Beer In Ads #2166: Viscountess Furness For Pabst

Tuesday’s ad is for Pabst Blue Ribbon, from 1948. In the later 1940s, Pabst embarked on a series of ads with celebrity endorsements, photographing star actors, athletes, musicians and other famous people in their homes, enjoying Pabst Blue Ribbon beer. This one features Thelma Furness, Viscountess Furness. She “was a mistress of King Edward VIII while he was still the Prince of Wales; she preceded Wallis Simpson (for whose sake Edward abdicated and became the Duke of Windsor) in his affections.

During most of her relationship with the Prince, she was married to a British nobleman, Marmaduke Furness, 1st Viscount Furness. That marriage ended the year before her relationship with the Prince ended.

Her first name was pronounced in Spanish fashion as “TEL-ma.” Her identical twin sister was Gloria Morgan Vanderbilt who was married to Reginald Vanderbilt and had a daughter, Gloria Vanderbilt.”

In the ad, Thelma, I mean the Viscountess, is being served in “the Drawing Room of her Beverly Hills Home.” Typical of this series of ads, there’s a silver tray with two bottles of beer and two glasses. Although I think this is the only time the glasses look like they’re made of cut crystal. That can’t be a coincidence.


Historic Beer Birthday: Frantz Brogniez

houston-ice grand-prize
Today is the birthday of Frantz Brogniez (October 26, 1860-October 9, 1935). He was born in Hainaut, Belgium. His father was also a brewmaster and a 25 year member of the Belgian senate in Brussels. He also trained as a brewer at Louvain, and at his first brewing job in Lichterveld in 1882, he created Belgium’s first “blond” beer. Moving to the United States in 1896, he founded the The Belgian Brewery in Detroit Michigan, which was later renamed the Tivoli Brewery. He then moved to Terre Haute, Indiana to found the Peoples Brewery there. Moving to Houston in 1912, he became the brewmaster of the Houston Ice and Brewing Co. Shortly thereafter, at the International Exposition at Ghent, Belgium one of the beers he created in Houston, Southern Select, won the Grand Prize (out of 4,096 beers entered). After that, the brewery became the south’s biggest brewery, but prohibition put Brogniez out of a job. He was also a violin player and co-founded the Houston Symphony. During prohibition, he developed a honey-based ice cream called “Honey Boy Ice Cream,” and also did some brewing in Juarez, Mexico. After prohibition ended, Howard Hughes (yes, that one) persuaded Brogniez to be the brewmaster of his new Gulf Brewing Company in Houston, and he brought his recipe for Southern Select with him, and renamed it “Grand Prize Beer.” He ran Hughes’ brewery until he died in 1935, and afterwards his son Frank took his place at Gulf Brewing. Gulf was acquired by Hamm’s in 1953.


Here’s a biography from Find-a-Grave:

Frantz H. Brogniez was born at the family estate of Redemont, Haine – St. Paul, Belgium on October 26, 1860. He was an accomplished musician, chemist and Brewmaster. He married three times. Frantz first married Cornelie van der Hulst who bore him three children, two girls and a boy, I don’t know the girl’s names, the boy was Willie who died at a young age. They separated for unknown reasons. He then met Alida Mathilde Grymonprez, fell in love and in 1896 moved to the US for a fresh start. Alida bore him two children. They were Frantz (Frank) Philippe and Alida Mathilde. Alida fell sick and passed in 1903. Agreeing to Alida’s dying wishes, Frantz married Alida’s sister Alice Albertine Grymonprez who bore him two sons. They were Fernand Jules and Raymond Hector. Alice was 26 years his junior. Both Alida and Alice are interred here at Forest Park Cemetery with Frantz. Frantz passed away on October 11th 1935, just shy of 75 years, 2 years after Prohibition ended.

Some of Frantz’s accomplishments include winning the world’s Grand Prize for beer while Brewmaster at Houston Ice and Brewing’s Magnolia Brewery in 1913. Also in 1913, Frantz along with Miss Ima Hogg and Mrs. E. B. Parker formed the Houston Symphony. Lastly, Frantz was the original Brewmaster for Howard Hughes’ Gulf Brewery best known for its Grand Prize Beer.


