Historic Beer Birthday: Benjamin Truman

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Today is the birthday of Benjamin Truman (1699 or 1700-March 20, 1780). He “was a notable English entrepreneur and brewer during the 18th century. He is notable for the expansion of the Truman Brewery in the Spitalfields area of east London.” His exact birth date is unknown, so I’ll use the day he passed away in 1780.

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Portrait by Thomas Gainsborough, painted between 1770-74.

This is biography from his Wikipedia page:

Truman followed in the footsteps of his father and grandfather, both named Joseph Truman. Joseph Truman the elder inherited the Lolsworth Field brewery, William Bucknall’s Brewhouse, in 1694, and took his son into partnership in 1716 before dying in 1719. Benjamin Truman joined the firm in 1722, and proved himself a shrewd businessman:

“On the birth of the Duchess of Brunswick, granddaughter of George II, in August 1737, the Prince of Wales ordered four loads of faggots and a number of tar barrels to be burnt before Carlton House to celebrate the event, and directed the brewer of his household to place four barrels of beer near the bonfire for the use of those who chose to partake of the beverage. The beer proved to be of inferior quality and the people threw it into each other’s faces and the barrels into the fire. The prince remedied the matter on the following night by ordering a fresh quantity of beer from another brewer. This was supplied by Truman, who took care that it should be of the best, thus earning for himself considerable popularity.”

Under Truman’s management, the Black Eagle brewery increased substantially in prosperity and size, and Truman divided his time between the brewery’s Directors’ House and a home, Popes, in Hertfordshire.

Truman was knighted by George III on his accession in 1760 in recognition of his loyalty in contributing to the voluntary loans raised to carry on the various foreign wars. His portrait was painted by George Romney and Sir Thomas Gainsborough (c. 1773-1774); the latter has been part of the Tate Gallery collection since 1978.

Truman died on 20 March 1780, and left a daughter, his only child, whose two grandsons (Sir Benjamin’s great-grandchildren), John Freeman Villebois and Henry Villebois, succeeded to his interest in the business.

Truman was buried in the Churchyard of St Mary’s, Hertingfordbury, Hertfordshire. Together with his memorial is that of his wife Dame Frances Truman who died 10 June 1766 aged 66 and James Truman Esq., died 11 November 1766 aged 42.

Truman’s wife, Frances, was a matrilineal descendant of Cecily Neville, Duchess of York, and the mitochondrial DNA descent through which the remains of Richard III of England were identified in 2013 passes through her and their daughter, also Frances:

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Another portrait of Truman, this one by George Romney.

This history of the brewery, which mentions Benjamin Truman, is from British History Online:

The Black Eagle Brewery at Spitalfields of Messrs. Truman, Hanbury, Buxton & Co., Ltd., is one of the oldest in London and covers an area of over 6 acres. The founder was one Thomas Bucknall, who in 1669 erected a brewhouse on ‘Lolsworth Field at Spittlehope,’ an estate then belonging to Sir William Wheler, bart. The business passed in 1694 into the hands of Joseph Truman the elder, the property consisting of six messuages and one brewhouse. The remainder of the Wheler estate was built upon and covered with streets, and part of this property has since been acquired by the firm for the extension of their premises. Joseph Truman was a successful business man, and in 1716 took into partnership Joseph Truman, jun., Alud Denne, and others. He died in 1719, and a curious document of that date is in the firm’s possession described as ‘An inventory of the goods, chattels, and credits of Joseph Truman, which since his death have come into the hands, possession and knowledge of Benjamin Truman, Daniel Cooper, and the executors named in the will of Joseph Truman.’ Benjamin Truman who was an executor of Joseph Truman, sen., joined the firm in 1722. An anecdote which exhibits his shrewdness as a business man is told by J. P. Malcolm. On the birth of the Duchess of Brunswick, granddaughter of George II, in August 1737, the Prince of Wales ordered four loads of faggots and a number of tar barrels to be burnt before Carlton House to celebrate the event, and directed the brewer of his household to place four barrels of beer near the bonfire for the use of those who chose to partake of the beverage. The beer proved to be of inferior quality and the people threw it into each other’s faces and the barrels into the fire. The prince remedied the matter on the following night by ordering a fresh quantity of beer from another brewer. This was supplied by Truman, who took care that it should be of the best, thus earning for himself considerable popularity.

