.
  • 1622: The brewery is acquired by the Spatt family, who begin to produce a brew by the name Oberspathbräu, eventually changing the name to Spaten, which refers to the spade.
  • 1704: The Sießmayr family takes over the brewery while retaining the Spaten brand name.
  • 1807: The Königliche Hofbräumeister, the brewmaster for the royal court, Gabriel Sedlmayr acquires the Spaten brewery, which at the time was the smallest brewery in Munich.
  • 1817: Spaten purchases the Filserbräukeller in Bayerstrasse, later to became known as the Spaten Keller.
  • 1839: Following the death of Gabriel Sedlmayr, his sons Gabriel and Joseph take over the brewery business.
  • 1842: Joseph Sedlmayr withdraws his partnership from Spaten Brauerei and buys the Leistbrauerei.
  • 1851: Spaten purchases the current property location in Marsstrasse which includes the Silberbauer Keller. Many more acquisitions followed.
  • 1854: The move of the entire brewery to Marsstrasse is completed.
  • 1861: Joseph Sedlmayr buys the shares of August Deiglmayr, with whom he ran the Franziskaner Brauerei (Franziskaner Leistbräu) since 1858.
  • 1867: Spaten Brauerei becomes the largest brewery in Munich and maintains its top position until 1890s. Spaten Brauerei receives a golden medal for their German beer at the World Exposition in Paris.
  • 1874: Johann, Carl and Anton Sedlmayr takes the brewery over from their father Gabriel Sedlmayr.
  • 1884: The artist Otto Hubb designs the Spaten logo with the familiar spade which symbolise a malt shovel and the initials GS in honor of the elder Gabriel Sedlmayr. A similar version of this logo is still in use today.
  • 1891: Spaten Brauerei founded a branch in London selling the “Spaten Munich Lager” brand.
  • 1894: Spaten becomes the first Munich brewery to brew lager in Pilsener style, the “Spaten Münchner Hell”, intended for sale in northern Germany.
  • 1895: Spaten is the first brewery to introduce the Hell (lager) in Munich. Other Munich breweries follow their example.
  • 1909: Spaten begins to export its beer to America on a regular basis.

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Historic Beer Birthday: Frederick August Poth

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Today is the birthday of Frederick August Poth (March 20, 1841-January 21, 1905). Some accounts give his birth date as March 15, and others say the year was 1840. It’s hard to know which is correct, so I’m going with the account that appears to be the most reasonably accurate, one that was provided by his family. He was born in Walhaben, part of the Rheinpfalz region of what today is the Rhenish Palatinate or Palatinate in modern Germany. He came to American when he was 20, in 1861, started working in Philadelphia breweries and by 1870 had bought the Jacob Bentz Brewery, renaming it the Frederick A. Poth Brewery. When he later incorporated in 1893, and his sons were working with him, it became known as the F. A. Poth & Sons Brewery. It reopened after prohibition briefly as the Poth Brewing Co. Inc., but closed for good three years later, in 1936.

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The Poth brewery, from an illustration done in the early 1890s.

While not too surprising from the 19th century, I couldn’t find any photographs of him, and even many websites use the photo of his son, Frederick J. Poth,

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His really short biography at Find-a-Grave consists of three sentences, one of them one word long.”Brewer. By 1875, F. A. Poth and Sons was the largest brewery in the US. Poth was also active in real estate.”

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This lengthy biography is from the “Encyclopedia of Pennsylvania Biography,” published in 1921:

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The Poth & Sons Brewery around 1900.

From a Poth family biography pamphlet:

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Historic Beer Birthday: Robert Portner

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Today is the birthday of Robert Portner (March 20, 1837-May 28, 1906). He was born in Rahden, Westphalia, in what today is Germany. He emigrated to America when he was 16, in 1853. He worked at several professions before becoming a successful grocer in Washington, D.C. area, and then bought a brewery in Alexandria, naming it the Robert Portner Brewing Co., though it later traded under the name “Tivoli Brewery.” By the 1890s, it was the largest brewery in the south, but closed down because of prohibition in 1916. There were also branches in Roanoke, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

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

Beer brewer, inventor, and businessman in Alexandria, Virginia and Washington, D.C. His brewery was considered to be one of the largest in the south prior to Prohibition. He also invented two machines for his brewery, and later combined them to form an early form of air conditioning for his summer estate, Annaburg, in Manassas. He was survived by his wife Anna and ten of his thirteen children.

