Historic Beer Birthday: Franz Falk

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Today is the birthday of Franz Falk (August 9, 1823-August 5, 1882), though some accounts give August 9, and I’ve also seen both 1823 and 1825 given as the year, so it’s safe to say there’s no consensus about his actual birth date. What is more agreed upon is that he was born in Miltenberg, Germany, part of Bavaria. Although not completely, as one source says he was born in Munich (München), Münchener Stadtkreis. Falk became a master brewer when he was just 24, in 1848, and the same year emigrated to the U.S., working first in Cincinnati, working at various breweries, before settling permanently in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In 1856, he founded the Bavarian Brewery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but changed the name to the Franz Falk Brewing Co. when he incorporated in 1882. In 1889, it became known as the Falk, Jung & Borchert Brewing Co. but closed three years later, in 1892.

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This history is from “The Industrious Falk Family,” part of a documentary called “The Making of Milwaukee Stories:”

In 1848, at the age of 25, Franz Falk decided to leave his home in Bavaria, a state in southern Germany, and immigrate to the United States of America. Franz first traveled to Cincinnati, Ohio, but soon moved to Milwaukee. Franz felt very much at home in Milwaukee because approximately 35% of the people living there in the mid to late 1800’s were also German. There were German churches, schools, and gymnasiums.
Newspapers were printed in German and German operas were performed. The German immigrants in Milwaukee loved being able to speak the language of their mother country. They also honored other German traditions such as brewing beer.

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Franz and his friend Frederick Goes decided to start their own brewery. Milwaukee was a great place to make and sell beer so Franz and Frederick set a challenging goal; to become the largest brewery in Milwaukee. The friends purchased land in the Menomonee Valley and named their business the Bavaria Brewery. Franz and Frederick had numerous competitors because many other German brewers had also settled in Milwaukee. Those other brewers included Valentine Blatz who developed the Blatz Brewery; Joseph Schlitz, who created the Schlitz Brewery and adopted the slogan, “Schlitz: The Beer that Made Milwaukee Famous”; and, Captain Frederick Pabst, who married the daughter of another successful brewer, Philip Best. Pabst beer won a blue ribbon in the 1870’s and so they called their beer Pabst Blue Ribbon. Another brewer, Frederick Miller, founded the Miller Brewing Company. Miller products are still produced in Milwaukee by the MillerCoors Company.

At one time in the mid 1800’s, there were over 20 breweries in Milwaukee, most of them owned by the Germans. There were so many successful breweries that Milwaukee became known as the “beer capitol of the world”.

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Even though Franz Falk had a lot of competition, he was a hard worker and the Bavaria Brewery eventually became the fourth largest brewery in Milwaukee. Franz died in 1882 and two of his seven sons, Louis and Frank, continued the family brewing tradition. But on July 4th, 1889, disaster struck! A fire destroyed part of the Bavaria Brewery. Beer spewed out, ankle deep, into the Menomonee Valley. Despite this fire, Louis and Frank did not give up. They rebuilt and reopened the brewery just three months after the fire.

However, their dreams were dashed again when another fire devastated their business. This time the sons of Franz Falk did not rebuild. In 1893, they sold the Bavaria Brewery to Captain Frederick Pabst. As a result of this acquisition, the Pabst Brewery Company became not only the largest brewery in Milwaukee but also in the entire United States.

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This is a history of the early Falk Brewing Co. from Wisconsin Breweriana:

The founding grandfather of the Falk Corporation was born in August 9,1823 in Miltenberg, Bavaria Germany. (Also the birthplace of August Krug and Val Blatz) Entrepreneurial drive was not the only skill Franz Falk brought with him to make his niche in the New World. After 6 years spent mastering his father’s trade, coopering, Falk added the “art and mastery” of brewing while employed by a Miltenberg brewery. In 1848, Franz Falk decided to make a new life for himself in America. Falk departed for the United States, reaching New York in June 1848. In October of 1848, after three months in Cincinnati, Falk relocated again to Milwaukee. With one third of the population German, Milwaukee was a favorable environment for brewers. All of Milwaukee’s famous breweries- Pabst, Schlitz, Miller, and Blatz – were established in the 1840s. Franz Falk’s timing could not have be better to find a brewing position. In the Cream City he was soon employed as a general brewery workman by August Krug, who founded the brewery eventually operated by Joseph Schlitz. After approximately six months Falk moved on to the Menomonee Brewery, working with Charles T. Melms for a seven year career as the brewery foreman, or brewmaster. The 1857-1858 Milwaukee City directory lists Falk as the brewery foreman of Melms & Co. This time frame is approximately when Melms took full control of the former Menomonee brewery, Franz Falk was ready to set out on his own.