¶Another early document possessed by the firm, dated 1739, is endorsed, ‘A “rest” taken and general account stated of all debts and credits, and also of the malt, hoppes, coales, beer in the several store cellers and brewhouse, with all the other goods, utensells as affixt, used and employ’d in the brewing trade carried on by Benjamin Truman, John Denne, Francis Cooper, and the surviving executors of Alud Denne, at their brewhouse and several warehouses, situated in Brick Lane, in the parish of Christchurch, in the county of Middlesex.’ At this time the brewery was very extensive, and had on its books 296 publicans, one of whom was the second partner in the firm, Alud Denne. The business greatly prospered under the management of Benjamin Truman, who was knighted by George III on his accession in recognition of his loyalty in contributing to the voluntary loans raised to carry on the various foreign wars. Sir Benjamin was a man of refined taste and a lover of the arts; his portrait by Gainsborough is preserved in the board-room, formerly the drawing-room, of the house in Brick Lane. Sir Benjamin Truman died 20 March 1780, and left a daughter, his only child, whose two grandsons (Sir Benjamin’s great-grandchildren), John Freeman Villebois and Henry Villebois, succeeded to his interest in the business.

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The brewery on Brick Lane in London.

The original brewery was probably established by the Bucknall family, who leased the site in the seventeenth century. The site’s first associations with brewing can be traced back to 1666 when a Joseph Truman is recorded as joining William Bucknall’s Brewhouse in Brick Lane. Part of the site was located on Black Eagle Street, hence the brewery’s name. Truman appears to have acquired the lease of the brewery in 1679, upon the death of William Bucknell. Through the Truman family’s efforts – not least those of Sir Benjamin Truman (who joined the firm in 1722) – the business expanded rapidly over the following 200 years. By 1748 the Black Eagle Brewery was the third largest brewery in London, and likely the world, with 40,000 barrels produced annually.

In the mid-18th century Huguenot immigrants introduced a new beverage flavoured with hops, which proved very popular. Initially, Truman’s imported hops from Belgium, but Kent farmers were soon encouraged to grow hops to help the brewery meet growing demand.

Sir Benjamin died in March 1780 and, without a son to take on the business, it passed to his grandsons. In 1789, the brewery was taken over by Sampson Hanbury (Hanbury had been a partner since 1780; the Truman family became ‘sleeping partners’). Hanbury’s nephew, Thomas Fowell Buxton, joined the company in 1808, improved the brewing process, converted the works to steam power and, with the rapid expansion and improvement of Britain’s road and rail transport networks, the Black Eagle label soon became famous across Britain (by 1835, when Buxton took over the business upon Hanbury’s death, the brewery was producing some 200,000 barrels (32,000 m3) of porter a year).

The Brick Lane brewery – now known as Truman, Hanbury, Buxton & Co – took on new partners in 1816, the Pryor brothers (the company’s owners were renowned for their good treatment of their workers – providing free schooling – and for their support of abolitionism). By 1853 the brewery was the largest in the world, producing 400,000 barrels of beer each year, with a site covering six acres.

However, the company also faced competition from breweries based outside London – notably in Burton upon Trent, where the water was particularly suitable for brewing – and in 1873 the company acquired a brewery (Phillips) in Burton and began to build a major new brewery, named the Black Eagle after the original London site.

In 1888, Truman, Hanbury, Buxton & Co became a public company with shareholders, but the balance of production was now shifting to Burton. The Brick Lane facility remained active through a take-over by the Grand Metropolitan Group in 1971 and a merger with Watney Mann in 1972, but it was in terminal decline. It eventually closed in 1989.