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And this is his obituary, from an unknown source:

MR. PORTNER DEAD

He Passes Away at Annaburg, his Beloved Country Home.

Mr. Robert Portner, a retired merchant and capitalist of Washington and Manassas died Monday after noon at 4:45 o’clock at “Annaburg,” his country home here. Mr. Portner had been in ill health for more than a year, and death came as the result of bronchial trouble.

He left his city home, 1410 Sixteenth street, Northwest, Sunday, May 20, for Manassas and was taken ill here the following Tuesday and died on the 28th inst.

Robert Portner was born March 20, 1837, at Rahden, Westphalia, Prussia. His military education was received in the Prussian school of Annaburg, Saxony. He came to this country in 1853 and held various clerical positions and was also engaged in the manufacture of tobacco, inventing a new cigarette paper. At the beginning of the war he moved to Washington to establish a wholesale grocery business but not finding the field a likely one he moved to Alexandria, Va., where he established a grocery business. Later he became the owner of a small brewery, and sold supplies to the sutlers of both armies. The brewery industry [?] until, in 1883, he incorporated the Robert Portner Brewing Company of Alexandria. The National Capital Brewing Company of Washington was later organized, and Mr. Portner became vice president.

Mr. Portner always took an active interest in the growth and development of Manassas and was a liberal contributor in all beneficent undertakings. The magnificent hotel here, The Prince William, is an illustration of his kind interest in the town and the people of this section.

The first successful machine for artificial refrigeration with direct ammonia expansion was invented by him in 1873. He was the founder of three building and loan associations in Alexandria, of the Alexandria ship yard, and of the German Banking Company of which he was president.

Among the other institutions in which he was interested are the National Bank of Washington, the American Security and Trust Company, the Riggs Fire Insurance Company, the Virginia Midland Railway, the National Bank of Manassas, Va., and the Capital Construction Company of Washington. In 1880-1881 he was president of the United States Brewers’ Association. He removed to Washington in 1881, and among his large holdings of real estate are the Portner flats, the first apartment house to be erected in that city.

Mr. Portner’s summer home, “Annaburg,” a part of which is in the corporation of Manassas, consists of an estate of 2,500 acres, formerly a celebrated battle ground for both armies. On this tract he had erected a castle similar to those found along the Rhine of his native country. He is survived by a wife and ten children , all of whom were at his bed side during his last hours. The children are as follows: Edward, Alvin, Paul, Oscar, Hermann, Etta, Anna, Elsa, Hildegard and Mrs. Alma Koehler.

The funeral was held privately at his home here at 3:30 o’clock, Wednesday and was conducted by the chaplain of Manasseh lodge, A. F. & A. M. Julius Koehler, a son in law of Mr. Portner, and five sons, Edward, Alvin, Paul, Oscar and Hermann, acted as pallbearers. His remains were laid to rest with masonic ceremonies in the cemetery, near town, where rest two of his children.

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In 1890, Portner, along with the combined efforts of some brewing partners, established the National Capital Brewery Company in D.C.:

The National Capital Brewery Company is a combination of the firms of Albert Carry, Robert Portner and the Robert Portner Brewing Company, the latter selling out the Washington branch of the business. The capital stock of the company is $500,000, all paid up. The company has been in operation since last November [1890], but has been supplying from its new brewery only since June. The officers of the company are as follows: Albert Carry, president; C. A. Strangmann, secretary and treasurer. Directors: Albert Carry, Robert Portner, John L. Vogt, John D. Bartlett, Charles Carry, C. A. Strangmann, Frank P.Madigan.

A brewery that turns out 100,000 barrels of first-class pure beer every year for local consumption solely is a big institution for any city, and yet Washington has recently had just such an addition made to its business enterprises in the National Capital Brewery. Organized by Washington men, officered by Washington men, and with every share of its stock owned here at home, it would seem to be a local enterprise first last and all the time.

This business is the result of the combination of two of the oldest and most successful breweries in this part of the country, and that the new firm will be even more successful is a foregone conclusion. People who have had occasion recently to traverse D street southeast have noticed a splendid new building on the south side of the street between 13th and 14th streets. This is the new home of the National Capital Brewing Company, and it is by long odds one of the most substantial and imposing buildings of the sort to be found anywhere. Although it has been completed hardly more than a month, it has about it already that well-kept appearance and air of bustling activity that always denote prosperity following upon enterprise.