In mid to late 1855 Frederick Goes and Franz Falk formed a partnership and began to build a malting and brewing enterprise. The brewery portion was called the Bavaria Brewery, no doubt Falk’s influence in the name. Goes was a successful dry goods businessman, the 1857-1858 Milwaukee City directory lists Goes as a variety store owner. If we read into the Goes & Falk name under which they did business, it’s possible that Goes may have supplied the venture capitol, or perhaps an important asset for the venture. The record indicates that in 1856 Frederick Goes assumed ownership of the Middlewood & Gibson malt-house (3), originally established in Milwaukee in 1849 as the Eagle Brewery. (Later operated as the Sands Spring Brewery.) Goes and Falk leveraged the malting operation with their new brewery venture. The first Goes & Falk enterprise was located on 8th and Chestnut, now Juneau and Highland. The address is near the Eagle brewery, and although the final relationship between the properties and owners is unclear, it is possible that assuming part of the former Eagle Brewery and malt house facilities launched Goes and Falk’s enterprise. In brewing history, 1856 was a year of turn over. Krug, Falk’s former employer also died in 1856 allowing Schlitz to step up. During Falk’s initial year, 1857, Goes & Falk employed five men and produced 1000 barrels.

A rare 1863 Goes & Falk civil war token is one of the few breweriana references to the earliest years of the brewery and malt house. A known pre-pro glass is another, later breweriana reference illustrating the A. Gunther & Falk partnership, Gunther being the sole bottler of Falks Lager. The embossed emblem referencing Falk’s Milwaukee Lager, lager being the specialty brew of the Bavaria Brewery. “Falk” means “falcon” in German, and the embossed crest clearly shows a falcon perched on a letter G, presumably in reference to A. Gunther.

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The Bavaria Brewery was conducted by the firm Goes & Falk until 1866 when Franz became the sole proprietor, buying out Goes and forming the Franz Falk & Company business name. When Franz Falk took the reins in 1866 the production had increased to 5468 barrels. In 1867 Falk also acquired a partial interest in Goes malting business, the business being successively conducted by Goes & Falk and then Franz Falk & Co. In 1870 the Goes sold his remaining malting interests to William Gerlach & Co. who eventually bought out Falk’s holdings at the original site in 1872. In 1870, Falk chose a new Menomonee Valley site just west of C.T. Melm’s for a more extensive, modern brewery. In 1872 the original Bavaria Brewing operation was closed and the Menomonee Valley operation was in high gear, dramatically increasing production nearly two fold.

Falk built his own on-site malting house as part of the new Bavaria Brewery, one of the first owned and operated by a brewery, which allowed him to sell his previous malt holdings to Gerlach. By 1872 Falk was the 4th largest Milwaukee brewery behind Best, Schlitz and Blatz. In 1880 the Bavaria brewery consisted of five brick and stone buildings, including the yards, outbuildings, and side track to the Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway. The site occupied about 5 acres, operating with eight icehouses and on-site malting production of approximately 100,000 bushels annually. Falk employed 100 men, twelve teams of horses and operated it’s own cooperage. In addition Falk owned their own rail cars for shipping beer.

Older sons, Louis and Frank eventually joined the brewery and incorporation papers from 1881 show the Franz Falk Brewing Corporation, as a limited family partnership with Franz as President, Louis and Franz as the Vice President and Secretary Treasurer respectively. If one examines the Trade Cards of the Falk’s Milwaukee and Franz Falk Brewing Co. you notice the evolution of the company name as well as the colorful and more detailed illustrations which reflect the growing, prosperous company in its later years. In 1877 Falk established one of Milwaukee’s first bottling facilities. Every bottle bore the Bavaria Brewery’s trademark: a falcon perched atop a mountain peak.

Falk later out-sourced this activity to A.Gunther who became the only bottler of Falk’s Milwaukee Export Lager. A look on the back side of the trade cards also shows the assumption of bottling duties by the A. Gunther company. The Gunther operated plant was located at 20 Grand Avenue, Wauwatosa and was in operation from approximately 1878-1884. Falk’s Milwaukee Bottled Beer, and Milwaukee Export Lager trade cards indicate the early adoption of shipping bottled beer allowed Falk’s to expand their market to Chicago, Kansas City, Denver, Mexico, New Orleans, Pittsburg, San Francisco St. Louis, and more. With the main storage vaults only about 20 yards from the rail siding, Falk’s fleet of rail cars leveraged their strategic location near the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad, also operating out of the Menomonee Valley. Warranted to keep in any climate, Falk’s Export Beer was an award winning premium beer. Falk won domestic and international awards, including medals from the San Francisco Mechanics Institute Exhibition of 1880 and the Advance Austrailia International exhibition. Over the years of operation the brewery’s output climbed quickly while other breweries which ignored the idea of a national market were left behind, or failed.