And here’s another short one from Houston Past:

Frantz Brogniez was the Belgian-born brewmaster who turned the Houston Ice and Brewing Company into the largest brewing company south of Milwaukee, and later operated Howard Hughes’ Houston-based Gulf Brewing Company. In 1913, while he was serving as brewmaster at Houston Ice and Brewing, Brogniez beat out 4,096 other brewers around the world to win the Grand Prize at the International Congress ofBrewers. The beer for which was honored was Houston Ice and Brewing’s most popular, Southern Select. During Prohibition, Brogniez moved to El Paso and worked with brewing interests in Juarez. At the end of Prohibition, Hughes coaxed Brogniez back to Houston to oversee the operations of Hughes’ Gulf Brewing Company, which produced Grand Prize beer. Brogniez’ son, Frank, operated the brewery after his father’s death.

Frantz and his son Frank examining the brewery.

Frantz was born October 26, 1860, at Haine-Saint Paul, in Hainaut, Belgium. His father was a brewmaster and a 25 year member of the Belgian senate in Brussels.

Frantz was one of those rare very gifted and remarkably knowledgeable men, accomplished in bio-chemistry, engineering, music, and well versed in painting, sculpture and poetry. In 1881, Brogniez entered the University of Louvain and enrolled in “Special Sciences,” including engineering and biochemistry. He continued his studies at the Louis Pasteur Institute in France.

In 1882, Brogniez went to Lichterveld to work in a brewery. While there, he developed the first “blond” beer in Belgium.

He moved to Detroit Michigan in 1896 and established The Belgian Brewery. It was quickly renamed the Tivoli Brewery after he took on some investors. He befriended Henry Ford and often went riding with him. Frantz never learned how to drive.

He left Detroit in 1904 and moved to Terra Haute Indiana where he established the Peoples Brewery and supervised its design and construction. It grew to one of the largest in the nation at the time.

In 1912 he moved to Houston for the warmer climate for his chronically ill wife and became the brewmaster for Houston Ice and Brewing’s Magnolia Brewery. A year later they learned of the International Exposition at Ghent Belgium. The Exposition was held every couple of years and was a competition where beer from all over the world was put through a battery of tests. Frantz had some beer grabbed off the line and sent it with a friend that was traveling to Belgium. This particular year 4,096 beers were entered. Out of all these beers, Southern Select was the last one standing with 3 tests still to go. It won the Grand Prize. HI&B became the largest brewing company in the south. Frantz remained with HI&B until Prohibition ended his job.

Also in 1913, Frantz, Mrs. E. B. Parker and Miss Ima Hogg established the Houston Symphony. By this time he was a Mason and an Elk.

While WWI was going on around 1918, sugar was in short supply so Frantz was asked if he could develop a recipe for ice cream using something other than sugar for the sweetener. He developed what became Honey Boy Ice Cream made with honey. It was fairly popular. When WWI ended, the rights were sold to Reddig Ice. Honey Boy disappeared.

During Prohibition Frantz moved to El Paso Texas and brewed beer at Cerveseria Juarez in Juarez, Mexico. Some of these beers were award winners as well.

When it looked as if Prohibition was going to end in 1933, Frantz moved back to Houston where HI&B was trying to get back into the brewing business. It became obvious that HI&B had big plans and not much money. At the same time, Howard Hughes wanted to get into the brewing business thinking it would provide much needed jobs. Mr. Hughes enticed Frantz away from HI&B and formed Gulf Brewing. With little modification to an existing building they quickly installed a state of the art brewing facility of Frantz’s design. Grand Prize beer became a reality. It was named for the Grand Prize that Southern Select won. It was the same recipe as Southern Select. Grand Prize grew to be one of the south’s most popular beers.

Two years later at the age of 75, Frantz passed away in the arms of his son Frank with his family present.


Here’s a basic history of the Houston Ice and Brewing Co., which was also known as the Magnolia Brewery, from Houston Past:

The Magnolia Ballroom building on the Franklin Street side of Market Square (715 Franklin) was built in 1912, on the foundation of an older building (the Franklin Building), and once housed the taproom and executive offices for the Houston Ice and Brewing Co.’s Magnolia Brewery. The building was the first in Houston to have refrigerator-style air conditioning. In 2006, it became the first commercial building in Houston to receive the Houston Protected Landmark designation.