This fine new building, standing as it does in a very desirable location for such a business, with almost an entire block of ground about it, is a five-story structure of brick with handsome stone trimmings and surrounded by a graceful cupola. It covers a plot of ground 94 by 136 feet, and owing to the unusual height of the several stories the building itself is quite as high as an ordinary seven or eight-story building. Attached to the main building are several roomy and substantial outbuildings, including an engine house, stable and cooperage shop, all pleasing in appearance and forming a handsome group.

To make a good pure quality of beer for local use so that it can be drawn from wood and not adulterated with any chemical whatsoever in order to make of it a “beer that keeps well,” this is the purpose of the National Capital Brewing Company. They do not make beer for shipment, and hence their beer is not treated with any salicylic acid or deleterious substances that are sometimes used with bottled beer to keep it clear and lively.

Pure beer is generally considered a healthful drink. The president of the National Capital Brewing Company told a STAR reporter that any person with a proper interest in the matter might take the keys of the entire establishment at any time, go through it thoroughly, and if he found anything at all used in the making of their beer that was not pure and wholesome the company would give him $1,000.

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Beer drawn from the wood is almost certain to be a purer and better quality of beer than the bottled. The National Capital Brewing Company does not bottle. It serves its customers fresh every day with beer that has reached its prime in the immense cooling rooms of the brewery. F. H. Finley & Son, the bottlers, however, have a contract with the company for 20,000 barrels a year of their pale extra beer, and this they bottle and serve to customers in Washington. They get their beer early every morning, as needed, so that people who buy the bottled variety of the National Capital Company’s beer are using beer that left the huge casks at the brewery that very day. J. F. Hermann & Son, Wm. H Brinkley and Jas. A Bailey also acts as agent for the company.

A STAR reporter, accompanied by Mr. Albert Carry, president of the brewing company, recently made a complete inspection of the buildings of the brewery, spending several hours seeing how beer is manufactured from the time it comes in in the form of malt and the raw materials until it leaves the building a clear, cool, foaming beverage inclosed in stout kegs and casks. How much beer there is that leaves the building may be judged when the statement is made that the company uses 10,000 kegs and barrels of all sizes simply in supplying the Washington trade. Nine huge wagons and thirty big horses are used steadily in carrying beer from the brewery to the consumers.

In truth this is no small business. But what strikes the visitor, be he a casual or an interested one, first and most forcibly of all is the absolute cleanliness and neatness that prevails everywhere. The walls and stairways, for the most part of stone and iron – for the building is fireproof throughout – and the floors are all of iron or concrete and immaculate. On all sides there is hot and cold running water, and indeed the wards of a hospital could scarcely be cleaner or more orderly than the various departments of this brewery. There are no secret chambers into which one may not go. Everything is open and above board, and the fact that the company has no objections to the beer consumer examining every branch of its manufacture is a pretty good sign that they know that everything is honest and fair.

As a proof of this the company intends giving a public tour Tuesday, July 28, from 8 to 8 p.m., when everything will be in running order and everybody is invited to visit the brewery and inspect it thoroughly from cellar to roof. A handsome luncheon, consisting of all the delicacies of the season, will be spread. Everything will be free, and the National Capital Brewing Company intend to prove that they are as liberal in their hospitality as they are enterprising in their business. It is needless to say that beer will be plentiful and none need to go to bed thirsty Tuesday night.

