Historic Beer Birthday: Rudolph J. Schaefer

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Today is the birthday of Rudolph J. Schaefer (February 21, 1863-November 9, 1923). He was the son of Maximilian Schaefer, who along with his brother Frederick, founded the F&M Schaefer Brewing Company in 1848. Rudolph became the president of F&M Schaefer Brewing in 1912, and continued in that position until his death. He also bought out his uncles and their heirs, and controlled the entire company.

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This is what the brewery in Brooklyn looked like in 1916, shortly after Rudolph J. Schaefer took control of the company.

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Below is a chapter on the history of F&M Schaefer Brewing Co., from Will Anderson’s hard-to-find Breweries in Brooklyn.

Longest operating brewery in New York City, last operating brewery in New York City [as of 1976], and America’s oldest lager beer brewing company — these honors, plus many others, all belong to The F. & M. Schaefer Brewing Co.

“F. & M.”, as most breweriana buffs know, stands for Frederick and Maximilian, the brothers who founded Schaefer. Frederick Schaefer, a native of Wetzlar, Prussia, Germany, emigrated to the U.S. in 1838. When he arrived in New York City on October 23rd he was 21 years old and had exactly $1.00 to his name. There is some doubt as to whether or not he had been a practicing brewer in Germany, but there is no doubt that he was soon a practicing brewer in his adopted city. Within two weeks of his landing, Frederick took a job with Sebastian Sommers, who operated a small brewhouse on Broadway, between 18th and 19th Streets. Frederick obviously enjoyed both his job and life in America, and the next year his younger brother, Maximilian, decided to make the arduous trip across the Atlantic also. He arrived in June of 1839 and brought with him a formula for lager, a type of beer popular in Germany but unheard of in the United States. The brothers dreamed, and planned, and saved – and in the late summer of 1842 they were able to buy the small brewery from Sommers. The official, and historic, starting date was September, 1842.

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Sommers’ former facility was a start, but that’s all it was, as it was much too small. New York beer drinkers immediately took a liking to “the different beer” the brothers brewed, and in 1845 Frederick and Maximilian developed a new plant several blocks away, on 7th Avenue, between 16th and 17th Streets (7th Avenue and 17th Street is today, of course, well known as the home of Barney’s, the giant men’s clothing store). This, too, proved to be just a temporary move; the plant was almost immediately inadequate to meet demands and the brothers wisely decided to build yet another new plant, and to locate it in an area where they could expand as needed. Their search took them to what were then the “wilds” of uptown Manhattan. In 1849 the brewery, lock, stock and many barrels, was moved to Fourth Ave. (now Park Avenue) and 51st Street. Here, just north of Grand Central Station, the Schaefers brewed for the next 67 years, ever-expanding their plant. The only problem was that the brothers were not the only ones to locate “uptown.” The area in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s grew rapidly all during the last half of the 19th century, and especially after the opening of the original Grand Central Terminal in 1871. Frederick and Maximilian had wisely purchased numerous lots between 50th and 52nd Streets, and by the time they passed away (Frederick in 1897 and Maximilian in 1904) the brewery was, literally, sitting atop a small fortune. Maximilian’s son, Rudolph J. Schaefer, fully realized this when he assumed the Presidency of the brewery in 1912. In that same year Rudolph purchased the 50% of the company owned by his uncle Frederick’s heirs. He thus had complete control of the brewery, and one of the first matters he turned to was the suitable location for a new, and presumably everlasting, plant. In 1914, in anticipation of its move, Schaefer sold part of the Park Ave. site to St. Bartholomew’s Church. This sale, for a reputed $1,500,000, forced Rudolph to intensify his search for a new location. Finally, in June of 1915, it was announced that the brewery had decided on a large tract in Brooklyn, directly on the East River and bounded by Kent Avenue and South 9th and 10th Streets. Here, starting in 1915, Rudolph constructed the very best in pre-Prohibition breweries. The move across the river to their ultra-new and modern plant was made in 1916, just four years before the Volstead Act crimped the sails (and sales!) of all United States breweries, new or old alike.

While it must have seemed a real shame to brew “near beer” in his spanking new plant, Rudolph Schaefer obviously felt that near beer was better than no beer at all; consequently, the brewery remained in operation all during Prohibition, producing mostly near beer but also manufacturing dyes and artificial ice.

In 1923 Rudolph J. Schaefer passed away at the relatively young age of 60. Control of the company thus passed to his two sons, Frederick M.E. Schaefer and Rudolph J. Schaefer, Jr. Frederick guided the brewery for several years but was troubled by poor health, therefore, in 1927, only a few years after his graduation from Princeton University, Rudolph Jr. was elected President. Although he was by far the youngest brewery President in the United States, Rudy, Jr. provided excellent leadership. Several months before that magic Repeal date of April 7, 1933, when 3.2% beer became legalized, he beat most of his New York City competitors to the punch by launching an extensive advertising campaign, centered around the theme that “Our hand has never lost its skill.” Rudy, Jr. also personally outlined and designed many of the new buildings added to the brewery in expansion programs in the 1930’s and early 1940’s.

