Today would have been the 61st birthday of Publican extraordinaire Ray Deter, who passed away tragically seven summers ago after he was struck by a car while riding his bicycle in New York City. Ray was the owner of the d.b.a. beer bars in New York City (Manhattan and Brooklyn) and also New Orleans. He is most definitely missed by those of us who knew him. Please join me in raising a toast today to the memory of Ray Deter. Happy birthday Ray.
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.
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.
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.
Today is the birthday of John C. Land (March 16, 1853-January 15, 1943). He was born in Grand Island, New York, but somehow made his way to Wisconsin. There he apparently married Barbara Weber, the daughter of Stephen Weber, who owned the Weber Brewery in Waukesha, Wisconsin. On Thanksgiving Day in 1883, Stephen Weber gave his son William A. Weber and his son-in-law John Land ownership of the Weber Brewery. They renamed it the Weber & Land Brewery, and also traded under the name Bethseda Brewery. Land’s name was later removed it was more often known as the Weber Brewing Co., though the Bethseda named continued as well. It survived prohibition, and was known then as the Weber Waukesha Brewing Co. until closing for good in 1958.
How long Land was involved in the business is unknown, and I could not find a specific biographical information beyond the tidbits I uncovered, and of course no photographs of him either. Most of what I did find was mentioned in the context of the Weber family and the brewery.
This account of the Weber brewery is from “Breweries of Wisconsin,” by Jerold W. Apps;
Today is the 69th birthday of Steve Hindy, one of the co-founders of Brooklyn Brewery, and the man responsible for running things day-to-day. Hindy was a journalist for many years before opening the brewery, reporting from numerous war-torn spots around the globe, and as a result has a different perspective on the world that makes him a fascinating person to share a beer with. If you haven’t already, check out his book Beer School, written with Brooklyn Brewery business partner Tom Potter, and also his newer book The Craft Beer Revolution: How a Band of Microbrewers Is Transforming the World’s Favorite Drink. He’s also very active with the Brewers Association and in his local community,too, making it easier for small brewers that follow him. Join me in wishing Steve a very happy birthday.
Just before taking the stage during GABF 2007, from left, Glenn Payne (of Meantime Brewing), Charlie Papazian (of the Brewers Association), Mark Dorber (formerly of the White Horse on Parson’s Green but now at the Anchor Pub), Garrett Oliver, and Steve Hindy (both from Brooklyn Brewing), Dave Alexander (from the Brickskeller), and Tom Dalldorf (from the Celebrator Beer News).
Steve, Kim Jordan (New Belgium), Dave Keene (The Toronado in SF), Eddie Friedland (former owner of Philadelphia’s Friedland Distributing) and Vinnie Cilurzo (Russian River) in Austin, Texas for the 2007 Craft Brewers Conference.
Today is the birthday of George Ehret Ruppert (March 15, 1875-November 5, 1948). He was the grandson of Jacob Ruppert Sr. and the brother of Jacob Ruppert Jr.. They both ran the family brewery, although his brother was the one in the spotlight and devoted more of his time to their ownership of the New York Yankees. George was more focused on the brewery business, and even when his brother died, appointed the GM to run the Yankees and continued to manage the Ruppert brewery.
George Ehret Ruppert, 3rd generation American brewer, was the son of Jacob & Anna Gillig-Ruppert and the grandson of Franz & Wilhelmina Zindel-Ruppert. His Bavarian-born grandparents established New York’s Turtle Bay Brewery and his father founded the Jacob Ruppert Brewing Co. His famous brother, Congressman Col. Jacob Ruppert Jr., was founder, president & owner of the NY Yankees. George graduated Columbia Law School in 1899 whereupon he quickly joined his father and brother at the brewery. While working in the family business he attended the Wallerstein Brewing Academy. He became brewery secretary in 1910, VP in 1915 and executive secretary & director in 1921. In 1939 he succeeded his brother as president and in 1945 became CEO. George was active in many Catholic charities and once had an audience with Pope Pius XI in 1936. The paradox of George Ruppert’s life was that the more important he became the further he slipped into the media background. As his elder brother, Jacob Jr., devoted more of his time to his NY Yankee baseball team, the burden of directing the Ruppert Brewery became more George’s personal responsibility. Yet George seemed to prefer to labor in obscurity. At his brother’s death in 1939, George could have obtained for himself the headlines that often carried the name of his brother. Yet, he declined the post in favor of Gen. Mgr. Ed Barrow, explaining that he was doing so in the best interests of the Yankees and the brewery. George married twice: Emma Josephine Schwartz (1877-1919) and Pearl B. Jackson (1889-1957).
And here’s his obituary, from The Sporting News:
Today is the birthday of Anthony J. McGowan (March 14, 1869-1932). McGowan was born in Ireland but came to America as a teenager, settling in Buffalo. New York, where he worked for and then owned his own tavern. He married Delia Maloney, and they together they had ten children, four sons and six daughters.