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On March 24th, 1882 Franz Falk opted to incorporate as the Franz Falk Brewing Company, proceeding with $400,000 of capital stock. Only a few months later, August of 1882, the death of their father Franz to a stroke required the elder brothers to take over the family business. After William Gerlach’s death in 1884 his estate would briefly run Gerlach’s malting business before Goes’ sons George W. and Fred E. Goes regained ownership the malt business in 1901. Frederick Goes died in 1894.

By 1886 the Falk operation was consuming 200,000 bushels of barley, 160,00 bushels hops, and 25,000 tons of ice annually. The facilities had added a carpenter shop, machine shop, and shipped beer extensively throughout the Union, the East Indies, Sandwich Islands, Mexico and South America. About 125 Falk agencies were in operation as of 1886 and roughly 25,000 barrels of beer where being bottled annually. The business also maintained an office in Milwaukee proper at the southwest corner of East Water and Mason, directly linked by telephone to the brewery. Falk’s beer held a reputation for purity and quality and their manner of conducting business was held in high regard. During the spring of 1886 the Milwaukee brewery workers and maltsters began to form the Local 7953 chapter of the Gambrinus Assembly of the Knights of Labor. The new union drafted a letter to the nine Milwaukee breweries demanding, among other things an eight hour work day, better pay and installation of the union in the breweries. Collectively the breweries, including Falk, penned a response proposing a 10 hour day, including over time pay after 10 hour, but lesser pay increases than requested. Additionally the brewers balked at the proposed union controlled hire of employees. By early May of 1886 most non-office brewery workers, except Falk’s, had walked out on strike idling all the major Milwaukee breweries. May 3, 1000 brewery workers marched to Falk convincing the workers it was their duty to strike, and they did, joining the others as well as the larger, city wide labor protests. By May 5 the Governor sent the State Militia to keep order over the growing protests, and they ended up firing on some protestors, killing six and wounding three. Collectively, the brewers then decided to concede on increases in pay, including an advance of 120 dollars per year for each worker. The advance sum of $162,000 was split among the brewers, based on their size. Falk’s share being $12,000. Thus we may confirm that Falk had just over 120 employees in 1886, including office executives.

In 1888 sons Otto and Herman joined the brewery, Otto becoming the general manager and Herman the Superintendent and brewery mechanic. A mechanical genius since childhood, Herman’s mechanical prowess would lead the Falk name down its future path. November 1st, 1888 the Franz Falk Brewing Company Limited merged with the Jung and Borchert brewery operated by Philipp Jung (a former Pabst brewmaster) and Ernst Borchert (a local maltster’s son). Together they formed the Falk, Jung and Borchert Brewery Corporation in 1889. Frank Falk fulfilled the duties of President, Phillip Young the Vice President and Superintendent of Brewing, Ernst Borchert as Treasurer, Louis Falk as Secretary, Otto Falk as Assistant Secretary and Herman the Assistant Superintendent.

The old Jung and Borchert brewery was converted to storage while all operations were consolidated into the Menomonee Valley location. After a large investment in new buildings and expansion up and down the hill, the new facilities were producing 120,000 barrels by 1888, with capability of 200,000 barrels. Closing in on Val Blatz’s position at third place in town seemed within reach when an extensive fire ravaged the brewery in July of 1889. Breaking out in the malt house, the fire consumed the bottling house and main brewery buildings. During the fire it was noted that Herman and Otto were seen rolling barrels out harms way to try and save some of their valued product. Holiday crowds at the neighboring beer gardens watched the blaze from the nearby bluffs. Ultimately only the stables and icehouse survived. Milwaukee’s Sentinel reported that the rebuild would include a new “fireproof” design and within a few months the brewery was back in operation.

Franz Falk commented at the time that “we haven’t lost a single customer since the fire”. The new improved site stretched further into the Menomonee valley. Within a years time production swelled to 200,000 barrels. Unfortunately, in 1892 another unexpected fire occurred, starting again in the malt house due to a overheated motor. The malt house was destroyed as were a large portion of the brew house, grain elevator, and refrigeration house. Pledging to rebuild again, the partners purchased raw beer from Pabst to finish and supply their customers. Captain Pabst, seeing the opportunity for an acquisition offered to buy out the beleaguered partners holdings for $1 and approximately $500,000 in Pabst Stock, including positions for the top executives. The acquisition attributed as one of the main factors in the increase of Pabst’s 180,000 barrel increase in sales in 1893, pushing their output over 1 million barrels for the first time.