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Glenn Payne wrote the Truman, Hanbury, Buxton & Co. entry for the Oxford Companion to Beer:

Truman, Hanbury, Buxton & Co. was a venerable British brewery that operated for more than 3 centuries before it closed its doors in 1988. The original brewery was built on Lolsworth Field, Spitalhope, London, by Thomas Bucknall in 1669. He was soon joined by Joseph Truman, who became brewery manager in 1694. Joseph Truman brought Joseph Truman Jr into the company in 1716 and his executor, Sir Benjamin Truman, who took ownership of the business in 1722. Two years later a new brewery, The Black Eagle, was built on nearby Brick Lane, which grew to become Britain’s second largest brewery, employing some 1,000 people. Sir Benjamin died in 1780 without a direct male heir and left the brewery to his grandsons. In the same year, Sampson Hanbury became a partner and took over control in 1789. His nephew, Thomas Fowler Buxton, joined in 1808. He improved the brewing process by adopting innovations in brewing technology brought about by the Industrial Revolution. Outside his activities in the brewery, Buxton was a renowned philanthropist, and he was elected a member of Parliament in 1818. He was associated with William Wilberforce, a leader in the fight to end the British slave trade. By the time of his death in 1845, the brewery produced about 305,000 hl of porter annually. The brewery is even mentioned in Charles Dickens’ David Copperfield (1850). Seizing upon the growing influence of Burton as a brewing center in the 19th century, the company acquired the Phillips brewery there in 1887 and 2 years later became a public company. But its fortunes declined with the shift in popular taste away from porter toward pale ale near the end of the 19th century. In 1971, the brewery was acquired by the Grand Metropolitan Group, which, in turn, was merged into Watney Mann 1 year later. Thomas, Hanbury, and Buxton ceased production in 1988 but its brewery still stands on its site in Brick Lane, London, where it has been redeveloped into a complex of residential housing, offices, restaurants, galleries, and shops.

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They also later built a Black Eagle Brewery in Burton. As you’d expect, Martyn Cornell has an amazingly thorough account of Trumans, which he refers to as When Brick Lane was home to the biggest brewery in the world.

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Historic Beer Birthday: Frederick J. Poth

poths reading-brewery
Today is the birthday of Frederick J. Poth (March 20, 1869-October 14, 1942). Though he spent most of his brewing career with his family’s brewery that his father founded in 1870, F. A. Poth & Sons’ Brewery, he interned at the Reading Brewing Co., near where I grew up.

frederick-poth-portrait

Here’s a short biography from Find a Grave:

Brewer. He attended the Philadelphia public schools until fourteen years, after which he entered the Nazareth Hall Academy for two years. Lastly, he attended the Pierce Business College for two years. After his formal education, he worked for a year at the Reading Brewing Company in Reading, Pennsylvania. He next went to New York working in Ebling’s Brewing Company for a year. Returning to Philadelphia he began working for his father as foreman of the plant.

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

Here’s his obituary from the Chester Times, on October 19, 1942:

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The Poth & Sons Brewery around 1900.

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From a Poth family biography pamphlet:

