Historic Beer Birthday: Frederick H. Krug

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Today is the birthday of Frederick H. Krug (May 1, 1870-1914). He was the son of Frederick Krug, who was the “German-immigrant founder of the Frederick Krug Brewing Company of Omaha, Nebraska. Krug is often cited as one of the early settlers of Omaha. In addition to operating the brewery for almost the entire duration of his life, Krug operated Krug Park in the Benson community and was the president of the Home Fire Insurance Company, which was founded in Omaha in 1884.” His son was involved in the business, and was treasurer, but passed away when he was only 44, five years before his father passed away.

Probably because he passed away so young and his contributions to the brewery were relatively modest, there’s no biographical information I could find on junior, not even the exact date he died.

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“The Fred Krug Brewery was located at 2435 Deer Park Boulevard in Omaha, Nebraska. Founded in 1859, Krug Brewery was the first brewery in the city. Krug was one of the “Big 4″ brewers located in Omaha, which also included the Storz, Willow Springs and Metz breweries. Later sold to Falstaff in 1936, the facility closed in 1987.

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The brewery in 1920.

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And in its heyday.

This is a short history of the brewery.

In 1859 Frederick Krug established the Krug Brewery with an original output of one and a half barrels a day. In 1878 the brewery was located on Farnam between 10th & 11th Streets in Downtown Omaha, and by 1880 it was brewing approximately 25,000 barrels a year. In 1894 the brewery moved to 29th & Vinton Street near South Omaha. It cost $750,000 and was reportedly one of the best equipped breweries in the country. Omaha’s historic Anheuser-Busch Beer Depot is the only remaining building from the original Krug Brewery.

You wouldn’t believe there was such difference in beers until you use one Krug’s popular brands. They are uniform perfectly brewed and well-aged absolutely pure and leave no bad after effects. The kind of beer that acts as a tonic and a system builder. Order a trial case and begin to enjoy. – Text from a 1910 advertisement by Fred Krug Brewing Company.

Krug brewed beer under several labels: Fred Krug, Cabinet, and Luxus. Krug supported an amateur baseball team called Luxus, taking them as far as the Amateur Baseball World Championship in 1915.

PaxtonHotel

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Historic Beer Birthday: Frederick Krug

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Today is the birthday of Frederick “Fred” Krug (December 22, 1833-November 18, 1919). He “was the German-immigrant founder of the Frederick Krug Brewing Company of Omaha, Nebraska. Krug is often cited as one of the early settlers of Omaha. In addition to operating the brewery for almost the entire duration of his life, Krug operated Krug Park in the Benson community and was the president of the Home Fire Insurance Company, which was founded in Omaha in 1884.”

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

Born in Germany. Married Anna. Came to Omaha in 1859 and became the pioneer brewer of Omaha with a brewery on Farnham between 10th and 11th Streets. Partnered with Rudolph Selzer to form Krug & Selzer, and by 1860 became sole proprietor. In 1867 he moved it to 11th and Jackson and in the 1890’s he built a new brewery at 24th and Vinton Streets. Was on the Board of Directors of the German Savings Bank. Krug Park at 52nd and Maple Street and the Krug Theater were both named in his honor. Lived at 813 S. 20th Street and was a member of St. John’s german Evangelical Church.

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And here’s his biography from Wikipedia:

Fred Krug was born in Niederzwehren near Kassel in Germany on December 22, 1833. He lived in Niederzwehren until 19 years of age where he was trained as a brewer. He then emigrated to the U.S. in 1852, settling in St. Louis, Missouri. In St. Louis, he met his wife Anna and had a son, William. In 1858, he moved to Council Bluffs where he worked in a small brewery. Later the same year, he moved to Omaha with his wife and son. He established his first small brewery on Farnam Street. Later, his business moved to Jackson Street between 10th and 11th streets. On October 17, 1893, he and his family celebrated the grand opening of the new Fred Krug Brewery. At the time this new brewery was one of the largest and most modern of its kind. Its capacity was reported to be 150,000 barrels per year and they employed approximately 500 men.

Krug led his company in Omaha for almost 50 years, and was responsible for founding Omaha’s Krug Park in 1904. The city of Omaha named a street after him. Frederick’s sons, including William, Frederick H., Jacob and Albert all worked at the brewery in a variety of capacities. Krug, a German immigrant, served on the State of Nebraska’s Board of Immigration.

This is a commemorative plate created for the brewery’s 50th anniversary.

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And this is the back of the plate.

Below is a more thorough biography from the “Illustrated History of Nebraska, Volume 1,” by Julius Sterling Morton, published in 1911:

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“The Fred Krug Brewery was located at 2435 Deer Park Boulevard in Omaha, Nebraska. Founded in 1859, Krug Brewery was the first brewery in the city. Krug was one of the “Big 4″ brewers located in Omaha, which also included the Storz, Willow Springs and Metz breweries. Later sold to Falstaff in 1936, the facility closed in 1987.

