Beer Birthday: Alan Moen

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Today is the birthday of Alan Moen, who used to be the editor-in-chief of the Northwest Brewing News, and also did drawings for them and others, before he retired from that gig that a few years ago. Although he still writes for American Brewer, Market Watch, The New Brewer, and other beer publications. He also owns and operates the Snowgrass Winery in Entiat, Washington. RealBeer.com still has an amusing biography of Alan from who knows how many years ago. Join me in wishing Alan a very happy birthday.

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Alan at Oktoberfest, in the Paulaner tent.

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Bill Metzger, Alan and John Norton in 2013.

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At dba in NYC.

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Alan in 1995.

[Note: all photos purloined from Facebook.]

Beer Birthday: John Bryant

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Today is my good friend John Bryant’s 50th birthday. I first met John when he was with Deschutes Brewery in Bend, Oregon. Several years ago he migrated to Odell Brewing in Fort Collins to work his magic on them, and then a few years ago he joined Dale at Oskar Blues. He then left Oskar Blues and disappeared for a time, finally re-emerging in Spokane, Washington with the newly rebranded No-Li Brewing. Join me in wishing John a very happy birthday.

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At the Brewer’s Reception before GABF in 2006. From left: Bob Pease (Brewers Association), Vinnie Cilurzo (Russian River Brewing), John and his wife Cindy, Banjo (Real Beer) and Tom McCormick (California Craft Brewers Association).

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John, with Ray Daniels of the Brewers Association, who celebrated his own birthday last week.

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John and me during a visit to the brewery a few summers ago, when we were in Colorado for my cousin’s wedding.

Historic Beer Birthday: Emil G. Sick

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Today is the birthday of Emil George Sick (June 3, 1894-November 10, 1964). Sick was the “son of Canadian brewer Fritz Sick, who built Sick’s Lethbridge Brewery.”
“He was a brewing worker and industrialist in Canada and later the US. He is well known for his involvement as owner of baseball teams and stadiums in Seattle and Vancouver, British Columbia from the 1930s until 1960.

He was chairman of the board of Sick’s Rainier Brewing Company and president of Sicks’ Brewery Enterprises, Inc., both of Seattle, and a director of three other firms, Molson’s Brewery, Ltd., and Sicks’ Breweries, Ltd., both of Canada, and the Peoples National Bank of Washington. He also was a director of the Seattle World’s Fair.”

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Here’s a short biography from Find a Grave:

Sportsman. Northwest baseball pioneer. Former owner of the Pacific Coast League’s Seattle Rainiers. He constructed Sick’s Seattle Stadium which opened in June 1938 and served as home to the Seattle Rainiers, Seattle Angels and the 1969 major league Seattle Pilots. He rose to prominence in the brewing industry along with his father Fritz, operating breweries in Vancouver, Edmonton, Regina, Great Falls, Spokane and the Rainier Brewery in Seattle. Active in civic affairs, he served as president of both the Seattle Historical Society and Seattle Chamber of Commerce. He was also instrumental in the founding of the King County Blood Bank and as chairman of the Washington State March of Dimes.

“In 1934 the Sicks made their most important transaction. It would transform Emil Sick into one of Seattle’s most significant citizens and impact the game of baseball in the state for decades. They acquired exclusive rights to sell the Rainier brand in Washington and Alaska from the Rainier Brewing Company of San Francisco.”

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And this is his obituary from the Seattle Post-Intelligencer on November 11, 1964 edition, from his Brewery Gems.

Emil G. Sick, 70, long-time Seattle civic and business leader, died early yesterday morning in Swedish Hospital of a stroke following an operation. Mr. Sick had been in failing health recently but had continued to take an active part in his numerous and varied business interests in, the United States and Canada.

He was chairman of the board of Sick’s Rainier Brewing Co. and president of Sicks’ Brewery Enterprises, Inc., both of Seattle, and a director of three other firms, Molson’s Brewery, Ltd., and Sicks’ Breweries, Ltd., both of Canada, and the Peoples National Bank of Washington. He also was a director of the Seattle World’s Fair.