In 1938 Schaefer joined that exclusive group of brewers that sold 1,000,000 barrels in a year, and the 2,000,000 mark was passed in 1944, two years after the company celebrated its 100th birthday in 1842. Sales continued strong throughout the 1940’s and, to increase capacity, Schaefer purchased the former Beverwyck Brewery Co. in Albany, New York in 1950. They remained a two-plant company until 1961 when, with an eye toward expanding into large areas of the mid-west, Rudy Schaefer purchased the Standard Brewing Company, of Cleveland, Ohio. This, however, did not turn out to be a wise move; Schaefer beer just didn’t seem to catch on in Ohio, and within two years Schaefer sold the plant to C. Schmidt and Sons, which used it as their midwestern brewing arm. In what almost seems like musical breweries, however, Schaefer added a plant in Baltimore in the same year, 1963, that it disposed of its Cleveland facility. Ironically, Schaefer purchased the Baltimore plant from Theo. Hamm, a large St. Paul, Minn. brewer that had been attemping, with little success, to move into the east coast. The grass may always seem greener in the other brewer’s territory, but it certainly wasn’t so for both Schaefer and Hamm’s in the early 1960’s!

Schaefer’s most dramatic move with respect to plants was the decision, in 1971, to build a brand new, ultra-modern brewery just outside of Allentown, Pa. Realizing that all three of its plants at the time, Brooklyn, Albany, and Baltimore, were old and inefficient, Schaefer management decided it had to go the route being taken by Pabst, Schlitz, Anheuser-Busch and Miller – build a brand new and thoroughly modernized brewery rather than continue to try to upgrade old facilities. To construct a new brewery is extremely expensive, of course, but when it was opened in 1972 Schaefer could be justifiably proud – their Lehigh Valley plant was one of the most modern and efficient breweries in the world!

What does a company do, however, when it has one ultra-modern plant and three that appear very dated by comparison? The question is really rhetorical, of course; strive to add to the modern plant while phasing out the less efficient facilities. And that’s exactly what Schaefer did. The Albany plant was shut down almost immediately, on December 31st of 1972. In 1974 the Lehigh Valley plant was expanded from its original 1,100,000 barrels-per-year capacity to 2,500,000 and then, in 1975, it was decided to expand again – to 5,000,000 barrels plus. By 1975, therefore, it was obvious that one of the two less efficient plants should and would be closed, the only questions remaining was which plant, Brooklyn or Baltimore, and when. Both questions were answered on January 22, 1976 when Robert W. Lear, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of The F. & M. Schaefer Corp., announced the closing of the Brooklyn plant. This announcement, only one week after Rheingold disclosed its plans to also shut down in Brooklyn, left Brooklyn and New York City without a single producing brewery. While both Frederick and Maximilian Schaefer, if they were alive today, would undoubtedly be proud of Schaefer’s history and many years of brewing, and would certainly be impressed with the modern brewing techniques reflected in the Lehigh Valley plant, I suspect they’d feel very badly about the closing of the company’s brewery in New York City, the city that’s had a love affair with Schaefer lager for over 134 years.

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A painting of Rudolph J. Schaefer.

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The Schaefers around 1895, with Rudolph Schaefer standing, with his father Maximilian Schaefer sitting down, holding F.M. Emile Schaefer, his grandson and Rudolph’s son on his lap.

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Three generations of Schaefers.

Beer Birthday: Jeff O’Neil

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Today is the 42nd birthday of Jeff O’Neil, who I first met when he was brewing at Drake’s here in sunny California. He’s since gone on to make a name for himself at Ithaca Beer Co. before leaving that gig to become the brewmaster at the Peekskill Brewery, both of which are in upstate New York, which is where Jeff originally hails from. Jeff’s a terrific brewer and an equally wonderful guy. Join me in wishing Jeff a very happy birthday.

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Jeff at GABF in 2007.

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Jeff O’Neil, from Ithaca Brewing, wearing his automatic-get-on-the-bulletin shirt, with Rodger Davis, when he was still with Drake’s, not wearing his, at the Craft Brewers Conference in 2008.

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Jeff O’Neil, a mild-mannered brewer was underneath wearing the Bulletin supporter costume that turns him into a superhero, coming into Deep Ellum in Boson for an event during the Craft Brewers Conference a few years ago.

Historic Beer Birthday: Henry Uihlein II

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Today is the birthday of Henry Uihlein II (February 3, 1896-June 8, 1997). He was the grandson of Henry Uihlein, who for many years was the president of the Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company early in the 20th century. Henry II was also a director of the family business for several decades until its sale in 1982.