Part of his story is told in Rushing the Growler: A History of Brewing and Drinking in Buffalo, by Stepehen R. Powell. In Chapter III: Was Buffalo the Saloon Capitol of the World?, there’s this:
The life history of A.J. McGowan
Born on the 14th of March- 1869- of Irish parents, at a little town called Grey Grove in the parish of Kilmihil County Clare Ireland.
Immigrated from that dear little country at the age of sixteen years and one month. and set sail for my adopted country on the good ship named the City of Chicago on the 19th day of May-1886-arrived at the harbor of NY several days later and was taken into old Castle Garden and remained there for a few hours until a friend called and took me out of there, and what a relief. He was in the liquor business in Brooklyn and naturally the first thing he done was take me in to a restaurant for a good dinner on the N. end of the Brooklyn Bridge… So we arrived at his place of business and stayed there for about one hour… he took me back to the saloon with him. He kept introducing me to all his customers as they came in… Near here (Buffalo) is where life started after a few days in NY I decided to make the trip to Buffalo, the grandest city in the world and after a few days I arrived at the old Erie Rail Road at Exchange and Michigan St. and was met at the station by a policeman named John Pyne who was known by all the tuff characters from Buffalo to San Francisco and he took me to my brothers home at Fulton and Chicago St. and after 2 weeks rest I applied for a job to Mr. Cunningham as a scooper better known now as grain forwarding.
I appealed to Mr. Kennedy for a job who at that time had charge of all the freight coming into the Port of Buffalo. Worked at that line for a few months and things started to get quiet on the water front and one afternoon we were sitting on a tow board at the end of the in Bound freight house and in a general conversation he asked me how I’d like a job bartending. I said anything would be better than what we were doing at the present time. With the result I started the next morning tending bar at-19-Main St. which at that time was one of the most prominent parts of Buffalo. [end of excerpt]
Later, Anthony J. McGowan was to become the manager of James Kennedy’s Seabreaze Hotel on “The Island” off the foot of Main St. In 1897, he opened his own tavern at 206 Elk Street near the corner of Smith St. Mr. McGowan quickly became involved in local politics, becoming Democratic General Committeeman in the First Ward shortly after his arrival Buffalo. His rise into local politics continued in 1908, when he was appointed to the Department of Markets by then Mayor J.N. Adam and served as assistant superintendent in charge of the Elk Street market for 31 years. He later worked in the same capacity at the Black Rock Market after the Elk St. market closed in 1939. McGowan’s life in Buffalo shows us a personal side of one of Buffalo’s most diverse industries.”
McGowan, who was presumably a prominent member of Buffalo society, at least in Irish quarters, marched in the city’s St. Patrick’s Day parades. In this photo, from the 1915 parade, he’s marked as #1. There’s more about the parade at the Buffalo News.
While unrelated, a book that was recommended to me by beer writer Michael Jackson was The Last Fine Time, by Verlyn Klinkenborg. It’s a fictional account of a family in the restaurant and bar business over several generations in Buffalo, New York.
Today is the birthday of Charles Joseph Liebmann (March 13, 1877-September 15, 1957). He was born in New York. He was the son of Henry Liebmann. His grandfather owned the Castle Schmiedelfeld, in Baden-Wuerttemberg, Germany, but when his father was young, 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 Henry Liebmann 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 Charles’ grandfather died in 1872, his sons took over the family brewery, and Charles’ father Henry became brewmaster. After prohibition ended, the brothers’ six sons, including Charles, 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.
This is from Schlegel’s German-American Families in the United States:
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.
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.
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.
Today is the birthday of John Taylor (March 13, 1790-September 13, 1863). He was born in England, but came to American with his family when he was just three years old, settling eventually in Albany, New York. He initially went into the candle-making business with his father, but in 1822 switched to brewing and opened the Lancelot Fiddler Brewery, renaming the John Taylor Brewery a few years later, and adding “and Sons” around 1844, before closing for good in 1905.
Here’s a short biography from the History of the county of Albany, N. Y., published in 1886:
John Taylor, Mayor 1848-49, was born in Durham, England, March 1790 and died in Albany September 31, 1863. He migrated to Brooklyn with his father when a mere infant, and to Albany in 1793. He engaged in the business of a tallow-chandler with his father when he was seventeen years old, and before he was twenty-three he had been burned out four times. Then his fortunes changed. He began to make money about 1813 as an army contractor. In 1822 he became a brewer, and from this business realized an ample fortune. He had branches in Boston and New York later, conducted by his sons. He gave freely of his wealth to the poor, and to all objects that promised to benefit the city. He became a great reader, and accumulated a larger larger and more valuable than any in the city in his time. He gained great popularity and wealth at the same time by a steady course of industry, enterprise, integrity, philanthropy and virtue. Taylor’s Brewery is still occupied  at 133 Broadway.
