Historic Birthday: George Crum

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Today is the date that George Crum died in 1914, and the closest anyone knows about when he was born is July 1832, although some accounts say as early as 1822 and at least one more gives 1831. But he was born George Speck, but changed his name to “Crum” (July 1832-July 22, 1914). He worked several jobs before finding his true calling as a chef in upstate New York, most notably at Moon’s Lake House near Saratoga Springs, New York, and later at his own “Crum’s Place.” But his true fame came from the invention of the potato chip in 1853. There is some controversy about whether he is the true inventor, although there are other candidates, and some evidence that either way he may have been involved at some level, he remains the likeliest person to be credited with inventing the potato chip, which makes him a hero in my book.

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Here’s a short account of his life from Ancestory.com:

When George W. Speck-Crum was born in July 1828 in Malta, New York, his father, Abraham, was 39 and his mother, Catherine, was 42. He had three sons and one daughter with Elizabeth J. He then married Hester Esther Bennett in 1860. He died on July 22, 1914, in his hometown, having lived a long life of 86 years, and was buried in Saratoga County, New York.

Nothing about his life seems particularly settled, not his birthday, where he was born, his exact ethnicity, or almost anything else, but here’s what Wikipedia claims:

George Speck (also called George Crum) was a man of mixed ancestry, including St. Regis (Akwesasne) Mohawk Indian, African-American, and possibly German. He worked as a hunter, guide, and cook in the Adirondacks, who became renowned for his culinary skills after being hired at Moon’s Lake House on Saratoga Lake, near Saratoga Springs, New York.

Speck’s specialities included wild game, especially venison and duck, and he often experimented in the kitchen. During the 1850s, while working at Moon’s Lake House in the midst of a dinner rush, Speck tried slicing the potatoes extra thin and dropping it into the deep hot fat of the frying pan. Thus was born the potato chip.

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George and his wife Kate.

Biography

George Speck (also called George Crum) was born on July 15, 1824 (or 1825) [maybe, but possibly other years or dates] in Saratoga County in upstate New York. Some sources suggest that the family lived in Ballston Spa or Malta; others suggest they came from the Adirondacks. Depending upon the source, his father, Abraham, and mother Diana, were variously identified as African American, Oneida, Stockbridge, and/or Mohawk Indians. Some sources associate the family with the St. Regis (Akwesasne) Mohawk reservation that straddles the US/Canadian border. Speck and his sister Kate Wicks, like other Native American or mixed-race people of that era, were variously described as “Indian,” “Mulatto,” “Black,” or just “Colored,” depending on the snap judgement of the census taker.

Speck developed his culinary skills at Cary Moon’s Lake House on Saratoga Lake, noted as an expensive restaurant at a time when wealthy families from Manhattan and other areas were building summer “camps” in the area. Speck and his sister, Wicks, also cooked at the Sans Souci in Ballston Spa, alongside another St. Regis Mohawk Indian known for his skills as a guide and cook, Pete Francis. One of the regular customers at Moon’s was Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt, who, although he savored the food, could never seem to remember Speck’s name. On one occasion, he called a waiter over to ask “Crum,” “How long before we shall eat?” Rather than take offense, Speck decided to embrace the nickname, figuring that, “A crumb is bigger than a speck.”

Wicks later recalled the invention of the potato chip as an accident: she had “chipped off a piece of the potato which, by the merest accident, fell into the pan of fat. She fished it out with a fork and set it down upon a plate beside her on the table.” Her brother tasted it, declared it good, and said, “We’ll have plenty of these.” In a 1932 interview with the Saratogian newspaper, her grandson, John Gilbert Freeman, asserted Wick’s role as the true inventor of the potato chip.

Speck, however, was the one who popularized the potato chip, first as a cook at Moon’s and then in his own place. By 1860, Speck had opened his own restaurant, called Crum’s, on Storey Hill in nearby Malta, New York. His cuisine was in high demand among Saratoga Springs’ tourists and elites: “His prices were…those of the fashionable New York restaurants, but his food and service were worth it…Everything possible was raised on his own small farm, and that, too, got his personal attention whenever he could arrange it.” According to popular accounts, he was said to include a basket of chips on every table. One contemporaneous source recalls that in his restaurant, Speck was unquestionably the man in charge: “His rules of procedure were his own. They were very strict, and being an Indian, he never departed from them. In the slang of the racecourse, he “played no favorites.” Guests were obliged to wait their turn, the millionaire as well as the wage-earner. Mr. Vanderbilt once was obliged to wait an hour and a half for a meal…With none but rich pleasure-seekers as his guests, Crum kept his tables laden with the best of everything, and for it all charged Delmonico prices.”

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Potato Chip Legend

Recipes for frying potato slices were published in several cookbooks in the 19th century. In 1832, a recipe for fried potato “shavings” was included in a United States cookbook derived from an earlier English collection. William Kitchiner’s The Cook’s Oracle (1822), also included techniques for such a dish. Similarly, N.K.M. Lee’s cookbook, The Cook’s Own Book (1832), has a recipe that is very similar to Kitchiner’s.