By 1915, the Houston Ice and Brewing Company encompassed more than 10 buildings on more than 20 acres located on both sides of Buffalo Bayou. In fact, the brewery even spanned the bayou for some period of time – the Louisiana Street bridge now crosses the bayou at the same location. To provide easier access across the bayou, the brewery built a 250-foot wood and concrete bridge stretching from the Franklin Street bridge toward the Milam Street bridge.


The Magnolia Brewery produced a number of signature brands of beer, including (it is reported) Magnolia, Richelieu, Hiawatha, Grand Prize, and Southern Select (the latter being the most famous). In 1913, brewmaster Frantz Brogniez was awarded Grand Prize at the last International Conference of Breweries for his Southern Select beer – beating out 4,096 competing brewers from around the world. In 1919, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the labeling on one of the Houston Ice and Brewing Company’s brands did not infringe upon a Schlitz trademark. (Having noted that the similarities in the two bottles were limited to their content and brown labels, the Court stated: “If there were deception it seems to us that it would arise from beer and brown color and that it could not be said that the configuration appreciably helped.”)


The company’s decline began during Prohibition, when the Houston Ice and Brewing Company was forced to rely solely on its ice sales. Many of the brewery’s structures were then destroyed in the historic 1935 flood, which was later blamed on the Magnolia Brewery bridge. The brewery struggled to survive, but closed in 1950.

The Magnolia Ballroom is just one of two Houston Ice and Brewing Company buildings that remains standing. In 1969, a high-end restaurant called the Bismark was located on the second floor, and the Buffalo Bayou Flea Market operated out of the basement. The basement has since housed a variety of bars and clubs. The upstairs floors are currently used for special events – much of the ornate interior of the building has been preserved, and it is decorated with historic photos.

If you want to learn more about the Magnolia Brewery, check out Buffalo Bayou, Peachridge Glass, and the Magnolia Ballroom.


And here’s some more about the Gulf Brewing Co., founded by Howard Hughes, also from Houston Past:

Howard Hughes’ connection with the Houston-based Hughes Tool Company is fairly well-known. It is less well-known that Hughes started a brewery in Houston, on the grounds of the Hughes Tool Company, called Gulf Brewing Company. Hughes opened the brewery at the end of Prohibition, and its profits helped the tool company survive the Depression.


Gulf Brewing Company produced Grand Prize beer, which for a time was the best-selling beer in Texas. It has been reported that a beer called Grand Prize beer was also produced prior to Prohibition, by the Houston Ice and Brewing Company. While that may be accurate, any confusion is likely connected to the fact that Hughes’ Grand Prize brewery was operated by the man who served as brewmaster at Houston Ice and Brewing before Prohibition. In 1913, while he was brewmaster at the Houston Ice and Brewing Company, Belgian-Houstonian Frantz Brogniez was awarded Grand Prize at the last International Conference of Breweries for his Southern Select beer – beating out 4,096 competing brewers. Brogniez left Houston during Prohibition, but Hughes convinced him to return to serve as brewmaster for the Gulf Brewing Company. Brogniez’ son operated the brewery after his father’s death.





Historic Beer Birthday: Frederick Wacker

Today is the birthday of Frederick Wacker (September 30, 1830-July 8, 1884). Wacker was born in Württemberg Germany (though some sources claim he was from Switzerland) and founded the Chicago brewery Wacker & Birk in 1857 with business partner Jacob Birk. Shortly thereafter, Birk left to start a different brewery, and the name was changed to the Frederick Wacker Brewing Co. 1865. But Birk appears to have returned to the business, because the name became the Frederick Wacker & Jacob Birk Brewing & Malting Co., and it remained some form of the two men’s names until it was closed for good by prohibition. Frederick Wacker is also remembered as the father of his more famous son, Charles Wacker, for whom Wacker Drive in Chicago was named. And while there are plenty of photos of Charles, not a one could I find of his father.