He was born here March 20, i869, and is a son of Frederick A. and Helena M. Poth, whose sketch precedes this. Spending his youthful days in his parents’ home, Frederick J. Poth attended the public schools to the age of fourteen years, after which he entered the Nazareth Hall Academy, where he also spent two years. In further preparation for life’s practical and responsible duties he entered Pierce’s Business College, in which he remained as a student for two years, after which he went to Reading, Pennsylvania, where for one year he occupied a position with the Reading Brewing Company. He next went to New York and engaged with the Eblings Brewing Company for a year. Returning on the expiration of that period to Philadelphia he joined his father in the brewing business as foreman of the plant and also had charge of the office. After his father’s death he was elected president and has been very successful in the control and management of the business, which is now of large and profitable proportions, employment being furnished to one hundred and thirty-five men, while the capacity of the plant is five hundred thousand barrels per year. Mr. Poth was married in Philadelphia to Miss Mary C. Clarke, and they have two children. Frederick Clarke, two years of age; and Gilbert Leslie, who is in his first year. In his political views Mr. Poth is an earnest republican. He belongs to various German societies, in which he is popular, and he also holds membership with the Red Men and with the Masons. In the latter organization he has attained high rank, belonging to William G. Hamilton Lodge, A. F. & A. M.; Freeman Chapter, R. A. M.; Pennsylvania Commandery, K. T., and Lu Lu Temple of the Mystic Shrine. While he entered upon a business already established he has displayed an initiative spirit in further extending its interests and his life record proves that success is not a matter of genius, as held by some, but is rather the outcome of clear judgment, experience and indefatigable energy.

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Beer In Ads #2220: Prescription For A Long And Happy Life


Sunday’s ad is a trade ad, by the United States Brewing Industry Foundation, from 1941. After prohibition ended, the industry started doing PSA-type ads in an attempt to create goodwill for beer and brewers. They would later go on to do a fairly sophisticated series of ads between 1946 and 1956, known unofficially as Beer Belongs. Officially, they were “The Home Life in America” series, consisting of 120 ads, with a new ad running in major periodicals each month. Last year, for my Beer in Ads series, I featured every one of them. But in the years before that, the U.S. Brewing Industry Foundation (a precursor to the original Brewer’s Association) dabbled with a variety of similar ads promoting the industry as a whole. These were especially popular during World War 2, and in fact they even won an award from the government for some of these ads. Most of the ads were black and white, although a few were in color, though usually in a minimal way, with a few colors accented rather than being in full color.

In this ad, a man appears to be camping alone. Which appears to be part of the “Prescription for a long and happy life,” which includes “… a brook … a browning trout … and beer.” Check. Check. Check.

UBIF-1941-prescription

Historic Beer Birthday: Edward Fitzgerald

castlemaine
Today is the birthday of Edward Fitzgerald (March 19, 1820-March 19, 1896). He “was an Australian brewer and founder of the Castlemaine Brewery.” According to his short Wikipedia page. “Edward was born in 1820 in Galway to parents Francis Fitzgerald and Eleanor Joyes. His family owned and operated a distillery establishment at Nun’s Island, Galway. In 1854 Edward Fitzgerald migrated to Australia during the Victorian gold rush and established a brewery in the gold field town of Castlemaine.

Side_view_of_Castlemaine_Brewery_in_Milton,_Brisbane_1901

In 1859 his brother Nicholas Fitzgerald emigrated to Australia and joined him in the brewery business. By 1871 the name Castlemaine Brewery had been adopted, in 1875 the brothers opened a brewery in South Melbourne, and in 1885 the enterprise was turned into a public company. Breweries were opened right across the country and the brothers were involved in the establishment of the Castlemaine Perkins brewery in Brisbane which is home of the XXXX brand and is still brewing to this day.”

Unfortunately, while there are photos of his brother, I couldn’t find any of Edward, or any specific biographical information about him that wasn’t related to the brewery.

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And this short history is from the Castlemaine Perkins Wikipedia page:

In 1877, brothers Nicholas Fitzgerald and Edward Fitzgerald bought the site of a failing distillery and created a brewery, which they named after an existing brewery that they owned in Castlemaine, Victoria in the Victorian goldfields. They began to brew beer there in the following year and the brewery continues production to this day. The first beverage was called XXX Sparkling Ale.

In 1866, Patrick Perkins started the Perkins Brewery in Toowoomba. In 1872, he later extended his operations to Brisbane with the purchase of the City Brewery in 1872.

The company restricted its operations entirely to brewing by 1916. XXXX was introduced with new advertising campaign in 1924 after the brewery employed German brewer, Alhois William Leitner. The advertising included a depiction of a little man wearing a suit with a smile, a wink and a boater hat. The so-called ‘Fourex Man’ soon became one of the most recognised symbols in Queensland.