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This paid death notice was printed in the New York Times in 1997:

UIHLEIN-Henry II. Of Lake Placid, NY. Died June 8, 1997, at his winter home in Indian Wells, CA, at the age of 101. He is survived by his wife, Suzanne M. Uihlein, and by his nephews, Robert and August Rohe. Mr. Uihlein was preceded in death by his first wife, Mildred Anthony Uihlein, who died on July 9, 1990. He was a grandson of Henry Uihlein who was a longtime president of the Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company early in this century, and was himself a director of the company for several decades until its sale in 1982 to the Stroh Brewing Company. Mr. Uihlein was born in New York City on February 3, 1896, and attended public and private schools there. A promising collegiate career was cut short by tuberculosis and resulted in his spending several years in Lake Placid, NY, where he was restored to health by the altitude and climate. He married Mildred Anthony of South Orange, NJ, on June 10, 1927, and after an extended European honeymoon, they settled in Montclair, NJ, where he founded a real estate corporation. Summers were spent in Lake Placid. In 1933, the Uihleins moved to New York City where Mr. Uihlein attended to his father’s affairs until he died in 1939. In 1941, the Uihleins made Lake Placid their permanent residence, purchasing farm land from the Lake Placid Club which became known as Heaven Hill Farm. Over the succeeding decades, Mr. Uihlein developed a blue ribbon pure-breed Jersey cattle herd, a prize maple syrup operation, and a first class seed potato farm. Stock from his Jersey herd consistently took top prizes at American Jersey Club Shows. Several years ago, the Jersey herd was donated to the Miner Institute of Chazy, NY, where they continue breeding under the Heaven Hill name. Also several years ago, the maple syrup and potato operations were donated to the College of Agriculture of Cornell University under which auspices they continue to be operated as demonstration and research facilities (and in the case of the potato operation, as a disease-free source of seed potatos.) In addition to his interests in fishing, hunting, stamp collecting, and skeet shooting, Mr. Uihlein supported the sport of speed skating in Lake Placid by sponsoring a number of contestants and events, thus contributing to to Lake Placid’s reputation as a winter sports resort. He was an official timer at the 1932 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid and an active supporter of the 1980 Winter Olympics for which he was made an honorary member. In 1983, he was named to the Lake Placid Hall of Fame. Henry Uihlein also liked classic automobiles and undertook the restoration of 2 1939 DeLage automobiles. These automobiles, one a coupe and the other a convertible, are one of a kind and were the stars of the French Pavillion at the 1939 World’s Fair. More recently, they have taken top honors at the Concourse D’Legance at Pebble Beach, CA, and other national competitions. Mr. Uihlein has also been actively involved in philanthropy. In addition to funding the Cornell College of Agriculture gifts noted above, he played a major role in the creation of the Uihlein Mercy Center, a geriatric hospital and home located not far from Heaven Hill Farm in Lake Placid. He also has an administration building named after him at the Eisenhower Medical Center in Palm Desert and has served as an honorary Trustee of the Center. He has also actively supported the work of the Mayo Clinic. He will be missed by his many relatives, friends and all those whose lives he touched during his many years. Services will be held on Saturday, June 14th at 11:00 a.m. at the Uihlein Mercy Center Chapel in Lake Placid, interment to follow at North Elba Cemetery, Lake Placid, NY. Memorials may be made to Cornell University College of Agriculture, Uihlein Mercy Center, Lake Placid, NY, Eisenhower Medical Center, Palm Desert, CA, and the Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN. For information, call the Clark Funeral Home in Lake Placid, NY.

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This biography was written in 1982, when Uihlein was inducted into The Potato Association of America:

Henry Uihlein II, born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on February 3, 1896, is a member of the family that owned and operated the Jos. Schlitz Brewing Company for over 100 years.

Soon after Henry was born, his family moved to New York City, where his father continued the family tradition of engaging in the brewery business. He attended public schools and then the Horace Mann Preparatory School in New York City, a part of Teachers College, which was affiliated with Columbia University. As a youth he was active in athletics, participating in baseball, ice hockey and track.

Henry aspired to a career in medicine and with that in mind enrolled at Cornell University. However, misfortune struck. He became seriously ill with tuberculosis and his father was advised that it was unlikely that Henry would live more than six months. So in 1916, in an effort to regain his health, Henry went to Lake Placid, New York, which was famous for its health sanatoria. There he gradually regained his health and as soon as he was able, resumed his interest in amateur athletics. He focused his energies and support behind speed skating, bringing national and international meets to the tiny Adirondack village. His efforts to promote winter sports in Lake Placid continued through the ’20′s, in spite of being involved in a very serious auto accident. Mr. Uihlein played a significant role in bringing the winter Olympics to Lake Placid in 1932.

In 1927, Mr. Uihlein married Mildred Anthony, whom he had met two years earlier at the Lake Placid Club. They recently celebrated their 56th wedding anniversary. After a number of years actively engaged in business in New York City, the Uihleins returned to Lake Placid in 1940, bought Heaven Hill Farm and directed their energies toward farming. Their first Jersey cattle were acquired in 1942, the beginning of a champion show herd which eventually numbered 250 head. Their sire, Brownys Masterman Jester, bred at Heaven Hill Farm, set an unprecedented record by winning five Grand Championships at the National Jersey Show. Seven head of their cattle achieved “Hall of Fame” records. Their love of Jersey cattle continues today and Heaven Hill enjoys an international reputation for their premier breeding stock.