Krug-Brewery-1920
The brewery in 1920.

Krug-Brewery-sm
And in its heyday.

This is a short history of the brewery.

In 1859 Frederick Krug established the Krug Brewery with an original output of one and a half barrels a day. In 1878 the brewery was located on Farnam between 10th & 11th Streets in Downtown Omaha, and by 1880 it was brewing approximately 25,000 barrels a year. In 1894 the brewery moved to 29th & Vinton Street near South Omaha. It cost $750,000 and was reportedly one of the best equipped breweries in the country. Omaha’s historic Anheuser-Busch Beer Depot is the only remaining building from the original Krug Brewery.

You wouldn’t believe there was such difference in beers until you use one Krug’s popular brands. They are uniform perfectly brewed and well-aged absolutely pure and leave no bad after effects. The kind of beer that acts as a tonic and a system builder. Order a trial case and begin to enjoy. – Text from a 1910 advertisement by Fred Krug Brewing Company.

Krug brewed beer under several labels: Fred Krug, Cabinet, and Luxus. Krug supported an amateur baseball team called Luxus, taking them as far as the Amateur Baseball World Championship in 1915.

PaxtonHotel

Krug-Luxus-Beer--Labels-Fred-Krug-Brewing-Company

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Historic Beer Birthday: Balthas Jetter

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Today is the birthday of Balthas Jetter (December 17, 1851-May 9, 1915). He was born in Engstlatt, Zollernalbkreis, Baden-Württemberg, Germany, but moved with his family to Omaha, Nebraska when he was nine, in 1860. In 1887, he and a partner founded the Jetter & Young Brewery in South Omaha. In 1890, Jetter bought out Young, the brewery was renamed B. Jetter, although it also traded under the name South Omaha Brewing Co. In 1902, it became the Jetter Brewing Co., which it remained until prohibition. It reopened in 1933 and remained in business util 1994, when it closed for good.

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Here’s Jetter’s obituary from the Omaha Daily Bee, published May 11, 1915:

Balthas Jetter, founder of the Jetter Brewing company of South Omaha, died Sunday at 11:20 o’clock from a paralytic stroke sustained Saturday morning.

Mr. Jetter was 64 years of age. He was in his usual good health up to Saturday, when he sustained a stroke. He was found Saturday forenoon in a semi-conscious condition in the brew house by William Hoffman, son of an employee. Physicians were summoned and the stricken man was removed to his home on South Thirtieth street, but he never regained consciousness.

Mr. Jetter is survived by his wife, one son, Henry, and three daughters, Misses Alma, Hulda and Edith Jetter, of this city. Martin Jetter, head of the Jetter Brewing company, is a nephew.

Balthas Jetter was born in Engsclat, Germany, December 17, 1851. He came to the United States in 1871 and was employed on the Union Pacific railroad as a bridge builder. He helped build the Union Pacific bridge at Omaha.

In 1873 he entered into the brewing business in Omaha, where he continued as an employee until 1887, when he removed to South Omaha and launched out for himself on a plat of land now covered by the Armour packing plant. He gradually increased his business until May, 1914, when he retired in favor of his nephew, Martin Jetter, present head of the Jetter Brewing Company. From the penury of a raw immigrant he gradually accumulated a large fortune.

Balthas Jetter was married in Omaha July 7, 1878. His family consists of his wife and four children. One son, Henry Jetter, is interested in the brewing company.

When Balthas Jetter determined to retire from active business a few years ago he made a tour of Germany in company with Fred Drew, vice president of the Jetter company, in order to study the manufacture of German beer. Even after his retirement as active head he continued to manifest interest in the affairs of the company.

His wealth never changed him and his friends say that he lived as simply in his old age as in the days of his early struggle. He was friendly and companionable with his family and friends, but cared nothing for society.

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Here’s a short history of the Jetter Brewery from “Nebraska Beer: Great Plains History by the Pint,” by Tyler A. Thomas:

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An undated photo of the Jetter brewery employees. I can’t be sure, but it looks like Balthas may be in the top row, fifth from the left.

Here’s a lengthier history of the brewery from Jetter Brewing Company website, which seems to suggest the beer may be making a comeback, and began planning last year:

South Omaha, for many years, has been famous for being the home to one of the nation’s largest stockyards. Along with the stockyards were many very large packing houses. Wilson, Hammond Bros., Swift, Armour & Cudahy were the big five. In their heyday they employed thousands of immigrants from Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Lithuania and many other Middle and Eastern European countries. Immigrants who had settled in Omaha to find their dreams in America. One such immigrant was a German by the name of Balthas Jetter. Jetter found his way to Omaha in the later part of the nineteenth century with the full intention of establishing a brewery to help quench the thirsts of those packing house workers.