In 1928 (long after the death of Patrick Perkins in 1901), the Perkins brewing company was bought by the Castlemaine Brewery with new company being known as Castlemaine Perkins Limited.

Castlemaine Perkins was acquired in 1992 by drinks conglomerate Lion Nathan.

fourex

The Castlemaine or Milton Brewery was established at Milton, Brisbane, in 1878 by Fitzgerald Quinlan & Co. The brothers Nicholas and Edward Fitzgerald had established brewing interests at Castlemaine in Victoria, and then in Adelaide, Perth, Sydney and Newcastle. In Brisbane, Quinlan Gray & Co. had taken over the interests of the Milton Distillery that was established on the site at Milton in 1870. The first brew by the new Milton Brewery was called Castlemaine XXX Sparkling Ale and was made to the same formula as the beer brewed by Castlemaine Brewery in Victoria. (Information taken from: Public Affairs Department, Castlemaine Perkins Limited, comp., History of the Castlemaine Perkins Brewery, 1877 – 1993, 1993).
This drawing of the brewery depicts some laden wagons in the street in front of the three-storey building. A worker stands alongside. The signage reads: Castlemaine Brewery, Fitzgerald, Quinlan & Co.

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The Castlemaine Brewery at Milton, Brisbane, 1879, from the State Library of Queensland.

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Historic Beer Birthday: Joseph Schaller

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Today is the birthday of Joseph Schaller (March 19, 1812-June 25, 1888), Schaller was born in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, but appears to have emigrated to Cincinnti, Ohio in 1837. He was a co-owner on the Eagle Brewery in Cincinnati, Ohio, which was known by various names names, such as the Schaller & Schiff Brewery and later the Schaller-Gerke Brewery. In addition, before he retired from brewing, he helped his three sons start the Schaller Brothers Main Street Brewery.

Joseph-Schaller

Accounts seem to vary about his involvement, and especially with the names of the brewery as they changed, but here’s the timeline from the Queen City Chapter’s page, entitled Cincinnati Brewing History-Preprohibition 1811-1919:

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

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

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

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

Schaller-and-Gerke

For example, Lagering Cellar 1861 has some Gerke Brewery History that includes Schaller.

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

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

Gerke continued brewing until 1912.

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

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

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Founded in 1854 as the Eagle Brewery closer to the Ohio River, Joseph Schaller and John Gerke built a new brewery at the bend of the Miami and Erie Canal in 1866. Beer was brewed there until 1910. The brewery equipment was sold at auction October 15, 1913.

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But the Schaller Brothers Main Street Brewery continued long after Joseph passed away, and they kept the Main Street Brewery name until 1896, after which time it was called the Schaller Brewing Co. After closing for prohibition, it reopened in 1933 and remained in business until 1941.

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Beer In Ads #2219: I Buy My Beer From A Foundation Member … Do You?


Saturday’s ad is a trade ad, by the United States Brewing Industry Foundation, from 1939. After prohibition ended, the industry started doing PSA-type ads in an attempt to create goodwill for beer and brewers. They would later go on to do a fairly sophisticated series of ads between 1946 and 1956, known unofficially as Beer Belongs. Officially, they were “The Home Life in America” series, consisting of 120 ads, with a new ad running in major periodicals each month. Last year, for my Beer in Ads series, I featured every one of them. But in the years before that, the U.S. Brewing Industry Foundation (a precursor to the original Brewer’s Association) dabbled with a variety of similar ads promoting the industry as a whole. These were especially popular during World War 2, and in fact they even won an award from the government for some of these ads. Most of the ads were black and white, although a few were in color, though usually in a minimal way, with a few colors accented rather than being in full color.

