Beer Birthday: Jonathan Surratt

Today is the 42nd birthday of Jonathan Surratt. Jonathan launched the Beer Mapping Project and also runs the website for DRAFT magazine. He also created National Growler Day, though its exact date from year to year is still fluid, and he’s a twitter diva, too. Join me in wishing Jonathan a very happy birthday.

Horse Brass publican Don Younger bookended by Jonathan’s wife Robin and Jonathan, displaying his excellent taste in attire.

Jonathan & Robin Surratt Sandwiched by Sean Paxton
Jonathan with Sean Paxton and Jonathan’s wife Robin at GABF a few years ago.

Jonathan, Ray McCoy, Robin, and Ray’s wife, Cornelia Corey.

A self-portrait with Matt, from Oakshire Brewing, Jonathan, and me at the Goose Island cask event during CBC in 2010.

Michael Roper, owner of the Hopleaf, Jonathan, and Wendy Littlefield, from Vanberg & DeWulff, when we had dinner there a few years ago.

Historic Beer Birthday: Frank Shlaudeman

Today is the birthday of Frank Shlaudeman (June 17, 1862-after 1934). His father founded what would become the Decatur Brewing Co., in Decatur, Illinois, which is where he was born and raised.


Frank’s father Henry Shlaudeman joined the Edward Harpstrite Brewery (which was originally the John Koehler & Adam Keck Brewery when it opened in 1855). Within a few years, he’d made enough of an impact that it became the Harpstrite & Shlaudeman Brewery, and two years after that, in 1884, he bought out his partner and it became the Henry Shlaudeman Brewery. In 1888, it was again renamed, this time the Decatur Brewing Co. It reopened after prohibition in 1934 under the name Macon County Beverage Co., but closed for good the same year.

Surprising, I was unable to turn up even one photograph of him, and very little at all about him. He took over the brewery after his father retired in 1903. I found a record of him taking a trip in 1934 to California, but no other biographical information.

Historic Beer Birthday: William Ogden

Today is the birthday of William B. Ogden (June 15, 1805-August 3, 1877). Ogden’s biggest claim to fame is being the first mayor of the city of Chicago, elected in 1837. But he was also a businessman, and one of the businesses he was involved in was one of Chicago’s first breweries, Lill & Diversey.

A portrait of William B. Ogden, painted by G.P.A. Healy in 1855.

Some sources say it was the very first brewery in Chicago, but either way, it was certainly one of the earliest. It was founded by William Lill, who was later joined by partner Michael Diversey


Here’s the brewery’s story from One Hundred Years of Brewing, published in 1901:

The immense brewing interests of Chicago had their origin in the persons of William Lill and William Haas. In September, 1839, William B. Ogden, who, two years previously, had been elected mayor of the city, established Mr. Lill in business at the corner of Pine street and Chicago avenue, Mr. Haas being the latter’s assistant. The “plant” was installed in a small tenement building and the first year’s brew was about 450 barrels.

After a few years Michael Diversey formed a partnership with Mr. Lill, when Mr. Ogden withdrew his silent interest in the business. Under the management of Lill & Diversey the so-called Chicago Brewery developed into one of the most extensive establishments of the kind in the west, occupying a portion of the original site, but then covering an entire block. For many years “Lill‘s Cream Ale” was one of the most famous brands in the country. Besides being known as good business men, Lill and Diversey were noted for their benevolence and generosity, the latter being a large benefactor to the German Catholic churches of Chicago.

In 1841, Michael Diversey and William Lill bought the first commercial brewery in Chicago (Haas & Sulzer Brewery) and changed the name to the Lill & Diversey Brewery, also known as the Chicago Brewery. The two men saw huge success and by 1861 were producing 45,000 barrels of beer a year and employing over 75 men. Famous for “Lill’s Cream Ale,” by 1866 the brewery had sprawled to over two acres and four stories high. The Water Tower Pumping Station, which still stands today, was put in directly across the street.

Serving two terms as a Chicago Alderman (1844-45; 1856-1868), Michael Diversey also donated a small plot of land where a Catholic church for fellow German immigrants was built. St. Michael’s was the tallest building in Chicago until 1885 when The Old Chicago Board of Trade building was completed. Known as a great city leader and keeping company with the likes of Joseph Sheffield and William Ogden, Michael Diversey was integral in bringing great growth to Chicago.

However, Diversey died in 1869, and Lill continued to run the brewery. Till the Great Fire of 1871 wiped it out and Lill lost everything. The brewery never re-opened and Lill passed away in 1875.