The New York Tribune ran a feature article on “Crum’s: The Famous Eating House on Saratoga Lake” in December 1891, but, curiously, mentioned nothing about potato chips.[13] Neither did Crum’s commissioned biography, published in 1893, nor did one 1914 obituary in a local paper.[14] Another obituary states “Crum is said to have been the actual inventor of “Saratoga chips.””[15] When Wicks died in 1924, however, her obituary authoritatively identified her as follows: “A sister of George Crum, Mrs. Catherine Wicks, died at the age of 102, and was the cook at Moon’s Lake House. She first invented and fried the famous Saratoga Chips.”

Hugh Bradley’s 1940 history of Saratoga contains some information about Speck, based on local folklore as much as on any specific historical primary sources. Fox and Banner said that Bradley had cited an 1885 article in the Hotel Gazette about Speck and the potato chips. Bradley repeated several myths that appear in that article, including that “Crum was born in 1828, the son of Abe Speck, a mulatto jockey who had come from Kentucky to Saratoga Springs and married a Stockbridge Indian woman,” and that, “Crum also claimed to have considerable German and Spanish blood.”

Cary Moon, owner of Moon’s Lake House, rushed to claim credit for the invention, and began mass-producing the chips, first served in paper cones, then packaged in boxes. They soon became wildly popular: “It was at Moon’s that Clio first tasted the famous Saratoga chips, said to have originated there, and it was she who first scandalized spa society be strolling along Broadway and about the paddock at the race track crunching the crisp circlets out of a paper sack as though they were candy or peanuts. She made it the fashion, and soon you saw all Saratoga dipping into cornucopias filled with golden-brown paper-thin potatoes; a gathered crowd was likely to create a sound like a scuffling through dried autumn leaves.” Visitors to Saratoga Springs were advised to take the 10-mile journey around the lake to Moon’s if only for the chips: “the hobby of the Lake House is Fried Potatoes, and these they serve in good style. They are sold in papers like confectionary.”

A 1973 advertising campaign by the St. Regis Paper Company, which manufactured packaging for chips, featured an ad for Crum (Speck) and his story, published in the national magazines, Fortune and Time. During the late 1970s, the variant of the story featuring Vanderbilt became popular because of the interest in his wealth and name, and evidence suggests the source was an advertising agency for the Potato Chip/Snack Food Association.

A 1983 article in Western Folklore identifies potato chips as having originated in Saratoga Springs, New York, while critiquing the variants of popular stories. In all versions, the chips became popular and subsequently known as “Saratoga chips” or “potato crunches”.

The 21st-century Snopes website writes that Crum’s customer, if he existed, was more likely an obscure one. Vanderbilt was a regular customer at Moon’s Lake House and at Crum’s Malta restaurant, but there is no evidence that he played any role in inventing (or demanding) potato chips.

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Potato chips on a white background.

And here’s yet another story about the origin of the potato chip, written by Jean McGregor in the Saratogian in 1940:

The authentic story of Saratoga chips is at long last revealed by the great nephew of George (Speck) Crum, their originator, Albert J. Stewart, now an employee of Mrs. Webster Curran Moriarta of North Broadway, with whom he has been employed for 24 years. Stewart told the story to Mrs. Moriarta many times as I relate it here: “Aunt Kate Wicks” so called by her friends, had something* to do with their Invention—worked for her brother, Crum. She related the true circumstances to Stewart many times before her death in 1914 at 68 William St., where she resided. Crum was born in Malta, the son of Abram Speck, a mulatto jockey who came from Kentucky in the early days of Saratoga and married an Indian woman of the Stockbridge tribe. It is related that a wealthy dinner guest had one time Jokingly referred to the name Speck, as Crura, and thereupon Speck took over the name of Crum. George Crum was more Indianin appearance. His younger days were spent in the Adirondack^ and he became a mighty hunter and a successful fisherman. His services as a guide in the Adirondack* were much sought after. His companion in the forests was a Frenchman from whom he learned to cook. Shortly after the Frenchman’s death, Cnrn took up his abode near the south end of the lake and prepared to serve ducks. He became known throughout the country for his unique and wonderful skill In cooking game, fish and camp fire dishes generally. While he was employed as a cook at Moon’s Place, opened by Carey B. Moon in 1853 at the Southend of Saratoga Lake, on the Ramsdill Road, the incident occurred which led to the making of Saratoga Chips. “Aunt Kate Wicks” who worked with her brother, Crum, making pastry, had a pan of fat on the stove, while making crullers and was peeling potatoes at the same time. She chipped off a piece of potato which by the merest accident fell into the pan of fat. She fished it out with a fork and set it down upon a plate beside her on the table. Crum came into the kitchen. “What’s this?”, he asked, as he picked up the chip and tasted it “Hm, Hm, that’s good. How did you make it?” “Aunt Kate” described the accident. “That’s a good accident,” said Crum. “We’ll have plenty of these.” HE TREED them out. Demand for them grew like wild fire and he sold them at 15 and ten cents a bag. Thus the Saratoga Chip came into existence. Other makes appeared on the market as time passed. For a long period of years, few prominent men in the world of finance, politics, art, the drama or sports, failed to eat one of Crum’s famous dinners.