Albany’s 150 years of Dutch family breweries established the city as a well-known brewing center. At this time, the first advertisements for “Albany Ale” began to appear as a euphemistic term for the best beer—of any kind—brewed in Albany. The completion of the Erie Canal in 1825 and an Albany brewer named John Taylor would soon change that perception.
John Taylor & Sons’ Taylor opened his first brewery in the early 1820s and second larger one in 1831. A savvy businessman, Taylor saw the opportunity to exploit New York’s new water highway. Albany’s access to the Hudson River and position at the terminus of the Erie Canal afforded it a monopoly on the distribution of beer. Raw materials for beer making could be brought east to Albany via the Canal, and Taylor, in-turn could export his beer south, down the Hudson River to the port of New York. From there the beer could shipped anywhere in the world. By the 1850s Taylor had built the largest brewery in the country in Albany, capable of producing 200,000 barrels of beer a year. Taylor began advertising a double X ale, which would become his flagship beer, that he dubbed “Imperial Albany XX Ale.” As the demand for this double X strength ale grew, so did the number of breweries in the city—seventeen by the mid-1860s—almost all of them producing some kind of XX strength Albany Ale. No longer was Albany Ale a euphemism; it had become a specific thing.
And Craig, for Session 56, wrote Thanks to John Taylor – the Original American Big Boy, which goes into more detail.
Today is the birthday of Jacob Ruppert, Sr. (March 4, 1842-May 25, 1915). Although his son Jacob Ruppert, Jr. was more well-known, in politics and in baseball, his father made that possible when he founded the Jacob Ruppert Brewing Company in 1867.
Here’s a biography from Find a Grave:
Founder of the Jacob Ruppert Brewing Company. Jacob Ruppert, Sr. was one of the first and most noted brewers in the US. He was born in NYC and was a son of Franz and Wilhelmina Zindel-Ruppert of Bavaria. Under he expert guidance of his father, Jacob learned the brewing trade thoroughly. At ten he began working for his father’s Turtle Bay Brewery in Midtown Manhattan which was then only two years old. Work was hard for him and his father, as machinery was scarce during the Civil War. In 1867 he opened the Jacob Ruppert Brewing Co. on Manhattan’s then-forested Upper East Side. With a 50 foot square brick building, he opened what was to be the first of many breweries. The Jacob Ruppert Brewery steadily became one of the largest and best-equipped breweries in the world. He eventually broadened his entrepreneurial interests to include real estate which became the biggest money maker for the Rupperts helping them to survive (along with Jacob Jr’s interest in baseball) the coming war, Prohibition and Great Depression. Jacob Jr. eventually took over the brewing business and brought it and the Ruppert name to greater fame and glory. Jacob Ruppert, Sr. was a forceful, single-purposed man with a great capacity for work. His charities were numerous but unostentatious.He married Anna Gillig, daughter of brewer George Gillig, and had six children: Cornelia, Jacob, Frank, Anna, George and Amanda, all interred with their father in our family’s mausoleum. Jacob died of cirrhosis at the age of 74, an illness brought on by the years of testing the very brew he sold.
Today is the birthday of Leonhard Eppig (March 4, 1839-April 9, 1893). He was born in Großwallstadt, Bavaria, and at age fifteen, in 1854, he came to New York on the S.S. Rotterdam and settled in Brooklyn. He learned to brew working for a Brooklyn brewer, Michael Seitz. In 1866, he and a partner formed the Hubert Fischer & Leonhard Eppig Brewery. Ten years later, he bought out his partner and it became simply the Leonard Eppig Brewing Co., but traded under the name Germania Brewery. From what I can tell Eppig’s name was spelled Leonhard, but it was often anglicized to Leonard, even on advertising. When Eppig died, his sons continued running the brewery until it was closed down by prohibition in 1920. They reopened the brewery after repeal, but in 1935 sold it to George Ehret Brewery.
Here’s a short biography from Find-a-Grave:
Leonhard was born in Bavaria, Germany. He married Margarehta about 1854 and had at least 10 children, Anna, Euginia, John, Henry, Franz, Barbara, Theresa, Mary, Margaret and Regina, some of which are entombed in his mausoleum. Leonhard owned the Eppig Germania Brewery Company, which was located in Brooklyn.
And here’s his obituary from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle:
This lengthy story is from “A History of Long Island: From Its Earliest Settlement to the Present Time, Volume 3,” by Peter Ross and William Smith Pelletreau, published in 1905:
Busts of Eppig and his wife on the family mausoleum.
Last year, a descendant of the Eppig family opened a craft brewery in San Diego, which they named Eppig Brewing, and included this infographic in their website: