Historic Beer Birthday: Joseph Bosch

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Today is the birthday of Joseph Bosch (February 11, 1850-January 9, 1937). He was born in Achim, Lower Saxony, Germany, the son of a brewer, but came to America in 1854. They started in New York, but moved to Lake Linden, Michigan in 1862, and a few years later began training as a brewer. In 1874, he came back to Michigan, and started his own brewery, the Torch Lake Brewery, which eventually became known as the Bosch Brewing Co. It survived prohibition, but Bosch died in 1937. His two grandsons took over management of the company, and it stayed in business until 1973, when their labels were soon to the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company.

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Here’s some biographical information from Wikipedia:

Joseph Bosch was born in Baden, Germany in 1850. He emigrated to New York with his family when he was four, then moved to Wisconsin at the age of twelve, where his father was a brewer. In 1867, the family moved to Lake Linden; there, Bosch worked as a miner of the Calumet & Hecla company. However, he harbored the desire to become a brewmaster, and travelled to Milwaukee, Wisconsin to work at the Schlitz Brewery, then on to Cleveland, Ohio and Louisville, Kentucky before returning to Lake Linden in 1874 to found the Torch Lake Brewery. Two years later he admitted business partners and changed the name to Joseph Bosch & Company. In 1894 he again changed the name, this time to Bosch Brewing Company, and in 1899 the brewery was the largest in the Upper Peninsula, with a capacity of 60,000 barrels annually.

Bosch was also the president of Lake Linden’s First National Bank, organized in 1888, and participated in various mercantile enterprises, including those carried on in the Joseph Bosch Building.

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And there was this at the Van Pelt and Opie Library at Michigan Tech:

Joseph Bosch, founder of the Bosch Brewing Company, had always yearned to enter the brewing industry. He had learned much from his father, a brewer in his native country of Germany, who had brought the family to Lake Linden, Michigan in 1867. A desire for more knowledge and experience led the young Bosch to Cleveland, Fort Wayne and finally Milwaukee, where he worked for the Schlitz brewery. He returned to Lake Linden in 1874, erected a small wooden building and began brewing operations as the Torch Lake Brewery, Joseph Bosch & Company. Bosch operated the brewery on his own for the first two years, but in 1876 admitted several men on a partnership basis. The company continued as a partnership until around 1894, when the reorganized firm issued stock under its new name, the Bosch Brewing Company. The company continued in operation for nearly a century, closing the last of its facilities in 1973.

In the early years of brewing in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, little if any beer was sold in bottles. Bosch saw the potential of this packaging, however, and the company began bottling on a small scale before 1880. By 1883, the original wooden building in Lake Linden had been enlarged and the company was producing 4,000 barrels of beer annually, one quarter of which was bottled. The brewery was completely destroyed in a great fire that swept through Lake Linden in 1887, but the demand for its product fired quick construction of new facilities. By the turn of the century the Bosch Brewing Company had brewing facilities in Lake Linden and Houghton, as well as branches and storehouses in Calumet/Laurium, Hancock, Eagle Harbor and Ishpeming. Having survived the difficult years of prohibition, the company finally closed the Lake Linden facility in favor of the better-situated facilities in Houghton.

Stressing the relationship of its product and the community, the Bosch Brewing Company featured many local themes in its advertising. Promotional phrases such as the “Refreshing as the Sportman’s Paradise” kept the small brewery close to the hearts of Copper Country natives and visitors from farther afield. The company found itself increasingly unable to compete locally with the larger breweries of Milwaukee and St. Louis, however, and the last keg of beer was ceremoniously loaded onto a wagon for delivery to a local tavern on Friday, September 28, 1973.

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This is from the “History of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan,” published in 1883:

JOSEPH BOSCH & CO., proprietors of Torch Lake Brewery. This business was organized in 1874, and is owned one-half by Joseph Bosch, the other by Joseph Wertin & Sons, of Hancock; 4,000 barrels of beer. are manufactured annually, 1,000 of which is bottled. Joseph Bosch was born in Baden, Germany, February 13, 1850, and came to America with his parents in 1854; he spent nine years in New York City, and then removed to Port Washington, Wis., where he learned the brewing business with his father. In 1867, in company with his father, he came to Torch Lake, and erected the first house in what is Lake Linden; he worked four years at the Hecla Stamp Mill. In 1874, he built the brewery; he was married at Hancock in January, 1875, to Miss Mary, daughter of Joseph Wertin. Mrs. Bosch was born in Austria. They have a daughter — Mary.