The late Cornelius E. Durkee, who died at the age of 96, entertained many guests at Moon’s and was familiar with its history, related this interesting story of Crum’s genius as a cook for me one day while he was compiling his reminiscences: “William H. Vanderbilt, father of Governor William H. Vanderbilt of Rhode Island, a prominent visitor here in those days, was extremely fond of canvasback ducks, but could not get them cooked properly in the village. “He sent a couple to Crum to see what he could do with them. “Crum had never seen a canvasback but having boasted that he could cook anything, willingly undertook to prepare these. “I KEPT THEM over the coals 19 minutes.” Crum told Mr. Durkee, “the blood following the knife and sent them to the table hot. Mr. Vanderbilt said he had never eaten anything like them in his life”Mr. Vanderbilt,” continued Mr. Durkee, “was so pleased he sent Mr. Crum many customers. He prospered in the business. He kept his tables laden with the best of everything and did not neglect to charge Delmonico prices.” “His rules of procedure were his own. Guests were obliged to wait their turn, the millionaire as well as the wage earner. Mr. Vanderbilt was once obliged to wait an hour for a meal and Jay Gould and his party, also visitors here in the early days when this resort was the capital of fashionables of the country, waited as long another time. CRUM LEFT the kitchen to apologize to Mr. Gould, who told him he understood the rules of the establishment and would wait willingly another hour. Judge Hilton and a party of friends were turned away one day. “I can’t wait on you,” said Crum, directing them to a rival house for dinner. “George,” said Mr. Hilton, “you must wait on us if we have to remain in the front yard for two hours.” Mr. Durkee recalled for me that, among those who enjoyed Crum’s cooking and his potato chips were Presidents Chester A. Arthur and Grover Cleveland, and Governors Horatio Seymour, Alonzo B. Cornell, David P. Hill, Roswell P. Flower and such financiers as Vanderbilt, Pierre Lorillard, Berry Wall, William R. Travers, William M. Tweed and E. T. Stokes. Crum died in 1914. His brother, Abraham (Speck) Crum dug out an old Indian canoe for Jonathan Ramsdill of Saratoga Lake which is still on exhibit in the State Museum in Albany as one of the finest examples of Indian canoes and Indian days at Saratoga Lake, rich in Indian lore.

And Original Saratoga Chips in New York, also has their version of the story on their website. And The Great Idea Finder also has some info on Crum.

His own restaurant, Crum’s Place, was located at 793 Malta Avenue in Ballston Spa, New York. Today, a marker can be seen by the spot where it stood from 1860-1890.

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Beer In Ads #2344: Morale, I Love My Dad


Friday’s ad is by the Brewing Industry Foundation, from 1943, part of a series of ads the beer industry undertook during World War 2 under the title “Morale is a Lot of Little Things.” It was one of the first concerted efforts by the brewing industry after they were getting back on their feet after prohibition finally ended around a decade before. The series tried to show support for the troops and help with morale at home. And it must have worked, because the campaign won awards at the time. In this ad, a man just received a valentine from his son, and that “little” thing was his favorite piece of mail. You might wonder what that has to do with beer? Well, it’s one of many little things that “help to keep morale up” during the war. Oh, and I should add. “It happens that millions of Americans attach a special value to their right to enjoy a refreshing glass of beer.”

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Beer In Ads #2343: Morale, Never Did Get To Finish That Ship Model


Thursday’s ad is by the Brewing Industry Foundation, from 1944, part of a series of ads the beer industry undertook during World War 2 under the title “Morale is a Lot of Little Things.” It was one of the first concerted efforts by the brewing industry after they were getting back on their feet after prohibition finally ended around a decade before. The series tried to show support for the troops and help with morale at home. And it must have worked, because the campaign won awards at the time. In this ad, a U.S. Marine is writing a letter home, talking about the little things he remembers, including a model ship he never finished building. He also mentions Mary. This is the third time a Mary has been mentioned, so either she’s something of a floozy and “gets around” or it’s the same guy writing all of these letters.

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Historic Beer Birthday: Peter Adolph Schemm

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Historic Beer Birthday: Louis Hudepohl

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Today is the birthday of Louis Hudepohl (July 20, 1842-April 27, 1902). Originally born as Ludwig Hudepohl II, he and partner George H. Kotte bought the Buckeye Brewery of Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1885, calling it the Kotte & Hudepohl Brewery, though it was later known as the Hudepohl Brewing Company in in 1885. “Hudepohl was the son of Bavarian immigrants and had worked in the surgical tool business before starting his brewery. Hudepohl combined with the Schoenling Brewing Company in 1986.”