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Interestingly, Frank Falk’s duties from 1893 until his 1902 resignation from Pabst included Treasurer, management of Purchasing, Rents, City Bottled Beer Sales, General Finance, and Labor. The Falk family’s holdings of nearly 500 shares were purchased by semiannual payments of $11,500 from the time of Frank Falk’s retirement until 1910, plus a final lump-sum payment of $395,520 on January 1, 1911.

Louis and Otto Falk both accepted positions with Pabst as did Ernst Borchert. Phillip Jung went into the malting business, however after the three-year period of abstention specified in the sale contract of 1892 Jung returned to brewing, purchasing the Oberman plant and reorganizing as the Jung Brewing Company. By 1910 Jung grew to 100,000 barrels, ranking fifth in Milwaukee, never quite achieving the same earlier success of Falk, Jung and Borchert.

Herman Falk was not content with, or perhaps offered a position at Pabst and decided to start a new business. Striking out on his own, Herman rented a surplus wagon shop from Pabst to build wagon couplings. At first unsuccessful, despite patenting a new wagon brake, Herman eventually channeled his mechanical genius into the creation of a “foundry on wheels” to facilitate joining of trolley tracks with molten iron. Herman Falk’s inventive equipment eventually serviced over one third of the nations electric street railways. As entrepreneurial as his Father, it was his company that has now evolved into the Falk Corporation, which is still operating within sight of and includes a portion of the original Menomonee Valley Bavaria Brewery grounds.

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Franz Falk Brewing

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Historic Beer Birthday: Henry J. Schreihart

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Today is the birthday of Henry J. Schreihart (August 7, 1876-August 7, 1931). He was the son of John Schreihart, and the grandson of Peter Schreihart, both of whom founded the

Along with a partner, Frederick Pautz, bought the William Fricke Brewery, which had been founded in 1862. In 1879, John become soler proprieter, re-naming it the John Schreihart Brewery, and later the Schreihart Brewing Co. John Schreihart died during prohibition, and the brewery re-opened as the Bleser Brewing Co. in 1937, closing for good in 1942.

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Here’s his obituary from the Manitowoc Herald News, Wednesday, August 5, 1931:

Former Head of Brewing Co. Here Passes – Illness Forced Retirement 14 Years Ago

Henry J. Schreihart, 55, life long resident of Manitowoc, former president of the Schreihart Brewing Co. founded by his father, the late John Schreihart, but who, for the past several years has been forced to live a retired life on account of illness, passed away at the family home, 1111 Marshall street, this morning. He was taken seriously ill last Friday and failed rapidly until the end came today.

Funeral services for the deceased will be held from the home on Saturday afternoon at 2:30 in charge of the Manitowoc lodge of Elks, of which Mr. Schreihart was a member. The Rev. Hood of the St. James church will be in charge and interment will be at Evergreen.

Became Brewmaster

Mr. Schreihart was educated in the schools of the city and at the conclusion of his schooling entered the Hanthe Brewing school at Milwaukee. After completing his course there he returned to become brewmaster in the Schreihart brewery here, operated by his father, John Schreihart, a pioneer brewer in Manitowoc, and before that time in Germany.

When reorganization of the brewery was perfected in 1911, and John Schreihart retired from active head of the company, Henry Schreihart was elected president of the company, which position he filled until a merger was effected with other interests here, and the new company became the Manitowoc Products Co. Mr. Schreihart continued with that company in an official capacity until failing health fourteen years ago forced his retirement.

Great Lover of Books

In late years Mr. Schreihart has been a great lover of books and took pride in his library at the home, where he spent many hours daily in reading. Just one month ago today his mother, Mrs. John Schreihart passed away and it is believed that the shock of her death brought about a sudden relapse in his condition that forced him to bed at the end of last week and brought about his death this morning.

Mr. Schreihart was married to Miss Hattie Hartwig of this city, on June 29, 1904 and she survives him with two sisters, Miss Helen of this city, and Mrs. Charles Kulnick of Berlin, Wis., and two brothers, Edward of this city and Dr. Adolph Schreihart of Chicago.

While not inclined to take part in public life the deceased was prevailed on by his constituents to represent the third ward on the county board of supervisors, serving for two years. In addition to the Elks the deceased was a member of the United Commercial Travelers. The remains have been removed to the home from the Pfeffer parlors, where they may be viewed up to the time of the funeral.

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Pautz’s Brewery was built in 1849, by Mr. Hottleman, he being the first to brew beer in the county. G. Kuntz purchased the brewery of him in 1865. Messrs. Fred. Pautz and John Schreihart became the owners in 1875. In November, 1878, the former purchased the interest of the latter, and is now conducting the business alone. The capacity of the brewery is about 1,600 barrels of beer per annum.