Connecting the main building with the engine house is a handsome arched gateway leading into the big court yard, where the wagons stand while they are being loaded. The entrance to the offices is through this gateway. The offices consist of a number of connecting rooms on the main floor in the northwest corner of the building. They are handsomely finished in oak, and are fitted with the most improved office furniture for the convenience of the officers of the company and the corps of bookkeepers and clerks required to transact such an immense volume of business. Opening from the main office and adjoining it is the ice machine room, containing an ice machine with a refrigerating capacity of fifty tons and an eighty-horse-power steam engine, used for grinding and mashing malt and for general hoisting purposes. The ice machine on that hot summer day was almost covered in with ice and snow, and in fact the temperature of the larger part of the brewery is kept down in the neighborhood of freezing point all the time. On the second floor is an immense refrigerating room, and separated from it by an iron door is a room for cleaning and automatically weighing malt, and arranged on the principle of a grain elevator is a store room for malt with a capacity of 20,000 tons. On the third floor is a great copper kettle holding 300 barrels of new boiling beer. The fourth floor is used for hot and cold water tanks and above is a tank for fire purposes. After boiling in the kettle for seven hours the beer is pumped up, strained and left to cool in a big tank under the roof, where a cool current of air blows constantly. To the rear and on the fourth floor is a big store room and a patent cooler. The beer from the tanks above runs down over coils and is cooled to 40 degrees. This and the rooms below are all 76×94 feet and feel like a cold day in midwinter. On the floor below is the fermenting room, and here the beer stays for two weeks in sixty-five tubs, each holding seventy barrels.

After the beer is through fermenting it is piped down below into huge vats, each of a 240-barrel capacity, and here it stays in the rest casks for three or four months, beer four months old being about the best. On the floor below a little new beer is added to give the necessary foam, and after being given about three weeks to clarify it is sent by air pressure into the filling room, where it is run into barrels and kegs ready to be loaded onto the wagons. In neighboring rooms a dozen men are busy all the time cleaning, washing and scouring the kegs so there is no chance for any impurities to mar the flavor of the Golden Eagle and the Capuciner beers.

A few years later, in 1893, he opened a branch of the Robert Portner Brewery in Roanoke, Virginia.

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And this thorough history is from Boundary Stones, WETA’s Local History Blog:

The history of brewing beer in the United States is a rich and storied one. Cities like St. Louis, Missouri and Milwaukee, Wisconsin resonate with most beer drinkers across the country as centers for American brewing. For Virginia residents, you might not realize how close Alexandria, Virginia came to being one of those brewing capitals. From the closing years of the Civil War until prohibition turned Virginia into a dry state, the Robert Portner Brewing Company was the leading brewery and distributor in the southeastern United States. Led by its visionary namesake, the Portner Brewing Company became the largest business in Alexandria and remains a fascinating tale of innovation.

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In 1853, Robert Portner immigrated to America from Westphalia, Prussia. A natural businessman from the start, Portner spent eight years in business ventures before opening a small grocery store in 1861 with his friend and fellow immigrant Frederick Recker. Within a year, Portner & Recker’s Grocery Store earned over $10,000 and became the largest grocery in Alexandria. At the time, Portner showed no signs of interest in starting a brewing company. Unfortunately, it would take the violence of the Civil War to bring him into his famous business.

With the quartering of Union troops in Alexandria during the course of the war, demands for alcohol grew. Portner recognized this trend, gathering three other investors to design plans around their own small brewery. This business venture came at an advantageous time for Portner. In 1862, sales of alcohol were banned in Alexandria by the military governor of the city, mainly due to the public drunkenness and general sloppiness of the Union troops stationed there. Portner mentions some of the conditions in his memoirs:

“Soldiers who had consumed their quota of drink tumbled onto the streets and into the hands of guards, who marched them to the slave pen. On February 3, more than 125 men were arrested. The following night, 100 other rowdies sobered behind bars. Authorities policed the city as best they could by putting prostrated men in wheelbarrows and pushing them over rutted streets…”
Though businesses who sold hard liquors suffered under these new regulations, the beer industry thrived, as beer was thought to be less intoxicating and generally harmless to consume.

Another factor that contributed to the rise of beer consumption was the growing popularity of lager beer. Lagers were native to Germany and Austria before being brought to the United States with the wave of German immigrants in the nineteenth-century. Lagers were lighter and more refreshing than American ales, making them a natural fit for the hot and humid summer months. Unfortunately, the yeast used to make lagers requires cooler temperatures, limiting the brewing of lagers to the cooler months of the year.

As sales continued to grow, Portner sold his share in his grocery business and bought out the shares of his three brewing investors, becoming the sole owner of the newly named Robert Portner Brewing Company in 1865—it could not have been a worse time.