Mr. Sick was equally well known for his leadership in civic activities. He led two successful $100,000 fund raising drives. One played a leading role in saving St. Mark’s Cathedral. As chairman of the non – denominational committee, he saw $100,000 collected to wipe out the church’s debts and beautify the picturesque building.

As president of the Seattle Historical Society, Mr. Sick led the drive which collected $100,000 for construction of the Museum of History and Industry.

Mr. Sick was a long-time leader of the Seattle Chamber of Commerce, serving as its president in 1941. Thirteen, years later he was elected an honorary life-time member.

Mr. Sick entered the brewery business as a shipping clerk with Lethbridge Breweries, Ltd., in Alberta, Canada, which was founded and owned by his father.

In the following years he headed numerous corporations which operated breweries in Spokane; Salem, Ore.; Missoula and Great Falls, Mont.; Vancouver, B.C.; Edmonton and Lethbridge, Alta., and Prince Albert and Regina, Sask. Some of these later were closed or sold.

In 1937, Mr. Sick purchased the Seattle Rainier baseball club and a year later built the stadium which bears his name. The club was sold in 1960. He also was past state chairman of the National Foundation for Infantile Paralysis and was a founder of the King County Central Blood Bank.

In 1949, Mr. Sick became the first Washingtonian to be named for the Disabled American’s Veteran’s award for outstanding civic leadership. And he was named Greater Seattle’s First Citizen in Sports for 1963.

Mr. Sick was born June 3, 1894, in Tacoma. He attended Western Canada College, Calgary, and Stanford University. He resided at 260-39th Ave. E.

He married Kathleen Thelma McPhee in 1918. She died in 1962, and last December he married Mrs. Martha Gardner, widow of a Seattle business leader.

Survivors include his wife, Martha; sister, Mrs. J. A. Blair, Vancouver, B.C.; three daughters, Mrs. Chandler Thomas, Guatemala City, Guatemala; Mrs. Robert Minton, Concord, Mass.; and Mrs. Winston Ingman, Mercer Island; a son, Timothy Sick, London, England; an adopted son, Alan Ferguson, Seattle, and 16 grandchildren.”

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Historic Beer Birthday: Frederick Kirschner

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Today is the birthday of Frederick Kirschner (May 21, 1856-June 29, 1897). Kirschner Frederick Kirschner, Jr., son of Frederick Kirschner and Maria Wick, joined his father-in-law, Andrew Hemrich in Seattle, Washington to work at the Hemrich brewery. He continued working for family, and later himself, in several brewing enterprises in the Seattle area throughout his life.

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According to “An Illustrated History of the State of Washington,” by Rev. H.K. Hines, published in 1893, and taken from Brewery Gems page on Frederick Kirschner:

FRED KIRSCHNER, treasurer of the Seattle Brewing & Malting Company, was born in Cincinnati, Ohio, May 21, 1856. His parents, Frederick and Mary (Weicke) Kirschner, were natives of Germany, but emigrated to America in the early ’50s and located in Cincinnati, where Mr. Kirschner followed his trade of molder in an iron foundry. In 1856 he removed to Buffalo City, Wisconsin, and engaged in the draying business up to 1888, then in farming until 1888, when he removed to Seattle, where he now resides. Our subject was educated in the schools of Wisconsin, and remaining at home followed the avocations of the farm until April, 1878, when he was married at Alma, Wisconsin, to Miss Emma Hemrich.

He then located in Alma and was connected with the brewery of Mr. Hemrich for one year, then for three years was proprietor of the Union House. He then purchased a plant and engaged in the manufacture of soda water, which enterprise be continued until 1885, when he came to Seattle and purchased an interest in the Bay View brewery, assuming the duties of secretary and continuing in such capacity until April, 1892, when, upon the incorporation of the Bay View Brewing Company, he was made secretary and treasure, and so continued up to the spring of 1893, when the Bay View consolidated with the Albert Braun Brewing Company and the Claussen-Sweeney Brewing Company, under the incorporate name of the Seattle Brewing & Malting Company, and Mr. Kirschner was elected treasurer of the new organization. He is also interested in valuable mining interests in the Cascade mountains, and now owns real estate in the city of Seattle.