Concurrently with the development of their Jersey herd, the Uihtein’s entered the seed potato business in order to help the war effort. Their annual production eventually reached 30,000 bushels of top quality certified seed. In 1961 Cornell University approached the Uihleins seeking to lease or purchase their Tableland Farm to establish an official seed potato farm for New York State. The Uihleins countered with an extraordinary offer–they had decided to give Cornell approximately 300 acres of prime potato land. This, along with subsequent gifts of land, became known as the Uihlein Farm of Cornell University.

In 1975 Cornell again approached Mr. Uihlein seeking his support for building a laboratory and greenhouse on the Cornell-Uihlein Farm for the specific purpose of producing pathogen-free potato seed stocks by meristem and shoot tip culture. Having always maintained a keen interest in all aspects of the research program and the production of disease-free seed stocks, Mr. Uihlein very generously agreed to fund this facility. Ground was broken in 1977; the Henry Uihlein II Laboratory was dedicated in June of 1979. Maple syrup production on Heaven Hill was an annual affair since the 1940′s, Heaven Hill having many thousands of mature sugar maples. In 1964 Henry Uihlein conceived the idea of starting a demonstration and research project under the direction of Cornell’s Department of Natural Resources for the production of maple syrup. In addition to funding the construction of the sugar house, equipment and deeding 165 acres of maple forest to Cornell, he has continued to subsidize this project.

The Uihlein’s, in a further demonstration of community spirit, donated 35 acres of land and partial funding for a $4,500,000 nursing home for the aged and chronically ill. This facility, known as the Uihlein Mercy Center, is widely known for its beauty and excellent care. Among his many other activities and interests, Mr. Uihlein served as a Director of the Jos. Schlitz Brewing Co. for 32 years, then as Director Emeritus and Lifetime Honorary Director. He has also served as Director of the Jos. Schlitz Foundation and as a trustee and president of the Lake Placid Educational Foundation. Mr. Uihlein was honored by the American Jersey Cattle Club in 1968 and was designated “Master Breeder of the Year.” He was on the Lake Placid Olympic Organizing Committee for the 1980 Winter Olympics and has been active in numerous other organizations.

Very few individuals outside the research community have contributed so much to support the development of a basic aspect of the potato industry. Mr. Uihlein’s contributions of land and buildings have made possible a foundation seed farm of unique quality. For over twenty years, scientists, farmers, and consumers in New York State and beyond have benefitted from his personal interest in and active support for research to produce disease-free potatoes.

For his vision and enthusiasm, his high level of interest and unstinting generosity to seed potato research, it is most appropriate that we honor Mr. Henry Uihlein II with an Honorary Life Membership in The Potato Association of America.

And thanks to his contribution of bringing the Olympics to Lake Placid, he was inducted into the Lack Placid Hall of Fame.

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Historic Beer Birthday: George Hauck

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Today is the birthday of George Hauck (January 31, 1832-April 20, 1912). He was born in Germany, but came to America when he was 18, in 1850, and after working in several breweries, in 1863. settled in Kingston, New York. In 1864, he and a partner, George Dressell, founded a brewery, initially known as the Geo. Dressell & Co. Brewery. Twenty years later, Dressell passed away, and Hauck became the sole proprietor, changing the name to the George Hauck Brewery. In 190s, his sons joined him in the business, and it became known as the Geo. Hauck & Sons Brewing Co., before it closed due to prohibition in 1916. It was re-opened by a few different business entities after repeal in 1933, but none proved sustainable and it closed for good in 1938.

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In “The History of Ulster County, New York,” there’s an entry on Hauck:

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George Hauck and a young child in a horse and buggy, around 1900.

Here’s his obituary from Find-a-Grave:

George Hauck, president of the George Haurk and Sons Brewing Company, died on Saturday evening at his home on Wurts street, aged 80 years. He had been in failing health for some time. Mr. Hauck was born in Germany In 1832, a son of Adam Hauck. His father was a brewer by occupation. Coming to this country in 1849 be became associated with hib father In the latter’s brewery at the corner of Broome and Wooster streets in New York. Two years later they moved to Sheriff street where the brewery was continued. The son went to Cincinnati in 1852 and made a study of brewing. Four years later he returned to New York and entered the employ of Kress & Schaffer. He next went with the Lyon brewery and remained until it was destroyed by fire. From that time until 1861 Mr. Hauck entered the. employ of William Bertsche, who had a brewery where the Hoffman brewery now stands at Hone and Spring streets. Three years later Mr. Hauck and George Dressel formed a partnership and began brewing on the site of the present brewery at the corner of Wurts and McEntee streets. From the death of Mr. Dressel in 1884 until 1890 Mr. Hauck continued the business alone. The company was incorporated in that year. In 1867 Mr. Hauck married Miss Barbara Welker of Worms, Germany. Five children were born to then: John Hauck, Adam Hauck, Minnie Hauck, wife of Prof. C. W. Louis Stiehl of Oklahoma City; Louise Hauck, wife of John B. Kearney Mr. Hauck was a member of United German Lodge, No. 303. I. O. O. F., Franklin Lodge, No. 37, Knights of Pythias, the First German Sick and Aid Society and the Rondout Social Mannerchor. In politics Mr. Hauck was a staunch Democrat. The funeral will be held on Wednesday afternoon at 2 o’clock at his late residence, 115 Wurts street. Interment in Montrepose cemetery.