Here’s a biography of Frederick Wacker, from the History of Chicago, Volume 3, by Alfred Theodore Andreas, published in 1886.



The Chicago brewery Frederick started was originally called Seidenschwanz & Wacker, and was located on Hinsdale, between Pine and Rush streets. It was founded in 1857, but the following year it became known as Wacker & Seidenschwanz, and was on N. Franklin Street. That version lasted until 1865. Beginning that same year, its name changed once again to the Frederick Wacker Brewery, and its address was listed as 848 N. Franklin Street, presumably in the same location as its predecessor. Sixteen years later, in 1882, it relocated to 171 N. Desplaines (now Indiana Street) and it became known as the Wacker & Birk Brewing & Malting Co. This is also when Charles joined his father’s business, when he would have been 26 years old. Just before prohibition the name was shortened to the Wacker & Birk Co., although it appears to have closed by 1920.



The Dangers Of Full Beer Bottles Vs. Empties

I’ve been slowing reading through the December issue of Mental Floss, one of my favorite magazines, and their lis of the “500 Most Important People in History.” At No. 77 is Swiss scientist Stephan Bolliger. Specifically he’s a forensic pathologist at the University of Bern, “and he often appears in court to testify as an expert witness.” But what caught my attention is a question that he couldn’t answer, but then preceded to examine scientifically. The question? What will do more damage in a bar fight, a full bottle of beer, or an empty one? And by damage, they specifically looked at which could break your skull.

So he picked up bottles of his favorite beer, Feldschlösschen Original, and got to work.


You have to give him, and his team, points for taking a seemingly silly question very seriously. The results were published in the Journal of Forensic and Legal Medicine in 2009. The article was entitled Are full or empty beer bottles sturdier and does their fracture-threshold suffice to break the human skull?, and here’s the abstract:

Beer bottles are often used in physical disputes. If the bottles break, they may give rise to sharp trauma. However, if the bottles remain intact, they may cause blunt injuries. In order to investigate whether full or empty standard half-litre beer bottles are sturdier and if the necessary breaking energy surpasses the minimum fracture-threshold of the human skull, we tested the fracture properties of such beer bottles in a drop-tower. Full bottles broke at 30 J impact energy, empty bottles at 40 J. These breaking energies surpass the minimum fracture-threshold of the human neurocranium. Beer bottles may therefore fracture the human skull and therefore serve as dangerous instruments in a physical dispute.

I love that “duh” conclusion. Beer bottles may be “dangerous instruments in a physical dispute.”

But you can read or download the whole enchilada at Research Gate. Here’s some highlights:

1. Introduction

The examination of living or deceased victims of bar fights is not uncommon in routine forensic practice. These fights are commonly carried out with fists, feet, furniture, and drinking vessels. Depending on the state of the drinking vessels, namely intact or broken, different trauma forms are to be expected. According to a British group, 1 readily available one pint beer glasses such as straight-sided glasses, referred to as nonik, and tankards display a mean impact resistance of up to 1.7 Joule (J). The glass shards of shattered beer glasses may give rise to stab and cut wounds, which may sever blood vessels or other vital structures of the body. Indeed, glasses with lower impact resistance cause more injuries, 2 for which reason toughened glassware has been advocated. On the other hand, if the drinking vessels remain intact, they may serve as clubs. In Switzerland and various other countries, refillable (and therefore sturdy) beer bottles are commonly encountered in pubs and at festivals. In Switzerland, the half-litre, refillable beer bottle is, according to the authors’ own experience, a commonly utilized instrument in physical disputes. The authors have been asked at court whether hitting a human on the head with such intact bottles suffices to break a skull and whether full or empty bottles are more likely to cause such injuries. Obviously, this depends on the breaking properties of the bottle. If the bottle (full or empty) breaks at a minimal energy, no skull fracture is to be expected. On the other hand, should the stability of the bottle surpass that of the head, severe, even life-threatening injuries may be inflicted. We therefore tested the breaking energy of such beer bottles in a drop-tower as described below in order to estimate at which energies the bottles break and if this amount of energy exceeds the energy necessary to inflict serious injuries to a victim.