Mr. and Mrs. Kirschner have three children: William, Andrew and Emily. Socially, Mr. Kirschner affiliates with the social and benevolent German societies of Seattle.

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Brewery Gems continues with additional information obtained from Frederick’s great-grandson, Bradley W. Kirschner. In addition, in “A Volume of Memoirs and Genealogy of Representative Citizens of the City of Seattle and County of King, Washington,” in a biography of Andrew Hemrich, there is also mention of Frederick’s role in the brewery businesses.

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Historic Beer Birthday: Bert Grant

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Today would have been Bert Grant’s 88th birthday, and he is still definitely missed. Bert opened the country’s first brewpub in 1982 in Yakima, Washington and was a fixture in the industry until his death in late July of 2001. Join me tonight in lifting a pint to Bert’s memory.

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Bert Grant and me at OBF in the mid-1990s.

Historic Beer Birthday: Edward F. Sweeney

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Today is the birthday of Edward F. Sweeney (May 10, 1860-1923). Although born in San Francisco, Sweeney was involved with founding the Seattle Brewing & Malting Company, the makers of Rainier Beer, along with several other brewery and other businesses in the Seattle area.

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Here’s a biography of Sweeney from “An Illustrated History of the State of Washington,” by Rev. H.K. Hines, published in 1893.

Edward F. Sweeney, Secretary of the Seattle Brewing & Malting Company, is a native son of the Golden West, born in San Francisco, California, May 10, 1860.

His father, Morgan Sweeney, was a California pioneer of 1850, who made mining the occupation of his life. He (Morgan) was married in California to Miss Mary Nunan¹, whose father was also a pioneer of the State.

Edward F. Sweeney was educated at St. Mary’s College in San Francisco. His business career began at the age of seventeen, in the French Savings Bank, but shortly after be entered the office of the brewery² of M. Nunan and remained two years. He then went to the Fredericksburg Brewery at San Jose and entered practically into the study of the brewery business. After becoming thoroughly conversant with all details of manufacture and with methods of conducting such an enterprise, he returned to San Francisco as superintendent of Mr. Nunan’s plant, which turned out about 30,000 barrels of beer per year.

In 1882-84 (depending on the account), he came to Seattle, and, forming a co-partnership with W. J. Rule, built a small brewery south of town for the manufacture of steam beer. The firm of Rule & Sweeney continued about eighteen months (sic), when Mr. Rule retired and Mr. Sweeney continued operations alone, gradually increasing the extent of his plant as the conditions of the trade demanded.

In 1888 he organized a stock company known as the Claussen-Sweeney Brewing Company, with a capital of $80,000. The brewery was then rebuilt, and with improved machinery they entered exclusively into the manufacture of lager beer, with an annual output of 36,000 barrels, which was sold throughout the Northwest. In May, 1891, Mr. Claussen³ sold his interest to Mr. George F. Gund⁴, and the business was continued up to the spring of 1893, when the company consolidated with the Bay View Brewing Company and the Albert Braun Brewing Company, incorporating as the Seattle Brewing & Malting Company; capital stock, $1,000,000. Mr. Sweeney was elected secretary of the new organization, whose plant has a capacity for an annual output of 150,000 barrels.

Mr. Sweeney is also a stockholder of the King County Bank; a director of the National Bank of Commerce; owns valuable real-estate interests in Seattle, and mining interests in the Cascade Mountains. Socially, he affiliates with the K. of P., B.P.O.E., the Seattle Athletic Club and the Seattle Yacht Club. He is also a member of the Chamber of Commerce, and is a member of the manufacturing committee of that institution.