In this ad, A waiter is holding a tray with two glasses of beer in it. The headline reads. “I buy my beer from a Foundation member … Do you?” On the wall behind him hangs a sign: “The Place Observes the Law.” I’m not sure it was law, since in theory you could be a licensed brewer but not belong to the U.S. Brewers Foundation, which was, after all, a trade organization. But at least it was for a good reason. “It is a battle to clean up conditions undesirable to us all, which sometimes surround the retail sale of beer to the consumer.”

USBF-1939-American

Historic Beer Birthday: James Toohey

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Today is the birthday of James Toohey (March 18, 1850-September 25, 1895). He and his brother John bought the Darling Brewery in Melbourne, Australia, and eventually it became known as Tooheys Brewery.

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This brief biography is from his Wikipedia page:

He was born in Melbourne to businessman Matthew Toohey and Honora Hall. He was a brewer, opening a business with his brother John in 1870 that eventually became Tooheys Brewery. On 5 June 1873 he married Catherine Magdalene Ferris, with whom he had twelve children. In 1885 he was elected to the New South Wales Legislative Assembly for South Sydney. He held the seat until he resigned in 1893. Toohey died at Pisa in Italy in 1895.

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And here’s part of their early history from the brewery’s Wikipedia page:

Tooheys dates from 1869, when John Thomas Toohey (an Irish immigrant to Melbourne) obtained his brewing licence. Toohey and his brother James Matthew ran pubs in Melbourne (The Limerick Arms and The Great Britain) before moving to Sydney in the 1860s. They commenced brewing Tooheys Black Old Ale in a brewery in the area of present-day Darling Harbour. By 1875, demand for their beer had soared and they established The Standard Brewery in inner-city Surry Hills. In 1902, the company went public as Tooheys Limited, and commenced brewing lager (the present-day Tooheys New) in 1930. In 1955, the brewery moved west to Lidcombe. In 1967, Tooheys bought competitor Miller’s Brewers located in Taverner’s Hill, closing that brewery in 1975.

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This is a shared entry, with his brother John, of James Toohey from the Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 6, 1976:

John Thomas Toohey (1839-1903) and James Matthew Toohey (1850-1895), brewers, were the sons of Matthew Toohey (d.1892), businessman, and his wife Honora (d.1878), née Hall. John Thomas was born on 26 April 1839 at Limerick, Ireland, and was taken to Melbourne by his parents in 1841. His father bought town lots and settled many Irish families in Victoria. One of the founders of the St Patrick’s Society in Melbourne, he was a political ally of (Sir) John O’Shanassy and (Sir) Charles Gavan Duffy. In the 1860s he was forced to sell at a loss; in 1866 he went to New South Wales and lived in virtual retirement. James Matthew was born on 18 March 1850 in Melbourne: he is said to have been named after Fr Matthew, the Irish apostle of temperance.

After unsuccessful business ventures in Victoria, New Zealand and Queensland, John settled near Lismore: later James had a property near Coonamble. About 1869 with W. G. Henfrey John set up an auctioneering agency and cordial manufacturing business in Castlereagh Street, Sydney; the next year the brothers began brewing at the Metropolitan Brewery and in 1873 they bought the Darling Brewery in Harbour Street. In 1876 they moved to new premises on the site of the old Albion Brewery in Elizabeth Street and began the Standard Brewery, employing twenty-six hands. Before 1880 imported beer was preferred to the local product, but in the 1880s Toohey’s and Tooth’s beers quickly became popular.

Vice-president of the Licensed Victuallers’ Association, in 1886 James was appointed to the royal commission on the excessive use of intoxicating drink, but withdrew when he felt the balance between local and anti-local optionists was upset. In evidence to the commission he said that ‘the system of shouting’ was the cause of all the excessive drinking in the colony and that beer was less injurious to health than ‘the ardent spirits’. He approved of the tied-house system and maintained that the 830 public houses in the Sydney metropolitan licensing district were not an excessive number, though there were a few too many in certain areas of the city.