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Here’s an account from Queen City History:

Louis Hudepohl (born Ludwig Hudepohl II) had a business model that would raise a few eyebrows in modern state regulatory agencies. He had a combination real estate office and liquor store on Main Street. The real estate thing must not have worked out because his business was listed solely as a wholesale liquor store a few years later; but he definitely had a bright future in the alcoholic beverage industry. Along with his partner George Kotte, Hudepohl sold the liquor store on Main and bought a fledgling brewery on Buckeye Street (now East Clifton) in 1885. Born in Cincinnati by German immigrant parents, Hudepohl would become the first American-born member of Cincinnati’s great pre-Prohibition beer barons. Although Louis Hudepohl died in 1902, his family-run brewery also bridged another generational gap: The Hudepohl Brewing Company was only one of four Cincinnati breweries to survive Prohibition. As the last to still be brewing near beer, the Bruckmann Brewing Company was the only Cincinnati brewery poised to immediately return to production of real beer. Hudepohl, Foss-Schnieder, and Schaller also resumed operations within a few months, and under their pre-Prohibition names. Within a year, these breweries were followed by a series of others that breathed new life into pre-Prohibition breweries.

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And another from Peared Creation:

Louis Hudepohl and his wife, Agnes, made their home in Cincinnati in 1838 after emigrating from Germany. Hudepohl met a business partner by the name of George H. Kotte and the two started a wholesale liquor store near Main and Ninth Street. In 1842 Louis had a son, Louis Hudepohl II, that would grow up to be a major player in Cincinnati brewing. He was initially trained in surgical tools but his lack of interest in the work prompted a move to his father’s liquor store at the age of 24.

Hudepohl II resumed partnership with Kotte, during which Hudepohl Sr. passed away in 1881. It was in 1885 that the new partners sold their store and bought the brewery on East McKinnon and 105/125 Clifton Avenues. The facility had a long history of brewering as it was used by Gottfried & Henry Koehler for 20 years, and then by Kaufmann Brewing Co. from 1883-1885. The duo encountered much success and raised production from 25,000 to 40,000 barrels in only their first year. By 1890 the brewery had more than 5 brands of beer and 100 employees. As the brands and barrels grew, the partners hired brewery architect Fredrick Wolf to design their expansion. Kotte’s death in 1899 prompted the renaming to Hudepohl Brewing Co. The same year, Louis introduced “Golden Jubilee” which became a craving among beer lovers across the region.

Of course the prohibition shut down brewery operations in 1919 but while many other breweries failed to adapt, the Hudepohl brand remained a constant in the market with their near beer and sodas. The near-beer was one half of 1 percent alcohol which they sold individually as well as mixed with a concoction of ginger ale which they called a Dutch Cocktail. After the Prohibition was lifted off, Hudepohl resumed his famous beer making. In fact he was one of the three brands including, Foss-Schneider and Schaller, who were able to reemerge after the prohibition. Following incessant demand for the Hudepohl brands the company purchased the Lackman Brewing Co. in order to increase production in 1934.

By the mid 1980s, Hudepohl was producing 100,000 barrels per year, making Hudepohl and beer synonymous in the tri-state area. Hudy Delight, introduced in 1978 became their star beer along with The Christian Moerlein Cincinnati Select Lager introduced in 1981. The beer, named after famous Cincinnati pre-prohibition brewer, had more flavor and a deep, rich golden color. Hudepohl manufactured 14 other beers including Hudepohl Bock, Hudepohl Beer, Chevy Ale, Old 85 Ale, Burger Light, Hudepohl Gold, and Hudepohl Oktoberfest to name a few. Hudepohl’s 100th anniversary was celebrated in 1985 when it was under the presidency of Bob Pohl. He was in need for an investor when Schoenling Brewing Company took over the business on the decline. The company operated as Hudepohl-Schoenling Brewing Company in the same Hudepohl facility until it was moved to Schoenling facility.

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This biography appeared in the History of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Ohio, published in 1894.

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Louis Hudepohl later in life, enjoying life as a local celebrity.

Sarah Stephens had this to say about Hudepohl in Cincinnati’s Brewing History:

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Beer In Ads #2342: Morale, Nothing Here For The Censor


Wednesday’s ad is by the Brewing Industry Foundation, from 1943, part of a series of ads the beer industry undertook during World War 2 under the title “Morale is a Lot of Little Things.” It was one of the first concerted efforts by the brewing industry after they were getting back on their feet after prohibition finally ended around a decade before. The series tried to show support for the troops and help with morale at home. And it must have worked, because the campaign won awards at the time. In this ad, a woman is mailing a letter to the front, telling him all about little things back at home, none of which will be of any concern to the censors reading the letters to and from the war. Of course, it could be in code. But probably not. “A glass of beer — a small thing, surely, not of crucial importance to any of us. And yet — morale is a lot of little things like this.

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Ballantine’s Literary Ads: A.J. Cronin

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Between 1951 and 1953, P. Ballantine and Sons Brewing Company, or simply Ballentine Beer, created a series of ads with at least thirteen different writers. They asked each one “How would you put a glass of Ballantine Ale into words?” Each author wrote a page that included reference to their beer, and in most cases not subtly. One of them was A.J.
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, who was a Scottish author, best known for The Citadel, “the story of a doctor from a Welsh mining village who quickly moves up the career ladder in London.”