Schreiharts’s Brewery. In 1879, John Schreihart established himself in business, and is now conducting a brewery on Washington street. He has been brought up in the business and understands it.

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From what I can piece together about the brewery itself, it appears to have been built in 1849, and went through several name changes from the William Fricke Brewery, the Christian Fricke Brewery, and then the Carl Fricke Brewery. It seems to have been called by the latter name when Frederick Pautz and John Schreihart bought it in 1875, but it didn’t become the John Schreihart Brewery until he bought out Pautz in 1879. A few years later, in 1884 until the following year, it was known as the John Schreihart & George Kunz Brewery, presumably because Schreihart took on George Kunz as a partner. Then there’s a gap in the record, but by 1891 it was known as the Schreihart Brewing Co. until it was closed by prohibition in 1920. The building apparently lay dormant after repeal in 1933, but from 1937-1942 housed the Bleser Brewing Co., which I assume was because they leased or bought the building where the Schreihart had brewed.

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Hungover Heroes: Max McGee

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Today is the birthday of Max McGee. Don’t worry if you’ve never heard his name, most people haven’t. He “was a professional football player, a wide receiver for the Green Bay Packers in the NFL. He played from 1954 to 1967, and is best known for his 7 receptions for 138 yards and two touchdowns in the first Super Bowl in 1967.” And it’s his performance in that first Super Bowl that was so amazing, in no small part because he was badly hungover.

In 1967, McGee was at the end of his career. In fact, it was the second-to-last season he played. He was not a starter for the Packers that year they went to the first Super Bowl, and caught only four balls all year. So apparently, not expecting to play at all during the Super Bowl, the night before he broke curfew and spent the night with two women he met at the hotel bar. He rolled in around 6:30 a.m. the morning of the big game, passed Bart Starr in the hallway just getting up, and tried to catch a few winks before game time.

He was feeling pretty rough, but took his spot on the bench, fully expecting to be glued to it all game. He told starting wide receiver Boyd Dowler “I hope you don’t get hurt. I’m not in very good shape,” referring to the fact that he was badly hungover. Unfortunately, shortly after the game started, Dowler separated his shoulder and came out of the game, replaced by McGee. He had to borrow a helmet from another teammate, because he had left his in the locker room. McGee was reportedly startled as he heard Vince Lombardi yell, “McGee! McGee! Get your ass in there.”

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A few plays later, McGee made a one-handed reception of a pass from Bart Starr, took off past Chiefs defender Fred Williamson and ran 37 yards to score the first touchdown in Super Bowl history. This was a repeat of his performance in the NFL championship game two weeks earlier, when he had also caught a touchdown pass after relieving an injured Boyd Dowler. By the end of the game, McGee had recorded seven receptions for 138 yards and two touchdowns, assisting Green Bay to a 35-10 victory.

Just check out that first catch, for the very first touchdown in a Super Bowl. Unfortunately, the NFL won’t allow you to watch the video on my site, even though you can see it on YouTube or directly the NFL website. Thank goodness they protected a 50-year old event from being seen here. Who knows what money might have been lost by them had you been able to see it here instead of their own website.

Here’s more about the story from Sports Illustrated:

McGee came to California ready to party. He chafed at a week of locked-down training camp in Santa Barbara and when the team moved to Los Angeles on the eve of the big game, he made plans with those two flight attendants, assuming that Hornung, who was nursing an injured neck and wouldn’t play in the game, would join him. McGee snuck out after assistant coach Hawg Hanner’s 11 p.m. bed check and soon afterward, called Hornung. “He called and said ‘I’ve got two girls and yours is gorgeous,’ ” says Hornung. ” ‘Come out and have a couple drinks with us.’ ” The fine was at least $5,000 and Hornung was getting married later that week and his neck was sore. He declined. The next time he heard from McGee was at 6:30 the next morning. “He called from the lobby and asked if they did a second check. I said ‘No, you lucky bastard, now get your ass up here.’ ”

Before every game, Dowler, Dale and McGee would have a brief, ritual meeting to go over the game plan and review tendencies one last time. “We’re having our little meeting,” says Dowler, 79 and living in Richmond, Va., “and Max says, ‘Whatever you do, don’t go down today.’ I said, What do you mean? Max says, ‘I was out all night and I had a few more drinks than I should have and I didn’t get much sleep. So just don’t go down.'”