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The Hauck Brewery.

This is short history of the brewery, from Thierry’s breweriana website:

George Hauck was born in 1832 in Germany. His father, Adam Hauck, was a brewer. George Hauck came to the United Sates as a young man in 1849. He went to work in his fathers brewery in New York City. In 1852 Hauck went to Cincinnati to contiue his brewing studies, only to return to New York 4 years later. Upon his return to New York City he went to work for Kress & Schaffer. He then went to work for Lyon Brewery until it was destroyed by fire. In 1861 Hauck went to work for William Bertsche in Rondout NY. Bertsche had a brewery on the corner of Hone and Spring Streets, later the Jacob Hoffmann Brewery would be located there. By 1864 Hauck and George Dressel formed a partnership and began brewing on the Corner of Wurts and McEntees Streets. The brewery was called Geo. Dressel and Co. Lager Beer Brewery. They were soon producing 5,000 barrels of beer a year. Hauck and Dressel ran the brewery until Dressel died in 1884. That same year that the main brick brewery building was built near the corners of Wurts St and McEntee St. The bottling plant was near the corner of Hone St and McEntee St. The bottling plant had been built earlier into a hillside with a cave at the rear of the building for cooling and storage of the beer that they produced.

The cave had resulted from an unusual partnership between a brewer and a baker. William Bertsche and his partner, Martin Uhle, had dug out the cave as a result of a business venture in October of 1856. Bertsche and Uhle had entered into a contract with Abraham Crispell to construct a “tunnel” on Crispell’s property on Holmes St (now known as McEntee St). Accordind to the contract, said “tunnel” was only be used for the purpose of storing Lager Bier”. Bertsche and Uhle would pay a yearly fee of $15.00 for the privilage of storing beer in the newly constructed cave. Records showed that the fee of $15.00 was paid to Crispell for the years of 1857, 1858 and 1859.

Later, Martin Uhle, who had been a baker, became a saloon owner and sold Bertshce’s beer and the cave that they had dug together would become the property of Geroge Hauck, Bertsche’s former employee.

Hauck then ran the brewery alone until 1890, the year the brewery was incorporated as the George Hauck Brewing Company.

George’s sons, Adam and John, became company officers.

In 1892 the Brewery was producing it’s signature “Red Monogram” beer. There even was a “Red Monogram” baseball team sponsored by the Hauck Brewing Company. In 1908, advertisements appeared in the local directory for Hauck’s “Rock Cellar Brew”. It was named after the cave that the held the bottling plant. By 1912, the brewery was turning out approximately 35,000 barrels of beer a year.

On April 20th 1912, the founder, George Hauck, died at his home after a long illness. His son, Adam Hauck, assumed the Presidency upon his father’s death. John, became the Vice-President.

In 1918, prior to the passage of the 18th Amendment, better known as Prohibition, the brewery was remodeled for the manufacture of peanut oil production. It was marketed as “Salanut”, “Refined Virgin Peanut Oil”. The brewery was now known as the Hauck Food Products Corporation. On December 9th 1920, John Hauck, 62 years of age, died at his home after a long illness. In early 1922, the Hauck Food Products Corporation was sold to Bankers Underwriters Syndicate of New York. John Kearney, Adam Hauck’s brother in-law, remained Vice-President while Adam and Mary had no part in the operation of the peanut oil factory.

In 1924, a “Near Beer” license was obtained and the production of “Near Beer” lasted four years, until 1928. Revenue Agents found the beer was over the alcohol content allowed and the “Near Beer” license was revoked.

Plagued by taxes and competition, the brewery never re-opened after the repeal of prohibition in 1933. A city directory in 1934 showed the Frank Brady Brewery as the new owner. Frank Brady continued to brew “Red Monogram” beer during his brief ownership. City directories 1935-1939 listed the Peter Doelger Brewing Corp as being located at that address. Finally in 1940 the Staton Brewery Inc was listed as a “Wholesale Beverage” distributor. Shortly afterwards, the building laid empty and became a city owned property. An oil company attempted to purchase the site, but public opposition to a zoning change stopped the sale. The Hauck buildings were demolished around 1942.

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There was also a John Hauck Brewery in Ohio, but as far as I can tell they are not related. Also, George’s brother did start his own brewery in New Jersey, which was known as the Peter Hauck Brewery.

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Historic Beer Birthday: John Stanton

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Today is the birthday of John Stanton (January 16, 1832-April 23, 1917). He was born in Ireland, County Cork, but came to American as a teen. In 1866, Stanton and a partner, James Daley bought the Abraham Nash Brewery of Troy, New York, which had been founded in 1817. They renamed it the Daley & Stanton Brewery, but a few years later, in 1880, Stanton bought out Daley, renaming it the John Stanton Brewery, which remained its name until closed by prohibition. After prohibition was repealed, it reopened as The Stanton Brewery Inc., and it stayed in business until 1950, when it closed for good.