Today is the birthday of Archibald Joseph Cronin (July 19, 1896–January 6, 1981), who was “was a Scottish novelist and physician. His best-known novel is The Citadel, the story of a doctor from a Welsh mining village who quickly moves up the career ladder in London. Cronin had observed this scene closely as a Medical Inspector of Mines and later as a doctor in Harley Street. The book promoted what were then controversial new ideas about medical ethics and helped to inspire the launch of the National Health Service. Another popular mining novel of Cronin’s, set in the North East of England, is The Stars Look Down. Both these novels have been adapted as films, as have Hatter’s Castle, The Keys of the Kingdom and The Green Years. Cronin’s novella Country Doctor was adapted as a long-running BBC radio and TV series Dr Finlay’s Casebook, revived many years later.”

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His 1952 piece for Ballantine was done as a reminiscence of his first taste of Ballantine in America, just after a well-played round of golf:

My first meeting with Ballantine Ale is still vivid in my memory.

It was a sweltering summer day at York Harbor, Maine, shortly after I first came to these United States. I thought it would be a memorable day because I shot the lowest golf score I ever made — a 72.

But in the locker room after the game, a friend said: “Try a Ballantine.”

I did — straight from the icebox. And as it flowed over by parched throat — tangy and refreshing in every swallow — I realized with a big thrill that my search for my favourite beverage was ended. I had always like ale, but here was something lighter, something better than anything I’d ever had abroad.

Well, my discovery outweighed by golf course. I remember that day as the time the “three rings” first rang the bell for me.

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A Meditation On A Quart Mugg

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The Pennsylvania Gazette “was one of the United States’ most prominent newspapers from 1728, before the time period of the American Revolution, until 1800.” In 1729, Benjamin Franklin, and a partner (Hugh Meredith), bought the paper. “Franklin not only printed the paper but also often contributed pieces to the paper under aliases. His newspaper soon became the most successful in the colonies.”

On July 19, 1733, they published a piece entitled “A Meditation on a Quart Mugg.” It was generally attributed to Benjamin Franklin, and for years was published among collections of his writings. However, the current editors of the National Archives are not convinced that it was indeed written by Franklin, and “believe that the essay is not sufficiently characteristic of Franklin’s style to be attributed to him.” Plus, apparently “no external evidence of authorship has been found.” Despite the uncertainty of who wrote it, it remain an interesting, if odd, piece written from the point of view of the mug. It has held beer, among much else, but had more feelings and experienced more humiliations and bad treatment than I had ever thought about before. I must remember to thank my glassware for its service on a more regular basis.

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A Meditation on a Quart Mugg

Wretched, miserable, and unhappy Mug! I pity thy luckless Lot, I commiserate thy Misfortunes, thy Griefs fill me with Compassion, and because of thee are Tears made frequently to burst from my Eyes.

How often have I seen him compell’d to hold up his Handle at the Bar, for no other Crime than that of being empty; then snatch’d away by a surly Officer, and plung’d suddenly into a Tub of cold Water: Sad Spectacle, and Emblem of human Penury, oppress’d by arbitrary Power! How often is he hurry’d down into a dismal Vault, sent up fully laden in a cold Sweat, and by a rude Hand thrust into the Fire! How often have I seen it obliged to undergo the Indignities of a dirty Wench; to have melting Candles dropt on its naked Sides, and sometimes in its Mouth, to risque being broken into a thousand Pieces, for Actions which itself was not guilty of! How often is he forced into the Company of boisterous Sots, who say all their Nonsence, Noise, profane Swearing, Cursing, and Quarreling, on the harmless Mug, which speaks not a Word! They overset him, maim him, and sometimes turn him to Arms offensive or defensive, as they please; when of himself he would not be of either Party, but would as willingly stand still. Alas! what Power, or Place, is provided, where this poor Mug, this unpitied Slave, can have Redress of his Wrongs and Sufferings? Or where shall he have a Word of Praise bestow’d on him for his Well-doings, and faithful Services? If he prove of a large size, his Owner curses him, and says he will devour more than he’ll earn: If his Size be small, those whom his Master appoints him to serve will curse him as much, and perhaps threaten him with the Inquisition of the Standard. Poor Mug, unfortunate is thy Condition! Of thy self thou wouldst do no Harm, but much Harm is done with thee! Thou art accused of many Mischiefs; thou art said to administer Drunkenness, Poison, and broken Heads: But none praise thee for the good Things thou yieldest! Shouldest thou produce double Beer, nappy Ale, stallcop Cyder, or Cyder mull’d, fine Punch, or cordial Tiff; yet for all these shouldst thou not be prais’d, but the rich Liquors themselves, which tho’ within thee, twill be said to be foreign to thee! And yet, so unhappy is thy Destiny, thou must bear all their Faults and Abominations! Hast thou been industriously serving thy Employers with Tiff or Punch, and instantly they dispatch thee for Cyder, then must thou be abused for smelling of Rum. Hast thou been steaming their Noses gratefully, with mull’d Cyder or butter’d Ale, and then offerest to refresh their Palates with the best of Beer, they will curse thee for thy Greasiness. And how, alas! can thy Service be rendered more tolerable to thee? If thou submittest thy self to a Scouring in the Kitchen, what must thou undergo from sharp Sand, hot Ashes, and a coarse Dishclout; besides the Danger of having thy Lips rudely torn, thy Countenance disfigured, thy Arms dismantled, and thy whole Frame shatter’d, with violent Concussions in an Iron Pot or Brass Kettle! And yet, O Mug! if these Dangers thou escapest, with little Injury, thou must at last untimely fall, be broken to Pieces, and cast away, never more to be recollected and form’d into a Quart Mug. Whether by the Fire, or in a Battle, or choak’d with a Dishclout, or by a Stroke against a Stone, thy Dissolution happens; ’tis all alike to thy avaritious Owner; he grieves not for thee, but for the Shilling with which he purchased thee! If thy Bottom-Part should chance to survive, it may be preserv’d to hold Bits of Candles, or Blacking for Shoes, or Salve for kibed Heels; but all thy other Members will be for ever buried in some miry Hole; or less carefully disposed of, so that little Children, who have not yet arrived to Acts of Cruelty, may gather them up to furnish out their Baby-Houses: Or, being cast upon the Dunghill, they will therewith be carted into Meadow Grounds; where, being spread abroad and discovered, they must be thrown to the Heap of Stones, Bones, and Rubbish; or being left until the Mower finds them with his Scythe, they will with bitter Curses be tossed over the Hedge; and so serve for unlucky Boys to throw at Birds and Dogs; until by Length of Time and numerous Casualties, they shall be press’d into their Mother Earth, and be converted to their original Principles.