In 1887 along with a partner, Mr. Young, Jetter established the Jetter and Young Brewery at 30th & “Y” streets in the heart of South Omaha. Annual capacity at the time was an impressive 10,000 barrels. By 1890 Jetter had purchased his partner’s stake in the brewery and had taken on the name South Omaha Brewing Co., B. Jetter prop. An advertisement in the 1890 Omaha city directory shows an artist’s rendition of the brewery, with the Jetter home in the foreground, the large brewing operation in the center and a small lake to the south. The lake was on land that is now known as Upland Park.

Production at the brewery continued to keep pace with the bustling community of South Omaha. The packing house industry was booming and the Jetter Brewing Company kept pace by increasing their production to 30,000 barrels annually by 1902.

In 1905 the brewery became more simply known as the Jetter Brewing Company. During those years after the turn of the century, Jetter’s flagship brand was “Gold Top”. An ad from 1902 touts Gold Top as a beer that “…always snaps and sparkles, that never leaves a bad effect, that is a good beverage and a better tonic, that is Gold Top”.

Jetter’s, as well as the other Omaha breweries, prospered during the early part of the century. Expansion and modernization of the brewery continued. The brewery was now an all brick, concrete and steel structure.

Sometime around 1909, the brewery dropped the Gold Top brand in favor of the brand name “Old Age”. The Old Age label featured three elderly gentlemen conversing while hoisting steins of Old Age beer. A loaf of bread adorns the table the three are sitting around. Those three gentlemen became well known to beer drinkers. The three adorned every bottle of Old Age and appeared on nearly all pieces of advertising used by the brewery.

The Jetter Brewery continued to produce Old Age beer all the way up to Prohibition. At the height of production, the brewery turned out in excess of 100,000 barrels annually. In 1919 when the production of real beer became illegal, the brewery was forced to halt the brewing of Old Age. Jetter’s turned to the production of soda pop and near beer. Soda pop went under the label “Sahara” and featured a scene right out of the desert. Near beer was marketed under the Old Age name as well as St. Regis brew. Production continued well into the twenties, but with prohibition dragging on the brewery was very underutilized and only maintained a skeleton crew of employees. By 1930 the brewery had ended the production of any type of beer or soda. The brewery sat idle for the first time in 43 years.

You can pick up their more recent story at the history page.

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Nebraska Beer

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Today in 1867, Nebraska became the 37th state.

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Nebraska Breweries

Nebraska Brewery Guides

Guild: Nebraska Craft Brewers Association

State Agency: Nebraska Liquor Control Commission

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  • Capital: Lincoln
  • Largest Cities: Omaha, Lincoln, Bellevue, Grand Island, Kearney
  • Population: 1,711,263; 38th
  • Area: 77358 sq.mi., 16th
  • Nickname: Cornhusker State
  • Statehood: 37th, March 1, 1867

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  • Alcohol Legalized: May 8, 1933
  • Number of Breweries: 18
  • Rank: 30th
  • Beer Production: 1,509,416
  • Production Rank: 36th
  • Beer Per Capita: 26.2 Gallons

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Package Mix:

  • Bottles: 33.6%
  • Cans: 54.9%
  • Kegs: 11.4%

Beer Taxes:

  • Per Gallon: $0.31
  • Per Case: $0.70
  • Tax Per Barrel (24/12 Case): $9.61
  • Draught Tax Per Barrel (in Kegs): $9.61

Economic Impact (2010):

  • From Brewing: $29,928,238
  • Direct Impact: $368,743,551
  • Supplier Impact: $292,456,172
  • Induced Economic Impact: $204,259,630
  • Total Impact: $865,459,353

Legal Restrictions:

  • Control State: No
  • Sale Hours: 6 a.m.–1 a.m. Legislation passed in 2010 allows for municipalities to extend on-premise sales to 2 a.m. with two-thirds approval of city or county councils.
  • Grocery Store Sales: Yes
  • Notes: Yes No on- or off-premises sales of spirits before noon on Sundays. All beer, wine, and champagne can be sold starting at 6 a.m. In Omaha, it was illegal to sell all liquor before noon. On December 19, 2006, the Omaha city council voted 5-1 to repeal the law.

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Data complied, in part, from the Beer Institute’s Brewer’s Almanac 2010, Beer Serves America, the Brewers Association, Wikipedia and my World Factbook. If you see I’m missing a brewery link, please be so kind as to drop me a note or simply comment on this post. Thanks.

For the remaining states, see Brewing Links: United States.