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I couldn’t find a photo of Stanton, but I suspect this isn’t supposed to be him on their label.

Here’s his obituary from the American Brewers’ Review from 1917:

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And Stanton is mentioned briefly in Upper Hudson Valley Beer, by Craig Gravina and Alan McLeod:

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Historic Beer Birthday: Frank Ibert

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Today is the birthday of Frank Ibert (January 15, 1859-January 15, 1911). He was born in Brooklyn, New York. His first brewery, founded in 1880, was the Joseph Eppig & Frank Ibert Brewery in Brooklyn. The following year, he left the brewery to his partner, allowing himself to be bought out, and founded his own brewery nearby, which he called the Frank Ebert Brewery. It opened in 1891, but was closed by prohibition in 1914. Some accounts suggest it may have opened earlier, and it does make sense that he wouldn’t have waited ten years to open another brewery.

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The Frank Ibert Brewery circa 1898-1900, although another source says it’s from 1902.

This account, from Ancestry.com accompanies one version of the photo above:

Evergreen Avenue, Linden Street and Grove Street Frank IBERT Brewing Company formed in the late 1880s. The brick building that housed the Brewery itself, would be to the left of the horses. Valentine HOFMANN was the proprietor of the HOFMANN Cafe, as seen to the right of the horses, behind the people in the photo. (Valentine HOFMANN, Frank IBERT and their children.) Frank IBERT and Valentine HOFMANN were brother-in-laws. There was a passage way between the Brewery and the Cafe. The IBERT’S who was the brewmeister’s home was at 404 Evergreen Ave, right above the HOFMANN Cafe. They lived for a time on the upper floor and the HOFMANN family below. With the death of Frank IBERT in 1920s, the Brewery was sold to a son-in-law of HOFMANNS’, Frank WINTERRATH. (He married Valentine’s oldest daughter Margaret in 1907 in St. Barbara’s RC Church) WINTERRATH tried to make a go of the Cafe changing the name to “Linden Gardens.” With prohibition around the corner it did not stay in business for long, even after a go at as a speakeasy. The building was destroyed by fire in the late 1950s, leaving an empty lot where the Cafe & home once.

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Here’s his obituary from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle:

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A foam scraper for Ibert’s P.O.B.— “Pride of Brooklyn.”

And here’s a short account from a Hofmann family genealogy site:

Valentine went into the liquor business and became the co-owner with his brother-in-law Frank IBERT.(Margaretha’s sister, Mary Grammich married Frank Ibert). The Frank IBERT Brewing Company and HOFMANN Cafe. It was located on the corner of Evergreen,Linden and Grove, in Brooklyn. The top 2 floors were apartments. After Prohibition went into effect the brewery no longer produced beer but it did continue in the food end, becoming “The Linden Gardens” The building remained in the family until the 1950’s when it was destroyed by fire.

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In 1902, Frank also patented a beer cooler.

Historic Beer Birthday: John Kress

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Today is the birthday of John Kress (January 7, 1825-April 16, 1877). He was born in Hessen, which today is part of Germany. He trained as both a cooper and a brewer, before emigrating to New York in 1850. He worked at the Jacob Ahles Brewery (on 207-224 East 54th, between 2nd & 3rd) for three years, when he and a partner bought it, renaming it the John Kress & Christian Schaefer Brewery. After ten years it became the John Kress Brewery and later the John Kress Brewing Co., though no word what happened to Schaefer. It closed in 1911. This was the only picture of John Kress I could find.

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John Kress also produced bottled beer, and the bottles are now very collectible. Some of the beers they produced included Extra Lager Bier, Karthauser Beer, La Paloma, Lager Beer, and Wiener Beer, all brewed at least between 1884 and 1904.

I was also able to find some of the Preferred Stock in the brewery.

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And this was a promotional mug, apparently.

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But by far most of the information I could find on John Kress was this biography from the

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Historic Beer Birthday: Gottfried Piel

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Today is the birthday of Gottfried Piel (December 31, 1852-May 1, 1935) who along with his brothers Michael and Wilhelm Piel founded Piel Bros. Beer in New York, more commonly known as Piels Beer in 1883. Gottfried Piel was more on the business side among his brothers, whereas his older brother Michael was the brewer.

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Here’s a short biography of Piel from a website highlighting his highly collectible personal corkscrew:

Gottfried Piel was the founder of the Piel Brothers Brewing Company of Brooklyn, New York. Piel left his home in Dusseldorf, Germany in 1882 at the age of 29 to emigrate to the United States. In 1883 he convinced his brothers Michael and Wilhelm to join him in the purchase of the Landzer Brewery.

Piel’s first year beer production was 850 barrels and in ensuing years, Piel Bros. continue to grow rapidly. It became a Brooklyn tradition and, although the brewery closed after some rough years in the 1960s and 1970s, the brand name is still in use. The Piel name was purchased by the Schaefer Brewing Company in 1973.

Gottfried Piel died in 1935 and his corkscrew was left to his daughter Sophia, widow of Pinckney and wife of Peter William Dawson. The corkscrew passed to Peter William Dawson upon the death of Sophia. In 1980 Dawson died and the corkscrew passed to his nephew Jim Lowry. Jim Lowry sold the corkscrew to Don Bull.