By the summer of 1865, the Civil War was over and federal troops began evacuating Alexandria. Suddenly, demand for alcoholic beverages within the city plummeted. Portner’s factory was now filled with barrels of unsold beer and thousands of dollars of raw materials waiting to be used. To make matters worse, Portner’s brew master left the company to pursue his own business ventures. While Portner was a successful businessman, he knew very little about the brewing process in these early years. Determined to never be beholden to a brew master again, Portner taught himself as much as he could about the brewing process. He gained insight into brewing theory from Carl Wolters, who Portner would soon hire as his new brew master. The two men would spend ten to twelve hours a day for months testing and experimenting in order to produce the perfect lager beer.

To aid in this process, Portner created what would become the first practical artificial cooling and ice-making machines in July of 1880. Prior to this, natural ice and cooling cellars were the only way to provide refrigeration on a large scale. Portner’s cooling device worked by direct ammonia expansion, where a solution of liquefied ammonia and water ran through pipes along walls and ceilings. As this solution rapidly changed into gas it drew heat and moisture from the surrounding air, cooling it. Smaller-scale cooling and ice-making machines existed prior to Portner’s, but his contributions worked on a large scale and were heralded as the first practical designs by trade magazines. His designs would later contribute to modern day air-conditioning technology. With Portner’s innovation, the brewing and transport of lager beer no longer remained limited to the cooler months—it now became a year-long process. So while cooling off indoors during the hot and humid summers of the Washington area with a cool glass or bottle of lager, tip your hat to the memory of Robert Portner.

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Together, Portner and Wolters would test and reformulate different brews for taste and consistency. Their experiments with lager beers paid off with two of Portner’s most famous blends, the Tivoli Hofbrau and Tivoli Cabinet (Tivoli being “I Lov It” spelled backwards). Within ten years, Portner Brewing Company’s sales tripled. With a majority of demand coming from southern states, Portner opened branch offices and bottling plants throughout Virginia, the Carolinas and Georgia. Beers shipped in refrigerated train cars with ice created from the Alexandria plant’s thirty-ton capacity ice maker, reaching great distances without spoilage. Soon nearly every restaurant and hotel across the South and the Mid-Atlantic served Robert Portner beers in their establishments. In 1890, plans were underway to build a new brewery and distribution center in Washington, D.C., at the southeast corner of Thirteenth Street and Maryland Avenue southwest. The Robert Portner Brewing Company was on its way to becoming one of the nation’s leading beer distributors.

All good things eventually come to an end, and the Robert Portner Brewing Company faced two big challenges in the early twentieth-century that it couldn’t recover from: the growing movement of prohibition in Virginia and the death of Robert Portner in 1906. Prohibition movements were strong in Virginia in the years following the Civil War, with local churches and numerous “temperance” conventions denouncing peddlers of alcohol. Early movements called for the enforcement of “Sunday laws” to prevent the sale of alcohol on the Sabbath. Statewide efforts to license and regulate saloons began springing up in the early twentieth century, causing high prices on alcohol and large licensing fees barring entry to prospective distributors and saloon owners.

With the death of Robert Portner in 1906, the weight of external pressures began to mount on the company. To combat the negative campaigns against alcohol and alcohol distributors, Robert Portner Brewing, along with many other brewers, began extolling the good qualities of their beer. Portner beers were “the best of tonics” and recommended “by physicians to all sufferers from nervous and weakening ailments.” It was claimed that the contents of one bottle of Tivoli Hofbrau would “frequently produce the most refreshing sleep, even in severe cases of insomnia.” Portner Brewing also began experimenting with non-alcoholic beverages or “near beers” and opening soda-only distribution lines in Virginia.

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The movement towards prohibition couldn’t be stopped, and a petition drive called for a statewide referendum on the banning of alcoholic beverages. Held on September 22nd, 1914, the referendum passed by nearly 35,000 votes. With this, Virginia would become a dry state on November 1st, 1916. With nowhere left to turn, the Robert Portner Brewing Company ended their production of alcoholic beverages and converted their warehouse space over to a wholesale feed business, handling stock for dairy and poultry feed. Though there was talk of a Robert Portner Brewing revival when the prohibition of alcohol sales ended in 1933, nothing came of it. The two main brewing houses in Alexandria and Washington were demolished and the Robert Portner Corporation dissolved in 1936.