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Dowler says, “Max had a strong constitution. I figured he could deal with it. But he did not expect to play.” This was a potential problem. Dowler had played most of the 1965 season and all of the ’66 season with a bad right shoulder; a calcium deposit had developed on the joint. Yet the Packers’ coaching staff had seen weaknesses in the Chiefs’ pass defense, including a propensity to leave the middle of the field open on blitzes. Starr was going to throw the ball extensively. “Plus, their defensive backs,” says Dowler. “They had ‘The Hammer’ [future Hollywood actor Fred Williamson] on one side and some other guy, No. 22 [Willie Mitchell] on the other side. Neither one of them were very good, one-on-one. It wasn’t going to be like trying to beat Lem Barney or Night Train Lane [of the Detroit Lions].”

(McGee knew this, too. Maraniss, in When Pride Still Mattered, quotes McGee as telling Packers broadcaster Ray Scott, “I’ve been studying film and I’ve found me a cornerback. I’m gonna have him for breakfast, lunch and dinner.” Still, if he had expected to play, he most likely would have stayed in the night before. Or possibly not.)

On the Packers’ first series, McGee took a seat next to Hornung on the bench and made small talk about the night before and Hornung’s upcoming wedding. On the field, Lombardi opened with three consecutive running plays. On the third, Dowler executed a crackback block on Chiefs’ free safety Johnny Robinson, who was dropping down in run support. “My shoulder was not in good shape at all coming into the game,” says Dowler. “I usually put a foam pad underneath my shoulder pad, but since we were going to be throwing the ball a lot, I wanted to have some flexibility. I took the pad out. When I hit Johnny Robinson, I heard the calcium deposit crack and I knew immediately that I was finished.”

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McGee was summoned into the game, but couldn’t find his helmet. He put on a giant lineman’s helmet with a full cage and on his first snap missed connecting with Starr on a curl route. On the Packers’ next possession, Starr came out throwing: 11 yards to tight end Marv Fleming, 22 yards to running back Elijah Pitts, 12 yards to Dale. And then on third-and-three from the Kansas City 37, McGee ran a simple skinny post against Mitchell’s outside position and broke wide open. Robinson had blitzed, leaving acres of green in the middle of the secondary. Starr’s pass was far behind McGee, who reached back, controlled the ball and then turned straight upfield, into the end zone and history. It was a remarkable catch, by a man with a hangover and no sleep, running at full speed. McGee’s second touchdown, on another inside move against Mitchell, gave the Packers a 28–10 lead in the third quarter. That one came on a better throw by Starr, but McGee juggled it as he crossed beneath the goalposts, which were on the goalline. “The game of his life,” says Hornung.

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You can also see more video from television programs talking about McGee performance, such as when a TV show ranked the Top 50 Super Bowl Performances, and picked McGee’s Super Bowl I play as #31, and in another show which ranked McGee’s catch #10 among the “Top 10 Super Bowl Plays.”

And while it’s true that I’m a giant Green Bay Packers fan, and they’re the only football team I’ve ever rooted for, I still love this story about how the hungover Max McGee helped them win the first Super Bowl in 1967.

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Historic Beer Birthday: Frank Selinger

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Today is the birthday of Frank J. Selinger (July 8, 1914-June 15, 2000). He was born in Philadelphia and was trained as a chemist and later became a brewmaster, first with the Esslinger Brewing Co. in Philadelphia, but later with the Burger Brewing Co. and Anheuser-Busch. But in 1977, he accepted the position of CEO for Schlitz Brewing and even appeared in television commercials for them in he early 1980s.

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Here’s an obituary of Sellinger, from the Williamsburg Daily Press:

Francis J. Sellinger, a former brewing executive in Milwaukee, St. Louis, Cincinnati and Philadelphia, died Thursday, June 15, 2000, at Williamsburg Community Hospital. He was 85.

A native of Philadelphia, Mr. Sellinger graduated in 1936 with a degree in chemistry from St. Joseph’s College in Philadelphia. According to his son, Joseph Sellinger, he initially wanted to become a doctor but took a job in a brewery in order to help support his family. He began his career in the brewing industry in 1936 as chief chemist and assistant brewmaster with the Esslinger Brewing Co. in Philadelphia. In 1952, he joined the Burger Brewing Co. in Cincinnati, and he became vice president and general manager in 1956.

Mr. Sellinger joined Anheuser-Busch Inc. in St. Louis, Mo., in 1964. During his 14 years with the company, he held many senior executive positions, including vice president of engineering, and was a key figure in the company’s rapid brewery expansion during the 1970s, with the construction of breweries in Columbus, Ohio; Jacksonville, Fla.; Merrimack, N.H.; Williamsburg, Va.; and Fairfield, Calif. Mr. Sellinger was also heavily involved in the promotion of new technological advances within the company.

“He was the one that understood the direction the economics of the industry were going in,” said Patrick Stokes, president of Anheuser-Busch Inc.

He also played a key role in the development of the company’s Busch Gardens-The Old Country theme park and the Kingsmill Residential Community and Resort, both in Williamsburg.