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This is a description of Gottfried from Beer of Broadway Fame: The Piel Family and Their Brooklyn Brewery by Alfred W. McCoy:

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And here’s a biography of his brother Michael from the Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited to keep the portions where Gottfried is mentioned:

PIEL, Michael, brewer, b. in Stoffeln, Düsseldorf am Rhein, Germany, 29 March, 1849; d. at Lake Parlin, Me., 12 June, 1915, son of Heinrich Hubert and Gertrud (Gispé) Piel. He was descended from an old Rhenish stock of farmers of singular attachment, whose members successively aimed to expand their patrimony of tillable lands. To the original and extensive Stoffeln Farm his father and uncles added the great Mörsenbroich-Düsseldorf tillages, which now border the residential section of the Lower Rhenish financial capitol. Michael was born in an environment of industry, thrift, and enterprise. His early youth was devoted to the farm at Mörsenbroich-Düsseldorf. At the age of eighteen, he began his military service in the Kaiser Alexander II Regiment of the Imperial Guards at Berlin. The Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71 broke out just as he had completed this duty. As he was not, therefore, subject to the call of the Fatherland, his family sought to hold him back. He promptly volunteered, however, and served throughout the war, participating with his regiment in several engagements, the battle of Gravelotte and the siege of Paris. The impressions on the country boy of his years of service at Berlin, which had already begun to modernize its industries, lingered and served constantly to stimulate his natural gifts of invention. While for several years after the war, true to the family tradition, he worked at Mörsenbroich with his elder brother, he continually sought expression for his native talents. The arduous discipline of farm-labor from sun-up to sun-down, — valuable preparation though it was for the early trials of his later life career — could not check his inventive spirit. Gradually, making the most of his opportunities on the farm, his successes won him away from the family calling. In the creation of new rose-cultures and, particularly, in the perfection of a new and highly productive breed of bees, for both of which, after but two years of experimentation, he was voted the government’s highest awards, he found the encouragement he needed for the growing determination to carve out his own future. It was, however, his invention of a centrifuge for the extraction of honey, awarded special governmental recognition and immediately adopted into general use, that decided him. As the protégé of a machine manufacturer, he visited the industrial centers of the progressive Rhineland and soon chose the ancient German industry of brewing as the one offering the best opportunity for his talent of applying machinery to natural processes. He found a fertile field. The new science of modern refrigeration had just come into practice, and the suggestions which it offered in his chosen field fascinated him. He began his novitiate in the old-style subterranean cellars at the breweries of Dortmund, Westphalia. In 1883, his apprenticeship ended, he welcomed the call of a younger brother, Gottfried, then already established as an export merchant in New York, to found with him in East New York, at its present site, a typically German brewery, to be conceived on modern and scientific principles. The brothers, as a partnership, secured title to a small old-style brewing plant, then in disuse, and found the problem to convert it to newer ideas a fight against tremendous odds. At the outset, Michael was its brewer, superintendent, and engineer, his accumulated experience fitting him admirably for the multiplicity of his duties. In the early days of the converted plant, Michael found that his hours were from four o’clock in the morning till ten at night. At last, in 1888, the ability of his brother as the financial head of the firm and the excellence of his own products assured success and the long struggle was won. The country which had offered him his opportunity for success he gladly and promptly adopted as his own, being admitted to citizenship in 1888. The enterprise prospered and the partnership became a corporation in 1898, with an established business of national reputation.

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Historic Beer Birthday: Joseph Liebmann

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Today is the birthday of Joseph Liebmann (December 20, 1832-March 26, 1913). He was born in Schmiedelfeld, Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany. His father owned the Castle Schmiedelfeld, but when Joseph was seven, the family moved to Ludwigsburg and operated the Zum Stern Inn there, which also included a brewery. For political reasons, some of the family moved to America around 1850 to build a home, and the rest followed in 1854. Initially he ran the old Maasche Brewery, but later built a new brewery in Bushwick. Originally, it was called the Samuel Liebmann Brewery, but when his sons joined the brewery, it was called the S. Liebmann’s Sons Brewery. When Joseph’s father died in 1872, Joseph and his brothers took over the family brewery, and Henry became brewmaster, while Joseph “was chiefly responsible for financial matters,” though for a time was also president of the family brewery. After prohibition ended, the brothers’ six sons re-opened the brewery as the simpler Liebmann Breweries, but in 1964 they changed the name again to Rheingold Breweries, after their most popular beer. The brewery closed in 1976.

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Here’s his obituary from the New York Times:

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This is from “The Originators of Rheingold Beer: From Ludwigsburg to Brooklyn – A Dynasty of German-Jewish Brewers,” by Rolf Hofmann, originally published in Aufbau, June 21, 2001:

New Yorkers over the age of fifty will remember the brand name Rheingold Beer and the company’s brilliant publicity stunt in which a bevy of attractive young women competed annually for the privilege of being elected that year’s Miss Rheingold and appearing in ads on billboards and in the subways throughout the New York area.