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And finally, here’s a longer biography of Bosch from “Biographical Sketches of Leading Citizens of Houghton, Baraga and Marquette Counties, Michigan,” published in 1903:

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Beer In Ads #1773: Holidays Were Made For John Forsythe


Monday’s holiday ad is for Michelob, from 1980. This holiday ad for Michelob featured actor John Forsythe, who’s best know for being the voice of Charlie in Charlie’s Angels and on the 1980s TV show Dynasty. And right before joining the cast of Dynasty, he did this ad for Michelob, where he’s putting out some bottles of beer into a bowl of ice for a party. Notice the six-pack in the corner that’s been decorated with a wreath. I can’t say I recall them doing special holiday carriers, but then I didn’t really drink the beer in 1980, either.

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Beer In Ads #1464: Pronounce It Mick-A-Lobe


Thursday’s ad is for Michelob, from 1967. Apparently, in the late Sixties people still had trouble pronouncing Michelob. It reminds me of the packaging on Lagunitas, which includes “Say ‘lah-goo-knee-tuss'” on their carriers because when the brewery first opened, founder Tony Magee worried that most people wouldn’t know how to pronounce the name of the small west Marin town. So okay, it’s “Mick-A-Lobe,” “Now that’s an order.” Also, “In beer, going first class is Michelob. Period.” Sadly, that is how the brand was positioned. It even seemed to work for a while.

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Beer In Ads #1423: Ski Patrol To The Rescue


Friday’s ad is for Michelob Light, from 1978. The ad features Monique St. Pierre, who was Playboy magazine’s Playmate of the Month for the November 1978 issue and the 1979 Playmate of the Year. The German-born model is portraying a a member of the ski patrol, but her St. Bernard “Suds” has a six-pack of Michelob Light around his neck, rather than the traditional barrel of brandy. Unfortunately the brandy barrel being carried by a St. Bernard to warm trapped skiers or hikers in the Alps is a myth.

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Beer In Ads #1209: In Beer, Going First Class Is Michelob


Sunday’s ad is another one for Michelob, this time from 1967. Another Michelob ad, in this one apparently “In Beer, Going First Class Is Michelob. … Period.” According to the ad it’s “Brewed just like the famous Michelob draught,” which had been first introduced as a pasteurized version in 1961, and is the same year they also introduced the distinctive teardrop bottle.

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Beer In Ads #1208: Weekends Were Made For Michelob


Saturday’s ad is for Michelob, from 19677. I love the jacket of the man seen in the bottle enjoying his weekend with a lobster dinner. I remember that decade, and had quite a few of my own fashion disasters. “Weekends were made for Michelob” was an inspired tagline, it’s just too bad the beer didn’t live up to the hype. It wasn’t exactly “an unexpected pleasure.”

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Beer In Ads #10: Boris Vallejo’s Michelob Man

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Today’s ad was painted by one of the most famous science fiction/fantasy artists of all time, Boris Vallejo. If you don’t know who he he is, then you’ve never read the genre, because he’s worked for nearly everybody and has also done a number of album covers. His most famous characters include Conan, Doc Savage and Tarzan.

According to the biography at his home page:

Born in Lima, Peru, Boris attended the National School of Fine Arts in his native country before immigrating to the United States in 1964. He has since done a great volume of work for the Fantasy field, having worked for virtually every major publishing house with a science fiction/fantasy line. Boris has also illustrated for album covers, video box art and motion picture advertising.

You can also see a lot of his art at his official website (along with his wife, artist Julie Bell) and chronologically at the Boris Vallejo Gallery.

If I had to guess, I’d say this may have been for something internal at A-B because notice that the man in the painting, who may or may not be August Busch III, is crushing a can of Heineken, undoubtedly a primary target of Michelob’s marketing efforts. There’s also a strange triangular-shaped object between the two beers that resembles a Toblerone package, but I can’t figure what that might be. Anybody have any ideas?

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