Gary Flynn, in his wonderful Brewery Gems, points out that there are several discrepancies with that account and he tries to correct them and adds later details of Sweeney’s life.

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And here’s another from “An Illustrated History of the State of Washington.”

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And here’s an account of how the brewery came to be known as the Seattle Brewing & Malting Company from the “History of Seattle from the Earliest Settlement to the Present Time, Volume 2,” by Clarence Bagley

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Historic Beer Birthday: William H. Biner

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Today is the birthday of William H. “Billy” Biner (April 16, 1889-January 5, 1953). Biner was a journeyman brewer who worked for numerous breweries over his

He was born in the Montana territory to Swiss immigrant parents. His father, Theophil Biner, knoew Leopold Schmidt and even worked at his Olympia Brewery. Biner sent two of his sons, including Billy once he’s finished with a career as a boxer, to brewing school in Milwaukee. Biner’s first brewing job was at the Phoenix Brewery in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1912. He then worked as brewmaster at at least eight more breweries, from Los Angeles to Canada. The breweries he worked at included the Mexicali Brewery; the Orange Crush Bottling Company in L.A.; the Mexicali Brewing Company again after it was rebuilt following an earthquake; then the Kootenay Breweries, Ltd. in both Nelson and Trail, in BC, Canada; followed by the Ellensburg Brewing Co. in Washington, and then in 1937 he founded his own brewery, the Mutual Brewing Company. But it didn’t last thanks to World War II and supply issues, and it folded. Afterwards, he moved on to both Sicks’ Century Brewery in Seattle and the Silver Springs Brewery in Port Orchard, Washington. Finally, he ran the East Idaho Brewing Co. in Pocatello, Idaho until 1946, when he retired from brewing and bought his own bar, the Leipzig Tavern in Portland, Oregon. He stayed there until a year before he died, which was in 1953.

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Here’s his biography from Find a Grave:

William Henry “Billy” Biner was born in Boulder, Montana Territory, on April 16, 1889. He was the fifth of nine children for Theophil Biner and Juliana Truffer, immigrants from Randa, Switzerland.

Theophil Biner was a builder and an acquaintance of Leopold Schmidt, founder of Olympia Brewery. He worked briefly for Schmidt in Tumwater, Washington from 1903-1905. Later in 1905 he purchased the Phoenix Brewery in the copper boomtown of Phoenix, British Columbia. Theophil became president of the company and his sons Albert and Dan ran it.

Younger son Billy became a boxer, eventually earning the title of welterweight champion of British Columbia. In 1911 Theo Biner sent his sons Billy and Gustave to the Hantke Brewery School in Milwaukie, Wisconsin where they graduated in 1912. Billy then became the brewmaster for the Phoenix Brewery and as an aspiring artist he also designed all of the beer labels. During this time he gave up boxing for curling where he found similar success.

Billy Biner married Harriet Lynch, the daughter of diamond drilling supervisor Dan Lynch in 1914. As prohibition approached Billy wrote articles for the local paper espousing the benefits of beer. But business declined in Phoenix and he moved south to Los Angeles in 1919 to work for the Canadian Club Bottling-Orange Crush Bottling Co.

From 1924 through 1929 he served as the brewmaster for the Mexicali Brewing Company in Mexicali, Mexico. In 1929 he returned to Canada and was a brewer in the towns of Merritt and Princeton, BC. From 1929 through 1936 he served as brewmaster for the Kootenay Brewing Company in both Nelson and Trail, BC.

In 1936 Biner moved to Ellensburg, Washington where he became brewmaster at the Ellensburg Brewery through 1942. After the Ellensburg Brewery closed Biner worked as a brewer at both Sick”s Select Brewery in Seattle and Silver Spring’s Brewery in Port Orchard, WA before moving on to Pocatello, where he ran the Aero Club Brewery until 1946.