Campaigning in 1885 for the Legislative Assembly seat of South Sydney, James claimed that the government’s action in sending troops to the Sudan ‘had resulted in a huge advertisement for the colony’. Favouring an elected Upper House, payment of members and the eight-hour system, he said he opposed local option and the abstinence party, as no Act of parliament could make a man sober. He represented the seat in 1885-93. A firm protectionist by 1887, he saw most free traders as ‘the curled darlings of the [Potts] Point and the merchants of Sydney’. He was a good speaker, if a little impetuous at times. According to the Sydney Morning Herald’s political correspondent in 1887, he ‘rolls the letter “r” beautifully, he drops his voice down to sweet whisper, lifts it up to a palpitating splendour, and then rolls it over the solemn path of prophetic parlance’. Dissatisfied with Sir George Dibbs’s administration, he opposed him for Tamworth in July 1894, but polled poorly. Next year he visited Ireland, England and Europe. James died at Pisa, Italy, on 25 September 1895 and was buried in the Catholic section of Rookwood cemetery, Sydney. He was survived by his wife Catherine (Kate) Magdalene (d.1913), née Ferris, whom he had married at Parramatta on 5 June 1873; they had four sons and eight daughters. Probate of his estate was sworn at £133,623.

On James’s death, John and James’s eldest son, also named John Thomas, took over the brewery. John was a leading Catholic layman, benefactor to numerous Catholic charitable institutions and a financial supporter of the Irish nationalist movement. On Christmas Day 1888 Cardinal Patrick Moran invested him as a knight of the Order of St Gregory. A leader in the Home Rule movement, he was prominent in the erection of the monument over the grave of Michael Dwyer in Waverley cemetery in 1898. Well known in business circles, he was a director of several companies including the City Mutual Fire Insurance Co. Ltd. He lived first at Moira, Burwood, and later at Innisfail, Wahroonga, and assisted in the development of both suburbs. He stood for Monaro in the Legislative Assembly in 1880 but was defeated by Henry Septimus Badgery and (Sir) Robert Lucas Tooth. In April 1892 he was nominated to the Legislative Council, but he very rarely spoke. In September 1901 he gave evidence to an assembly select committee on tied houses. Next year the brewery became a public company, Toohey’s Ltd, with John as chairman; the vendors received 375,000 fully paid shares and £175,000 cash. The well-known advertising slogan and symbol ‘Here’s to ‘ee’ originated in 1894.

For health reasons John went on a world tour with his family in 1902. He died suddenly in Chicago on 5 May 1903 and was buried in the Catholic section of Rookwood cemetery, Sydney. On 26 August 1871 at St Mary’s Cathedral he had married Sarah Doheny who died in 1891 survived by two sons and three daughters. Toohey was survived by his second wife, a widow Annie Mary Murphy, née Egan, whom he had married in Auckland, New Zealand. His estate was sworn for probate at £275,215.

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And this is a commercial that Tooheys produced that tells some of the history of the brewery.

Historic Beer Birthday: John Smith

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Today is the birthday of John Smith (March 18, 1824-September 9, 1879). He was born in Leeds, and founded John Smith’s Brewery in Tadcaster, North Yorkshire, England in 1852, when “purchased the Backhouse & Hartley brewery” with a “loan” from his wealthy father.

John-smith

Here’s a short history of how the brewery got started and became John Smith’s.

Stephen Hartley began brewing in Tadcaster in 1758. In 1845 Jane Hartley mortgaged the brewery to David Backhouse and John Hartley. In 1847, Samuel Smith of Leeds arranged for his son John to enter the business. Jane Hartley died in 1852, and John Smith acquired the business, enlisting his brother William to help him. The timing was to prove fortuitous; pale ales were displacing porter as the beer of choice, and Tadcaster’s hard water proved to be well-suited for brewing the new style. The prosperity of the 1850s and 1860s, together with the arrival of the railways, realised greater opportunities for brewers, and by 1861 John Smith employed eight men in his brewing and malting enterprise.