2. Methods and materials

Ten (six empty and four full) standard 0.5 l beer bottles (Feldschlösschen Brewery, Rheinfelden, Switzerland, Fig. 1) were examined. The full bottles weighed 898 g, the empty ones 391 g. With multislice computed tomography (Somatom Emotion 6, Siemens Medical Solutions, D-91301 Forchheim, Germany) the wall thickness was measured. The minimal thickness was 0.2 cm and maximal thickness 0.36 cm (Fig. 2). To one side of the beer bottles, a 7.5  1.2  5 cm pinewood board was fixed using a thin layer of modeling clay (Fig. 3a). The wood board served to distribute the very small impact point of the steel ball to a more realistic situation concerning the impact area of a beer bottle against a cranium. The modeling clay not only served as a fixing material, but also as a substitute for the soft tissues of the scalp. The bottles were then fixed horizontally to the bottom of a baby-bath tub with a thin layer of modeling clay (Fig. 3b). A 1 kg heavy steel ball was dropped from different heights (minimum 2 m, maximum 4 m) onto the beer bottles in a droptower specifically designed for the testing of materials (Figs. 4 and 5). Depending on the region of the beer bottle, the wall thickness, curvature, and therefore the expected stability vary. As our aim was to assess the minimum breaking threshold, we let the ball strike the weakest part of the bottle, namely the bottom third of the shaft.


In this discussion, they came up with the following equation to describe the energy in the real life situation.


“E is the energy, MN is the mass of the bottle, MT is the mass of body part moving the bottle, i.e. the arm and shoulder (which can be assumed to weigh 2.5–4 kg) and W is the work performed by the muscles.”

If one considers the masses of the bottles, namely full bottles weighing 898 g and empty ones 391 g, a full bottle will strike a target with almost 70% more energy than an empty bottle. In other words, it takes less muscle work to achieve a greater striking energy when fighting with a full bottle, even though lifting the bottle requires slightly more energy.

And here’s the full conclusion:

5. Conclusions

Empty beer bottles are sturdier than full ones. However, both full and empty bottles are theoretically capable of fracturing the human neurocranium. We therefore conclude that half-litre beer bottles may indeed present formidable weapons in a physical dispute. Prohibition of these bottles is therefore justified in situations
which involve risk of human conflicts.

However, further studies involving different bottle types and an examination regarding the extent of brain damage is needed to assess the overall danger originating from bottle-related head trauma.


The New York Times, in reporting Bollinger’s findings, has a more succinct description

Bolliger’s conclusion: Full bottles shatter at 30 joules, empties at 40, meaning both are capable of cracking open your skull. But empties are a third sturdier.

Why the difference? The beer inside a bottle is carbonated, which means it exerts pressure on the glass, making it more likely to shatter when hitting something. Its propensity to shatter makes it less sturdy — and thus a poorer weapon — than an empty one. As for the ubiquitous half-full bottle, if you hold it like a club, Bolliger says, “it tends to become an empty bottle very rapidly.”


Beer In Ads #1427: Leupin’s Chapeau’d Beer Glass

Tuesday’s ad is an another interesting ad by famed Swiss illustrator Herbert Leupin. This is maybe the sixth or seventh work by him that I’ve featured over the years. In this one a beautifully rendered glass of beer inexplicably has a boater hat with a flower in it floating above it. I don’t what the story is, but like everything Leupin did, it’s a wonderful work of beer art.


Beer In Ads #1000: Beer Glass With Green Glove

Thursday’s ad is, believe it or not, the 1,000th ad featured here, so I wanted to pick a special one to mark the occasion. The ad was created by famed Swiss poster artist Peter Birkhäuser, in 1957. It’s a beautiful illustration of a green-gloved hand holding a pilsner glass filled with a mahogany-colored beer with a tan head. Simply gorgeous.


Beer In Ads #691: Leupin’s Beer Glasses

Tuesday’s ad is another by famed Swiss illustrator Herbert Leupin. Like many of his others, I’m not sure what beer this ad is for or when it was created, though he worked mainly beginning in the late 1930s and then took up paintings around 1970. So we can safely say it was between those dates. The two glasses look like they could be separate pieces, since the blue backgrounds look just a hair different shades. But boy oh boy, Leupin sure could draw beer that looks good enough to drink.