In 1978, he became the vice chairman and chief executive officer of Schlitz Brewing Co. in Milwaukee. According to Joseph Sellinger, one of his first tasks at Schlitz was to turn the image of the company around. He worked to accomplish this by returning the company to a traditional brewing process. In addition, Mr. Sellinger appeared in the “Taste My Schlitz” television advertising campaign that began in 1978. Joseph Sellinger said that the locales for his father’s commercials ranged from barley fields to bars. Mr. Sellinger continued his career at Schlitz until his retirement in 1983 to Kingsmill in Williamsburg.

After his retirement, Mr. Sellinger became involved with the Anheuser-Busch Golf Classic, now the Michelob Golf Classic, and worked for St. Bede’s Catholic Church.

Mr. Sellinger will be remembered for his integrity, caring and generosity toward his family, friends and employees. He came from very humble beginnings, said Joseph Sellinger, yet gave so much to others.

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Frank Sellinger (left), when he was Vice-President and General Manager of Burger Brewing.

And this is from the New York time, from March 1, 1981, an article by Ray Kenny entitled “Trying to Stop the Flight from Schlitz.”

MILWAUKEE SHORTLY after Frank J. Sellinger went to work at the Jos. Schlitz Brewing Company in November 1977, he faced the first in a long list of problems.

A daughter, who then lived on the West Coast, telephoned and confessed: “Daddy, I don’t like that beer.” She had a lot of company. Schlitz, which had reformulated its flagship brand in a disastrous economy move in the 70’s, has been fighting a steady decline in sales ever since. Earnings plunged from almost $50 million five years ago to a $50.6 million loss in 1979 when it sold its newest brewery.

Said Mr. Sellinger: “I told my daughter, ‘Honey, do me a favor. Try Schlitz Malt Liquor. If you still don’t like it, go back to Budweiser.'”

After all, Mr. Sellinger said, “Anheuser-Busch put bread and butter on the Sellinger table for a lot of years.” Mr. Sellinger was an executive there all those years. Now, as vice chairman and chief executive at Schlitz charged with getting people to drink Schlitz again, he has reworked its taste, pitted it against the major beers in taste competitions televised live and gone on television commercials himself as the company’s down-to-earth pitchman. He has also pared expenses, cut excess brewing capacity and tightened quality control.

For all that, Schlitz is still losing sales position. In its best year, 1976, the company sold 24.2 million barrels. In 1980, shipments declined 11 percent on the year, to 15 million barrels. The company lost its fingertip hold on third place in the industry, behind the Anheuser-Busch Companies, which sold 50.2 million barrels in 1980, and the Miller Brewing Company, a subsidiary of Philip Morris Inc., which shipped 37.3 million barrels last year. Schlitz dropped to fourth place, behind its crosstown rival, Pabst, which shipped 15.1 million barrels.

“This company faced the toughest marketing problem you’ve ever seen,” an outside director said. “Beer drinkers are intensely loyal and we drove them away. Getting them to switch back is a horrendous challenge.”

Despite the continued falling sales, the company managed to show a profit last year of $27 million, or 93 cents a share, on revenues of $1 billion. Mr. Sellinger’s efforts apparently have paid off, along with gains by Schlitz’s container division and some profits attributed to nonoperating areas of the business. Clearly, corporate executives and members of the Uihlein (rhymes with E-line) family, who continue to hold the controlling interest in the company, were buoyed by the earnings swing.

“When sales are falling, the first thing you do is arrest the decline,” Mr. Sellinger said. “We’ve slowed things down but it’s too early to tell whether we’ve turned it around. Ask me again in June.”

Mr. Sellinger, 66, was named vice chairman and chief executive officer at Schlitz last April after coming on board in 1977 as president. One of the first things he did in an attempt to slow falling sales was to formulate what he calls “one helluva good brew.” He assembled technical personnel and urged them to create a flagship beer that would appeal to the eye as well as the taste.

“It has to look good,” he said. “Americans drink with their eyes. Beer has to be rich in flavor and hold its head. “There is just so much you can do. You can increase the barley malt and change the amount of hopping – the ratio of hops to corn. But the malt is the soul of the beer.

“From January of 1978 until July, we conducted test after test after test. Finally, we all agreed, and I’ll tell you, if we can get people to taste the beer, we’ll keep ’em.”

Then he sought to improve quality control. “If the quality guy at a plant says it doesn’t go, it doesn’t go,” he said. “He reports to headquarters, not to the plant manager, and if that means we dump 5,000 cans because of high air content, then we dump 5,000 cans.”

Mr. Sellinger pared the payroll to 6,100 employees, eliminating 800 to 1,000 jobs. “I believe in paying fair wages,” he said, “but I can’t afford two workers for one job. We eliminated a lot of people. We sacrificed a few for the good of the many.”