A century after its doors closed in 1916, the Portner beer legacy in Alexandria may yet return. Robert Portner’s great-great grandchildren Catherine and Margaret Portner look to revive their namesake’s vision when they open the Portner Brewhouse in the Van Dorn neighborhood of Alexandria in the summer of 2016. Not only serving as a brewery and restaurant, the Portner sisters look to create a testing kitchen for aspiring brewers, allowing them to “work on a recipe, see it sold and collect feedback and sales data on their own creation.” Much like how Robert Portner and Carl Wolters labored over their creations, the Portner sisters are offering that same opportunity to hopeful brewers. With this revival, Alexandria and the surrounding area will be able to relive the legacy of Robert Portner and Alexandria’s history as a pre-prohibition brewing capital.

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More recently, Robert Portner’s great-granddaughter, Catherine Porter, along with two siblings, has opened a new brewery with the family name, the Portner Brewhouse, a modern brewpub in Alexandria, Virginia. Before opening, graduate business education website Poets & Quants featured her in My Story: From A Brewing Legacy to A Babson MBA:

Even though I never met my great-great grandfather, his legacy is alive in our family and his success well-documented. As a grocery store owner in Alexandria, Virginia, he provided provisions to the Union troops during the Civil War. Beer and other alcoholic beverages were profitable and in great demand by the soldiers and local citizens since lack of transport, restrictions, and guards at the Potomac River crossings made these commodities hard to come by.

Robert Portner paid close attention to what his customers wanted and seized the opportunity to open his first brewery. It was not long before he left the grocery business and focused all of his energy on expanding the brewery operations, creating outposts that stretched from Virginia to Florida.

Like a true entrepreneur, he was also an innovator. The beer needed to stay cold, so my great-great grandfather invented a way to keep it at the right temperature during shipping and transport. He devised a unique system of refrigerated rail cars which became an early prototype for air conditioning, something unheard-of at the time.

My great-great grandfather’s business was based entirely on the production and sale of beer. Together with two of my siblings, I hope to duplicate his success, but with a modern twist: a brewery restaurant set to open by early 2014. At Portner Brewhouse, we will brew original recipes from The Robert Portner Brewing Company with a few small adjustments for today’s palette. In addition to the old favorites, we will brew five other beers including house seasonal recipes and recipes from our Craft Beer Test Kitchen (CBTK).

The CBTK provides brewers at all stages the opportunity to rapid-prototype beer recipes in a live test market. The recipes will be brewed and served at Portner Brewhouse, then our staff will collect feedback and sales data from the brewpub patrons and provide the data back to the brewer. Just as Robert Portner was able to achieve the “American Dream,” we hope that we can assist others in the industry with similar aspirations.

The restaurant’s food and décor will contain a mix of American and German influences plus Robert Portner Brewing Company artifacts such as bottles, cork screws, and advertisements that ran in local newspapers.

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Historic Beer Birthday: Leonhard Eppig

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Today is the birthday of Leonhard Eppig (March 4, 1839-April 9, 1893). He was born in Großwallstadt, Bavaria, and at age fifteen, in 1854, he came to New York on the S.S. Rotterdam and settled in Brooklyn. He learned to brew working for a Brooklyn brewer, Michael Seitz. In 1866, he and a partner formed the Hubert Fischer & Leonhard Eppig Brewery. Ten years later, he bought out his partner and it became simply the Leonard Eppig Brewing Co., but traded under the name Germania Brewery. From what I can tell Eppig’s name was spelled Leonhard, but it was often anglicized to Leonard, even on advertising. When Eppig died, his sons continued running the brewery until it was closed down by prohibition in 1920. They reopened the brewery after repeal, but in 1935 sold it to George Ehret Brewery.

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

Leonhard was born in Bavaria, Germany. He married Margarehta about 1854 and had at least 10 children, Anna, Euginia, John, Henry, Franz, Barbara, Theresa, Mary, Margaret and Regina, some of which are entombed in his mausoleum. Leonhard owned the Eppig Germania Brewery Company, which was located in Brooklyn.

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And here’s his obituary from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle:

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This lengthy story is from “A History of Long Island: From Its Earliest Settlement to the Present Time, Volume 3,” by Peter Ross and William Smith Pelletreau, published in 1905:

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Busts of Eppig and his wife on the family mausoleum.

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Last year, a descendant of the Eppig family opened a craft brewery in San Diego, which they named Eppig Brewing, and included this infographic in their website:

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