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And the Town of Tadcaster, where the brewery is located, includes this:

John Smith’s Ltd. brings together some of the greatest names in British brewing. John Smith’s, Wm. Younger, Matthew Brown….. we draw on a rich heritage and brewing expertise that stretches back over 250 years. As part of Scottish Courage, the UK’s foremost brewing company, we also represent some of the world’s most famous beer brands. ‘Only the best is good enough.’ Our company bears the name of a remarkable man. Born the son of a tanner, John Smith built a brewing business based on his entrepreneurial skills and personal commitment to quality. His Tadcaster brewery, acquired in 1847, responded to the new market opportunities generated by rapid population growth in northern towns during the Industrial Revolution.The excellence of his ales paved the way for what has become Britain’s most popular ale brand. The success story continues: a recent major expansion program at Tadcaster has doubled capacity to keep in pace with growing demand. An alliance of proud traditions.John Smith’s Ltd. represents a coming together of many proud brewing traditions like an ex-girlfriend blog. Matthew Brown began his brewing career in Lancashire in 1830. Wm. Younger’s traces it’s roots right back to 1749 and William McEwan founded his brewery in 1856. The Younger’s and McEwan’s companies joined forces in 1931 to form Scottish Brewers, arguably Scotland’s most famous beer company. These traditions are now combined with the prestigious brands owned by Scottish Courage. Times have changed, but the guiding principles of service and quality adopted by John Smith over 150 years ago are still at the core of our business today.

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Historic Beer Birthday: William Ebling

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Today is the birthday of William Ebling (March 18, 1828-January 25, 1922). Along with his brother Phillip, he founded and owned the Ebling Brewing Co., which was known by several different names during its life from 1868 to 1950, including the Philip Ebling & Bro. Wm., Aurora Park Brewery, Ph. & Wm. Ebling Brewing Co. and Ebling Brewing Co., which was its name almost the entirety of the 20th century, both before and after prohibition.

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There’s not much I could find specifically about William Ebling, and no photos or portraits. From what I can piece together, he was born in Hessen, Germany and emigrated to the U.S. in 1855, arriving December 19 of that year. Initially he worked as a vinegar merchant and married his wife, Phoebe, around 1863, but by 1868 was brewing lager beer with his brother.

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Two Ebling brewery workers posing with a keg branding device, from an unknown date.

The brewery apparently aged some of their beer in Bronx caves, and for some of their beers, like Special Brew, whose label boasts that the beer was “aged in natural rock caves.” Which sounds crazy, but in 2009, road construction crews in the Melrose section of the Bronx found the old caves, which was detailed by Edible Geography in Bronx Beer Caves.

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An Ebling beer truck on 61st Street in New York in 1938.

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A 1908 calendar from the brewery.

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Beer In Ads #2218: Defeat And Victory


Friday’s ad is a trade ad, by the United States Brewing Industry Foundation, from 1941. After prohibition ended, the industry started doing PSA-type ads in an attempt to create goodwill for beer and brewers. They would later go on to do a fairly sophisticated series of ads between 1946 and 1956, known unofficially as Beer Belongs. Officially, they were “The Home Life in America” series, consisting of 120 ads, with a new ad running in major periodicals each month. Last year, for my Beer in Ads series, I featured every one of them. But in the years before that, the U.S. Brewing Industry Foundation (a precursor to the original Brewer’s Association) dabbled with a variety of similar ads promoting the industry as a whole. These were especially popular during World War 2, and in fact they even won an award from the government for some of these ads. Most of the ads were black and white, although a few were in color, though usually in a minimal way, with a few colors accented rather than being in full color.

In this ad, two elderly gentleman are wearing suits, complete with vests and pocket watches, holding glasses of beer. They’re watching a football game on television, and it appears one of their fortunes has just changed. One of them is sunk low in his char, while the other smiling with his fist raised in cheer. “Defeat and victory … both grow sweeter with a glass of kindly beer or ale.” Ah, a “kindly” glass of beer. What exactly makes a beer kindly?

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