He purchased the Leipzig Tavern in Portland, Oregon in 1946 and operated it until 1952 when he moved to Los Angeles to work for the North American Aircraft Company. He died of a heart attack on January 5, 1953.

Billy and Harriet Biner had four children; Betty, Bill, Bob and Fredericka (Fritzi). Bill and Bob Biner both worked for their father in Ellensburg before becoming members of the US Air Corps during WW II. Together they flew over 100 missions and are the subjects of the book The Brewmaster’s Bombardier and Belly Gunner.

Although none of Billy’s children or grandchildren became professional brewers, his great-grandson, Charlton Fulton, is the brewer at McMenamins Mill Creek Brewery near Seattle, Washington.

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Biner with his sisters Julia and Mary Cecelia and his children Betty and Billy, c. 1925.

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A label from his first brewery job, which he may also have designed.

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Beer Birthday: Dave Buhler

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Today is Dave Buhler’s 57th birthday. Interestingly, like Dick Cantwell, whose birthday was yesterday, Dave is also a co-founder of Elysian Brewing in Seattle, Washington. Join me in wishing Dave a very happy birthday.

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Fal Allen and Dave Buhler at OBF.

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Dave and Celebrator publisher Tom Dalldorf (at right). Neither Tom or I could identify the fellow in the middle, sorry about that. Can anybody help me out and tell me who that is?

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At the Celebrator’s best of the West Beer Festival in 2009.

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Dave with his business partner and Elyisian co-founder Dick Cantwell at GABF in 2006.

Beer Birthday: Dick Cantwell

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Today is Dick Cantwell’s 58th birthday. He’s the former head brewer and co-founder of Elysian Brewing in Seattle, Washington. In addition to brewing, Dick’s a great writer, too, and his work frequently appears in numerous beer magazines. Cantwell’s the co-author of Barley Wine and the soon-to-be-published Wood & Beer: A Brewer’s Guide, with Peter Bouckaert from New Belgium Brewing. He was also on the BA’s board of directors and headed both the Communications and Pipeline committees. More recently, he’s taken a job as the Quality Ambassador for the Brewers Association. Join me in wishing Dick a very happy birthday.

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Award-winning Portland beer writer Lisa Morrison and Dick at an Elysian event during OBF.

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Dick, with an English volunteer, and Sam Calagione, from Dogfish Head Brewing in Delaware, enjoying themselves at the Elysian Booth during the Alaska Barleywine Festival in 2008.

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Enjoying a pint at the Falling Rock in Denver with Portland Brewing co-founder Fred Bowman during GABF week.

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Kim in costume with Dick Cantwell at Elysian’s annual pumpkin festival in 2013. [Note: This photo purloined from Facebook.]

Beer Birthday: Ralph Olson

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Today is Ralph Olson’s 65th birthday. Ralph was the general manager/co-owner of HopUnion, a co-op that supplies hops to many of the craft breweries. Ralph’s pretty much retired but can still be seen at occasional beer events throughout the country. He’s been a good friend to and very supportive of the craft beer industry. Join me in wishing Ralph a very happy birthday.

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Ralph Olson, the Big Cheese from HopUnion. If you look carefully in between his “Sponsor” and “Exhibitor” badge you can see his title really is officially “the Big Cheese.

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Ralph and me at the end of the brewer’s reception at GABF in 2007.

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Dave Keene, from the Toronado, Dave Pyle, Ralph and Becky Pyle, who are also with HopUnion, along with my friend Dave Suurballe.

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Ralph sandwiched between Jessica, the former event coordinator for the AOB and Chad Kennedy, brewer at Laurelwood Public House & Brewery in Portland, Oregon at GABF in 2006.

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With Natalie Cilurzo of Russian River Brewing, who’s accepting an award at the Alpha King Hop Challenge in 2006. If you look closely, you can find the award money.

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Ralph with the other HopUnion Ralph, Ralph Woodall, and Rob Widmer, the younger half of Widmer Brothers Brewing, at the 15th Anniversary Party for the Celebrator Beer News.