Beer In Ads #2341: Morale, I Can Just See The Trout Rising


Tuesday’s ad is by the Brewing Industry Foundation, from 1944, part of a series of ads the beer industry undertook during World War 2 under the title “Morale is a Lot of Little Things.” It was one of the first concerted efforts by the brewing industry after they were getting back on their feet after prohibition finally ended around a decade before. The series tried to show support for the troops and help with morale at home. And it must have worked, because the campaign won awards at the time. In this ad, a U.S. Marine is writing a letter home, reminiscing about little things, like fishing in Seward’s Creek, along with rowboats, baseball, and strawberries. Oh, and “the right to enjoy a refreshing glass of beer.”

Brewing Industry Foundation - USA - 1940

Historic Beer Birthday: Peter Austin

ringwood
Today is the birthday of Peter Austin (July 18, 1921-January 1, 2014). He “was a British brewer. He founded Ringwood Brewery and was a co-founder and first chairman of the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA). He built some 140 new breweries in the UK and 16 other countries.”

peter-austin-3

This overview is from his Wikipedia page:

Peter Austin was born in Edmonton, London on 18 July 1921. He went to Highgate School, followed by the British merchant navy training ship HMS Conway. His father worked for the brewing equipment supplier Pontifex, and his great-uncle had run a brewery in Christchurch.

Austin founded Ringwood Brewery in 1978. In 1979, David Bruce started his first Firkin Brewery brewpub in Elephant and Castle, London; Austin oversaw his choice of equipment and the design for its small basement brewery.

Austin was the prime mover in establishing the Society of Independent Brewers (SIBA) in 1980, and its first chairman. Under his leadership, SIBA campaigned for 20 years, without the support of any other body, for a progressive beer duty system (smaller breweries to pay less tax on their products) to be introduced in the UK. Such a system was finally adopted by the then Chancellor Gordon Brown in 2002.

By the time that Austin had retired from Ringwood Brewery, he had assisted in helping start 40 new UK breweries in a decade. After that, he worked internationally, in the US, France, China, Nigeria, and Russia, among others, building some 140 new breweries in 17 countries.

In the US alone, 74 new breweries were built, all using his brewing system. He taught Alan Pugsley brewing, and he went on to found Shipyard Brewing Company in 1994, and later take over Sea Dog Brewing Company.

peter-austin-1986

Peter only recently passed away. Here’s his obituary in the Guardian, written by Roger Protz:

One rain-swept day in 1978 I went to Ringwood in Hampshire to meet Peter Austin and encounter a new concept in beer making: a micro-brewery. At that time brewing was dominated by six giant national brewers who were converting their pubs to keg beers and taking over and closing many of the remaining independent breweries.

It seemed unlikely that Peter Austin’s tiny plant in a former bakery would dent the power of the Big Six nationals. But Ringwood Brewery proved to be a catalyst. Camra – the Campaign for Real Ale – had been launched in 1971, its membership had soared and its beer festivals were packed.

Rebellion was in the air and Peter Austin, who has died aged 92, was ready to meet the challenge. When he eventually retired from Ringwood he helped set up some 40 new breweries in Britain over 10 years at a rate of one every three months. He then toured the world, repeating the exercise in countries as diverse as China, France, Nigeria, Russia and the United States. In total he built some 140 breweries in 17 countries.