Switzerland Beer

Today in 1291, Switzerland founded their Swiss Confederation.


Switzerland Breweries

Switzerland Brewery Guides

Other Guides

Guilds: Bierconvent International e.V; Swiss Brewers Association (Schweizer Brauerei-Verband)

National Regulatory Agency: Swiss Federal Office for Agriculture

Beverage Alcohol Labeling Requirements: Labels must include the following information: Name of product, Name and address of producer and importer (if applicable), Product designation, Alcohol content or actual alcoholic strength, Volume (in metric quantities only), Country of origin, Net content, Special instructions for use or storage (if applicable)

Drunk Driving Laws: BAC 0.05%


  • Full Name: Swiss Confederation
  • Location: Central Europe, east of France, north of Italy
  • Government Type: Formally a confederation but similar in structure to a federal republic
  • Language: German (official) 63.7%, French (official) 20.4%, Italian (official) 6.5%, Serbo-Croatian 1.5%, Albanian 1.3%, Portuguese 1.2%, Spanish 1.1%, English 1%, Romansch (official) 0.5%, other 2.8%
  • Religion(s): Roman Catholic 41.8%, Protestant 35.3%, Muslim 4.3%, Orthodox 1.8%, other Christian 0.4%, other 1%, unspecified 4.3%, none 11.1%
  • Capital: Berne (Bern)
  • Population: 7,655,628; 96th
  • Area: 41,277 sq km, 136th
  • Comparative Area: Slightly less than twice the size of New Jersey
  • National Food: Cervelat; Fondue; Rösti
  • National Symbols: Edelweiss; Alphorn; Swiss Cross
  • Affiliations: UN
  • Independence: Swiss Confederation founded, August 1, 1291


  • Alcohol Legal: Yes
  • Minimum Drinking Age: 16 for beer and wine in most cantons (though 18 in some); 18 in all cantons for spirits
  • BAC: 0.05%
  • Number of Breweries: 75


  • How to Say “Beer”: bier / bière / birra / biera, gervosa
  • How to Order a Beer: Ein Bier, bitte / Une bière, s’il vous plait / Una birra, per favore / in biera, per plaschair
  • How to Say “Cheers”: Prost / Votre Santé, Santé / Salute / Viva
  • Toasting Etiquette: When proposing a toast, wait until everyone has been served a drink (whether it is wine or mineral water) and then say, “Prost” (cheers, in German). The toast in German-speaking Switzerland is prost; in French-speaking Switzerland, it is votre santé or simply santé; in Italian-speaking Switzerland, salute. After your host has proposed a toast, look directly at him or her and respond, preferably in the local language. Then, clink glasses with everyone at the table, or at least those within your reach. Only then may you take your first sip.


Alcohol Consumption By Type:

  • Beer: 31%
  • Wine: 50%
  • Spirits: 18%
  • Other: 1%

Alcohol Consumption Per Capita (in litres):

  • Recorded: 10.56
  • Unrecorded: 0.50
  • Total: 11.06
  • Beer: 3.10

WHO Alcohol Data:

  • Per Capita Consumption: 10.4 litres
  • Alcohol Consumption Trend: Stable
  • Excise Taxes: Yes
  • Minimum Age: 16 (18 for spirits)
  • Sales Restrictions: Hours, location, specific events
  • Advertising Restrictions: Yes
  • Sponsorship/Promotional Restrictions: Yes

Patterns of Drinking Score: 1

Prohibition: None


Beer In Ads #534: Bayrische Bierhalle Kropf

Thursday’s ad is from Switzerland, specifically Zurich, and is for possibly a restaurant or beer hall. Because Bayrische Bierhalle Kropf, in German, is Bavarian Beer Hall Kropf. It’s by Herman Rudolf Seifert, though I can’t find any substantive information about him. Featuring prominently in the ad is the hammers logo with the date 1417, which is used on the Hacker-Pschorr logo so perhaps it is a beer hall that serves their beer.