Most of Ogden’s biographies don’t even mention his affiliation with the brewery at all. See, for example his Wikipedia page, the WBEZ Chicago blog and the Encyclopedia of Chicago. His business with the brewery was apparently a pretty minor investment for him, and he was much more heavily involved in many other projects and businesses. Most accounts state that Ogden was a silent partner in the brewer. But in Gregg Smith’s “Beer In America: The Early Years—1587-1840,” he claims “that the mayor was very much involved in the business, and not just a silent partner: he wanted to ensure that the brewery’s hops came from New York’s Finger Lakes region.” Which makes some sense; Ogden was born in upstate New York.

A photo of Ogden later in life.

Beer Birthday: Ray Daniels

Today is the 58th birthday of Ray Daniels. Ray is the former director of Craft Beer Marketing for the Brewers Association and today runs the Cicerone program, which he founded, to certify beer professionals, similar to sommeliers in the wine industry. He also founded the Real Ale Festival that used to take place annually in Chicago. And he’s one of my favorite people in the beer industry. Join me in wishing Ray a very happy birthday.

Julie Johson, from All About Beer, with Ray at Lagunitas during the Journalism Retreat when CBC was in San Francisco a few years ago.

On the floor at GABF with Bob Pease, from the Brewers Association, Mark Dorber, publican extraordinaire, and John Mallet, from Bell’s Brewery.

It’s hard not to love his Cicerone press photo.

Ray with his former assistant Sarah Huska at the Cicerone booth at CBC in Chicago five years ago.

Historic Beer Birthday: Joseph Theurer

Today is the birthday of Joseph Theurer (May 24, 1852-May 14, 1912). Born in Philadelphia of German descent, who became a well-known brewer in both his native Pennsylvania and Illinois. After he married Emma Schoehofen, he became VP of his father-in-law’s Chicago brewery, the Peter Schoenhofen Brewing Company in 1880. After Peter passed away in 1893, Theurer became president and remained at the helm until his own death in 1912.


Here’s a biography from Find a Grave:

Joseph Theurer, who was of German descent, was born in Philadelphia in 1852. He became one of the most knowledgeable brewers of his day. He served as Treasurer of the Illinois State Brewers Association from 1898 to 1911 and he held title of President of the United States Brewing Association from 1903 to 1905.

Joseph arrived in Chicago in the Fall of 1869 and worked as an apprentice to brewers Adam Baierle and K.G. Schmidt. In 1871, he had been working at the Huck Brewery for less than a week when the brewery was destroyed in The Great Chicago Fire.

So he returned to Philadelphia for a year to work at the brewery of Bergdoll & Psotta. And then headed back to Chicago in 1872 to work at Bartholomae & Leicht brewery until 1874. He was also employed for one season at the Clybourn Avenue Malthouse of F. Wacker & Co. before returning to Philadelphia until his marriage to Peter Schoenhofen’s daughter, Emma Schoehofen, in 1880.

Upon his marriage to Emma, he became Vice President of Schoenhofen Brewing Company in Chicago until his father in law Peter’s death in 1893. Joseph took over as President of Schoenhofen Brewing from 1893 until 1911.

In 1896, Joseph commissioned what is now known as the Theurer-Wrigley Mansion. The Mansion, built in the late Italian Renaissance style, was designed by Richard Schmidt and listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. The 20,000+ square foot mansion features 11 bedrooms and 6 baths. Furnished with nearly all Tiffany light fixtures, many have been removed by previous owners or sold. An original Tiffany stained glass window from the Mansion is currently on display at the Chicago History Museum. Recent reports show the Mansion being listed for 9.5 million dollars as a foreclosure in 2011, but it has since been purchased and is currently occupied by a single owner.

On May 14, 1912 Joseph died from pneumonia and was laid to rest along with Peter Schoenhofen in the magnificent Egyptian revival style tomb in Graceland Cemetery. Services were conducted on May 17th in front of the tomb and conducted in both English and German. Attendees included members of the Illinois and Cook County Brewers Associations as well as a large number of charitable organizations, family and close friends.

Joseph was survived by his widow Emma, two sons, Peter S. and Joseph Jr., and two daughters Miss Margareta Theurer and Mrs. Marie (Richard) Ostenrieder.


The Encyclopedia of Chicago has a concise history of the Peter Schoenhofen Brewing Co.:

Peter Schoenhofen, a Prussian immigrant, was in Chicago working in the brewing trade by the 1850s. In 1861, he started a partnership with Matheus Gottfried; they were soon operating a brewery at Canalport Avenue and 18th Street where, during the early 1860s, they made about 600 barrels of lager beer a year. In 1867, Schoenhofen bought out his partner, and the company became the Peter Schoenhofen Brewing Co. By 1868, annual output had increased to about 10,000 barrels. During the 1890s, when the business was owned by the City Contract Co. of London, England, annual output reached 180,000 barrels. Around 1900, the Schoenhofen family regained control of the company, which employed about 500 people at its brewery on West 12th Street by 1910. During this time, the company was also known as the National Brewing Co. The company’s “Edelweiss” brand of beer was a big seller. Operations shut down during Prohibition, but by 1933, after the national ban on alcohol production was lifted, the company was back in business as the Schoenhofen-Edelweiss Co. After being purchased by the Atlas Brewing Co. in the late 1940s, Schoenhofen became part of Dewery’s Ltd. of South Bend, Indiana, in 1951, and thereafter assumed the Dewery’s name. By the beginning of the 1970s, there was nothing left of its Chicago operations, although Dewery’s reintroduced the famous Edelweiss brand in 1972 after nearly a decade-long hiatus.


Today, the land where the brewery was located is known as the Schoenhofen Brewery Historic District and to see earlier photos of that area, Forgotten Chicago has a short history, with lots of pictures.


Beer Birthday: Marty Nachel

Today is the 58th birthday of beer writer Marty Nachel, author of Beer For Dummies and Homebrewing For Dummies. I’ve gotten to know Marty better over the last few years, judging the finals of the Longshot Homebrew competition and the World Beer Awards, and he’s a great person to share a pint with. Join me in wishing Marty a very happy birthday.

Marty, me and a few others judging the finals of the Longshot Homebrew Competition at Samuel Adams HQ in Boson in 2013.

Marty and Drew Nachel enjoying a beer in Northern Italy.

Marty with his older sister Diane in, maybe, the late 1970s. [Note: Last two photos purloined from Facebook.]

Historic Beer Birthday: Caspar Eulberg

Today is the birthday of Caspar Eulberg (April 6, 1826-May 19, 1902). There’s very little information I could find about him. He was born in Kreis Westerburg, Hessen-Nassau, which was then Prussia. He married Franciska Rost, also from Prussia, and together they had ten children, six of whom were boys. At least some of them must have worked at his brewery in Galena, Illinois, because for most of its life it was called Casper Eulberg & Sons Brewery.


Originally called Math. Meller Brewery when in opened in 1874, it appears Eulberg acquired it in 1885, changing the name to his own, at least until closed by prohibition in 1920. It tried to open after repeal, under the name Galena Brewing Co., but closed for good in 1936.


Historic Beer Birthday: Michael Brand

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.


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



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




Historic Beer Birthday: Kasper George Schmidt

Today is the birthday of Kasper George Schmidt (February 20, 1833-December 10, 1898). He opened the William Siebert & Kaspar Schmidt Brewery in Chicago in 1860, but by 1866 it was known as the K.G. Schmidt Brewery.


Here’s a biography from the Encyclopaedia of Biography of Illinois.




And this is another one from A History of the City of Chicago.




Although it’s unclear, it appears that the Chicago brewery bought the Columbia Brewery in Logansport, Indiana in 1893, renaming it K.G. Schmidt. Though by that time, Kaspar may have already been retired, and his son George K. Schmidt was running the company.



Beer Birthday: Grant Johnston

Today is the 62th birthday of Grant Johnston. Grant was the original brewer at Marin Brewing when it opened in 1989, and spent a number of years at Black Diamond Brewing in Concord, California. Grant was very influential in the early days of Bay Area brewing, and he’s an incredibly talented brewer. A few years ago he moved to the midwest, and these days can be found working a few days a week at the Argus Brewery in Chicago. A couple of years back, I was in Belgium at the Cantillon Brewery when in walked Grant, quite by chance, so you never know when you’re going to run into him. Join me in wishing Grant a very happy birthday.

Grant and me at GABF in 2006.

Grant (on the right) judging the 2006 Double IPA Festival in the cellar of The Bistro, with Tom Dalldorf, Vicky, our hard-working beer steward in the middle, and the Toronado’s Dave Keene in profile on the left.

First Beer In FV @ Marin Brewing 3:20:89
Brendan Moylan and Grant shortly before Marin Brewing opened in 1989.

Wild Rice Ale @ Marin's 25th
Grant and Arne Johnston brewing his Wild Rice Ale for Marin’s 25th Anniversary.

GABF Judges  1992
Grant, bottom left, among the GABF judges for the 10th anniversary of the festival in 1992.