Peter Austin was born in Edmonton, north London, and educated in Highgate and on the Merchant Navy training ship HMS Conway. His family was closely involved in the brewing industry. A great uncle ran a brewery in Christchurch while his father worked for Pontifex, a major supplier of brewing equipment. As a result of the Hampshire connection, his first love was boats not beer and he sailed in Poole Harbour during school holidays. He joined P&O from the Conway but contracted TB and had to be invalided home from Australia.

He was not fit enough to fight in World War Two and moved into brewing. He did his “pupillage” or apprenticeship at Friary, Holroyd & Healy in Guildford, worked briefly at Morrells in Oxford and joined the Hull Brewery in 1945, where he became head brewer. He left in 1975 following a takeover by Northern Dairies.

He moved to Hampshire, bought a boat and took visitors on fishing expeditions. But the brewing bug had bit deep. In 1977 he accepted an invitation from Monty Python’s Terry Jones and Guardian writer Richard Boston – both passionate believers in the concept of small is beautiful – to build a tiny brewery in a former cattle byre at Penrhos Court in Herefordshire. He was back in brewing and a year later opened Ringwood. With business partner David Welsh, he produced Ringwood Best Bitter, Fortyniner and XXXX Porter. The strong ale Old Thumper put Ringwood and micro-brewing on the map when it won the Champion Beer of Britain award from Camra in 1988. Peter was the first chairman of the Small Independent Brewers’ Association (Siba), now the Society of Independent Brewers, which became a powerful lobbying voice for the sector.

In 1986 Peter and David Welsh moved from the original site in Ringwood into bigger buildings in the town that had once housed Tunks Brewery. Ringwood was now a substantial business, producing 80 barrels a week for pubs throughout the south and south-west. Peter sold his share to David Welsh and became a consultant, adviser and builder to aspiring brewers in Britain and then worldwide.

His biggest impact was undoubtedly in the United States where 74 breweries were built using his brewing system. Alan Pugsley learnt the brewing skills with Peter at Ringwood (pictured above with Peter) and emigrated to the U.S. where he helped set up the D L Geary Brewing Company in Portland, Maine, in1986, one of the first new-wave American micros. Pugsley opened his own Shipyard brewery in Portland in 1992 and Peter gave him permission to brew Old Thumper under license. He supplied a sample of the Ringwood yeast culture for authenticity. A new brewery using Peter Austin’s system will open this month at the Four Mile Pub in Victoria, British Columbia — a fitting memorial.

Peter Austin married twice. His first wife, Joan, died in 1972 and he married Zena, who pre-deceased him. He had five children, Roland, Jane, Henry (who died in 1992) Jeremy and Sarah, and two step-children, Philip and Leah.

His impact on good beer is immeasurable. There are more than 2,000 craft breweries in the U.S., 1,200 in Britain, 150 in Australia, 70 in New Zealand and a growing number in Italy. Beer drinkers have never had greater choice – and much of that is due to Peter Austin. Alan Pugsley at Shipyard in Maine says: “He was an inspiration” and Terry Jones hails him as “the grandfather of micro-brewing”.

Pugsley-and-Austin
Austin with Alan Pugsley.

This tribute to his mentor is from Pugsley’s Brewing Projects International:

In 1978 Peter Austin opened Ringwood Brewery in Hampshire, England, presenting a new concept in beer making: a microbrewery. At that time in the UK brewing was dominated by six giant national brewers who were converting their pubs from cask conditioned beers ( real ale) to bland filtered keg beers and taking over and closing many of the remaining independent breweries.

It seemed unlikely that Peter Austin’s tiny plant in a former bakery would dent the power of the Big Six nationals. But Ringwood Brewery proved to be a catalyst. CAMRA – the Campaign for Real Ale – had been launched in 1971, its membership had soared and its beer festivals were packed.

Rebellion was in the air and Peter Austin was ready to meet the challenge. When he eventually retired from Ringwood he had helped set up some 40 new breweries in Britain over 10 years at a rate of one every three months. He then toured the world, repeating the exercise in countries as diverse as China, France, Belgium, Nigeria, South Africa, Russia, Canada and the United States. In total he and his consulting company built some 140 breweries in 17 countries.

Peter Austin was born in Edmonton, north London, and educated in Highgate and on the Merchant Navy training ship HMS Conway. His family was closely involved in the brewing industry. A great uncle ran a brewery in Christchurch while his father worked for Pontifex, a major supplier of brewing equipment. As a result of the Hampshire connection, his first love was boats not beer and he sailed in Poole Harbour during school holidays. He joined P&O from the Conway but contracted TB and had to be invalided home from Australia.
He was not fit enough to fight in World War Two and moved into brewing. He did his “pupillage” or apprenticeship at Friary, Holroyd & Healy in Guildford, worked briefly at Morrells in Oxford and joined the Hull Brewery in 1945, where he became head brewer. He left in 1975 following a takeover by Northern Dairies.