The beer’s evocative name with its allusion to Germany’s great river, was the culmination of a German-Jewish family enterprise that had its beginnings in 1840 in the town of Ludwigsburg, north of Stuttgart, in what was then the Kingdom of Württemberg. One Samuel Liebmann, a member of a prominent Jewish family in the region, settled there and bought the inn and brewery “Zum Stern.” A liberal and staunch supporter of Republican ideals, Liebmann encouraged other like-minded citizens, including some soldiers from the garrison, to meet in his hospitable surroundings. The ideas fomented there contributed to the local revolution of 1848. It brought the opprobrium of the King down upon Liebmann’s enterprise, and “Zum Stern” was declared off limits to the soldiers. Soon thereafter, in 1850, Samuel Liebmann emigrated to the U.S.

The family settled in Brooklyn and Samuel, together with his three sons, Joseph, Henry, and Charles, opened a brewery once again at the corner of Forest and Bremen Streets. With the responsibilities divided among the family – Henry became the brewing expert, Charles. the engineer and architect, Joseph, finance manager – the company was already flourishing by the time of Samuel’s death in 1872. Success also led to a concern for the company’s Brooklyn surroundings, and the Liebmanns became involved in local welfare – focusing on housing and drainage systems.

Each of the three brothers had two sons, and when the older Liebmanns retired in 1903, the six members of the third generation took over. Other members of the family also contributed to the gradual expansion of the company. In 1895 Sadie Liebmann (Joseph’s daughter), married Samuel Simon Steiner, a trader in high quality hop, an essential ingredient for good beer. Steiner’s father had begun merchandising hop in Laupheim in 1845 and still today, S.S. Steiner, with its headquarters in New York, is one of the leading hop merchants. Under these fortuitous family circumstances, beer production grew constantly. In the early years, the brewery had produced 1000 barrels per year, by 1914 its output stood at 700,000 barrels.

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The Liebmann family.

Unfortunately, political developments in the U.S. between 1914 and 1933 were extremely disadvantageous for the Liebmann brewery. The resentment against Germany and anything German during World War I led to an informal boycott of German beers. Following close upon the lean wartime years, was the implementation of Prohibition in 1920 forbidding the manufacturing and trading of alcohol. The Liebmann enterprise managed to survive by producing lemonade and a product they called “Near Beer.”

With the reinstatement of legal alcohol production under President Roosevelt in 1933, opportunities for the brewery opened up, abetted by the anti-Semitic policies of Hitler’s Germany. The pressures on Jewish businessmen there, brought Dr. Hermann Schülein, general manager of the world-renowned LšwenbrŠu brewery, to America. Schulein’s father, Joseph, had acquired two of Munich’s leading breweries at the end of the nineteenth century–Union and Münchner Kindl–and his son had managed the 1920 merger with Löwenbrau. Arriving in New York with this experience behind him, Hermann Schülein became one of the top managers of the Liebmann brewery and was instrumental in its spectacular growth after World War II.

Working with Philip Liebmann (great-grandson of Samuel), Schülein developed a dry lager beer with a European character to be marketed under the brand name “Rheingold.” According to company legend, the name was created in 1883 at a brewery dinner following a performance at the Metropolitan Opera. When the conductor took up his glass, he was so taken with the shade of the beer, that he declared it to be the color of “Rheingold.” For New Yorkers, however, the name Rheingold did not bring to mind the Nibelungen fables, but the pretty young ladies who participated in Schülein’s most brilliant marketing strategy – the selection of each year’s Miss Rheingold by the beer-drinking public of greater New York

At the height of the campaign’s success in the 1950’s and 60’s, the Liebmann Brewery had an output of beer ten times that of Löwenbrau at the same time in Munich.

For thirty years, Rheingold Beer reigned supreme in the New York area, but by 1976, as a local brewery, it could no longer compete with nationwide companies such as Anheuser & Busch, Miller, and Schlitz, and its doors were closed. Only recently, using the same brewmaster, Rheingold is once again being sold in the tri-state area.

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Here’s an “Origin of Liebmann Brewery” posted by a relative on Ancestry.com:

On May 12 1833 (Sulzbach-Laufen Archive) Samuel and his older brother Heinrich bought a castle/inn Schmiedelfeld, Sulzbach-Laufen, Schwaebisch Hall District that dated from 1739. They renovated the place and created a prosperous farm/estate and in 1837 began a brewery in the cellar. In 1840, he moved to Ludwigsburg, near Stuttgart and purchased the gasthaus [guest house or inn] “Zum Stern” on Seestrasse 9 (later Zum Rebstock) which included a brewery. (source: Translation extract from Dr. Joacim Hahn’s book, History of the Jewish Community of Ludwigsburg)

After supporting a movement to oust King William I of Wurttemberg, and sensing the wavering tolerance of Jewish businessmen, Samuel sent his eldest son Joseph to the US in 1854 to scout out a location to establish a brewery.

Samuel retired in 1868 and turned the family business over to his sons Joseph, Charles, and Henry under the name S. Liebmann’s Sons Brewery.

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