He moved to Hampshire, bought a boat and took visitors on fishing expeditions. But the brewing bug had bit deep. In 1977 he accepted an invitation from Monty Python’s Terry Jones and Guardian writer Richard Boston – both passionate believers in the concept of small is beautiful – to build a tiny brewery in a former cattle byre at Penrhos Court in Herefordshire. He was back in brewing and a year later opened Ringwood. With business partner David Welsh, he produced Ringwood Best Bitter, Fortyniner and XXXX Porter. The strong ale Old Thumper put Ringwood and microbrewing on the map when it won the Champion Beer of Britain award from CAMRA in 1988. Peter was the first chairman of the Small Independent Brewers’ Association (SIBA), now the Society of Independent Brewers, which became a powerful lobbying voice for the sector.

In 1986 Peter and David Welsh moved from the original site in Minty’s Yard, Ringwood into bigger buildings in the town that had once housed Tunks Brewery. Ringwood was now a substantial business, producing over 80 barrels a week for pubs throughout the south and south-west. In 1990 Peter sold his shares to David Welsh but continued consulting to aspiring brewers in Britain and worldwide.

His biggest impact was undoubtedly in the United States where over 75 breweries have been built using the Original Peter Austin Brick Kettle Brewing System. Alan Pugsley learnt the brewing skills with Peter at Ringwood and emigrated to the U.S. where he helped set up the D L Geary Brewing Company in Portland, Maine, in 1986, one of the first new-wave American micros. In 1994 Shipyard Brewing Company was opened in Portland, Maine where Ringwood Brewery gave Alan Pugsley permission to brew Peter Austin’s Old Thumper recipe under licence. Peters legacy is truly alive and well in North America particularly the North East corridor.

Peter Austin passed away January 1, 2014 at the age of 92. Peter was a master brewer, Alan Pugsley’s mentor and dear friend. He was a great man, a great brewer, and an inspiration to all whom he touched. His legacy will continue on through the many beers and brewers he inspired around the world. His impact on good beer is immeasurable. There are more than 2,500 craft breweries in the U.S., 1,200 in Britain, 150 in Australia, 70 in New Zealand and a growing number in Italy. Beer drinkers have never had greater choice – and much of that is due to Peter Austin.

peter-austin-008

And here’s one more tribute from the Salisbury Journal:

THE founder of Ringwood brewery Peter Austin – widely credited with saving the microbrewery movement in the UK as well as introducing it to America and popularising it worldwide – has died aged 92.

Mr Austin set up the famed brewery in 1978, aged 57. He came from a brewing family; his great-uncle was a brewer in Christchurch and his father worked for Pontifex, which was the leading brewing engineering firm in the country.

After school Mr Austin joined the sail training ship HMS Conway and subsequently went to sea with P&O. He was invalided out in 1938 and convalesced before going to Friary Meux Brewery in Guildford to study.

In 1944 he worked at Morrells in Oxford and in 1945 he went as third brewer to the Hull Brewery, where he stayed for 30 years, eventually becoming head brewer.

But in 1975, disillusioned with the direction of the company after it was taken over by Northern Dairies, he left 30 years of brewing, bought a boat and ran sea-angling trips on the south coast.

Mr Austin was approached by Monty Python star Terry Jones and The Guardian beer columnist Richard Boston, who were looking for help setting up a small brewery with Martin Griffiths, the owner of a medieval manor called Penrhos Court and he leaped at the chance to return to brewing.

The Penrhos Brewery was established and this inspired Mr Austin to launch Ringwood Brewery, starting with small premises in the old station yard.

Business partner David Welsh previously described Mr Austin as “a slave to the mash tun”, often checking his brews in the early hours.

He told The Grist magazine in 1995: “One very hot summer night he went down (to the brewery) in his dressing gown and had to take this off to skim the yeast. There was a knock at the door and it turned out to be the local bobby who was confronted by Peter in his underpants, wielding a yeast scoop. ‘You’re probably wondering what I’m doing officer’, he said. ‘I didn’t like to ask, sir’,” came the reply.”

In 1982 Mr Austin hired Alan Pugsley to train to brew and work with him on brewery start-ups.

They installed more than 120 breweries in 17 countries, including Siberia, China, Nigeria and South Africa. The equipment for the Siberian brewery was lost in the Russian railway system for two years before finally turning up in Dudinka.

Mr Austin also helped found the UK’s small brewers association SIBA in 1980.

Keith Bott of Titanic Brewery in Staffordshire, the current SIBA chairman, told Camra magazine: “Peter Austin was the godfather of the microbrewing revolution in the UK.”

In 1986 Mr Austin moved the brewery to its current location, and retired two years later, aged 67. On July 12, 2007, it was announced that Ringwood had been purchased by Marston’s Plc for £19.2million.

Mr Austin’s son Jeremy said: “The family are proud of dad, who was very modest about all that he had achieved.

“Peter was a determined and colourful character who made an impression on all. He was bright and amusing right up until the end and his family and friends will miss him deeply.”

Austin-plaque