As for expenses, he said, “We had grown fat. Lax. I mean, how many WATS lines do you really need? How many copies do you have to make? There a million ways to save.”

He cut deeply into excess capacity when he closed the company’s newest brewery – a six-year-old facility in Syracuse, N.Y., in 1979. The move, together with the closing of a small brewery in Honolulu, trimmed production capacity by 5.4 million barrels. But the company is still swimming in capacity. Last year it was capable of turning out 25.6 million barrels while it sold 15 million.

A year ago, the Syracuse plant was sold to Anheuser-Busch for $100 million. The company absorbed a $44.3 million loss in the process. “That was a beautiful brewery,” Mr. Sellinger said, “but it was an albatross. That doesn’t mean the decision to build it wasn’t right at the time. If your sales trend is a plus 12 percent a year, then you know that in three and a half years – the time it takes to construct a brewery – you will need so much beer to satisfy demand. The 1974 trend told us we would have to spend $157 million for the beer we would need by 1977.”

B REWERIES are built with the wholesalers in mind, Mr. Sellinger said. “We pressure them to sell Schlitz and they want to know whether Schlitz will have the beer if the business continues. We can’t say, ‘we have no beer.’ That takes all their incentive away.”

But if the customers leave, there’s no need for a brewery. “That’s the chance business takes constantly,” Mr. Sellinger said. “Look at our friends at Miller. Their trend line has been a plus 24 percent a year, but now it’s 3 1/2 percent.” Between 1954 and 1964, no breweries were built in the United States, the Schlitz chief recalled.

“Only Anheuser-Busch and Schlitz had the guts to borrow the money at 9.2 percent interest and build new plants. We didn’t have a ‘cash cow,’ ” he said, using his favorite description for Philip Morris. “What would Miller’s profit be if they paid even 8 percent interest on that Philip Morris investment?”

Schlitz embarked on an expensive campaign featuring live taste tests on television, pitting its product, at various times, against Miller High Life and Anheuser’s Budweiser and Michelob. Half the 100 Budweiser drinkers pulled the lever for Schlitz in one test supervised by Tommy Bell, a widely recognized referee in the National Football League. Other scores were respectable. But some critics said that the nature of the tests gave Schlitz the advantage. (Since the participants in a given test were all, say, Budweiser drinkers, Schlitz could claim victory if any favored its beer.)

Concluded Joseph Doyle, a brewing industry analyst at Smith Barney Harris Upham & Company: “All the media coverage (of the taste tests) is giving Schlitz a big bang for their buck. I’d count the campaign a huge success if it arrests the decline of the brand, and it looks like it is doing that.”

The company trumpeted the results in follow-up newspaper ads, but there are no current plans to continue the live taste tests. Nevertheless, Mr. Sellinger’s desk is piled with letters and comments. “Here’s one from five students at Holy Cross – Bud drinkers – who have started a Tommy Bell/Schlitz fan club,” he said. “The young drinkers are the ones you want to win.”

The company has not disclosed sales figures related to the television campaign but some distributors reported sales gains. “We doubled our January sales in the first week,” after the commercials began, reported Jack Lewis, a distributor in Cleveland. Joe Scheurer, in Philadelphia, said his sales were up 10 percent. Other distributors reported gains.

Mr. Sellinger, who prefers the term “beer tasting” to beer guzzling, will drink to that.

Here’s one of Sellinger’s TV ads, this one from 1981.

And here’s another one.

Historic Beer Birthday: John Schreihart

schreihart
Today is the birthday of John Schreihart (June 28, 1842-January 6, 1925). He was born in Austria, but moved to Wisconsin when he was 25, in 1867. Along with a partner, Frederick Pautz, bought the William Fricke Brewery, which had been founded in 1862. In 1879, John become soler proprieter, re-naming it the John Schreihart Brewery, and later the Schreihart Brewing Co. John Schreihart died during prohibition, and the brewery re-opened as the Bleser Brewing Co. in 1937, closing for good in 1942.

Schreihart-freiersangerbund
Schreihart apparently liked to sing. That’s him in the front row, seated on the left.

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

J. SCHREIHART, PIONEER DIES, TODAY, AGED 82
Pioneer Brewer Who Came Here in ’67, Is Called Death early today claimed John Schreihart, pioneer brewer of the city and for many years identified with business life of the community, Mr. Schreihart passing away at his home at 1017 South Eleventh street at the age of 82 years. Up to a few weeks ago Mr. Schreihart, despite his age, had been in good health and was active, but five weeks ago suffered a decline which caused him to fall rapidly and brought death today. For a week he was a patient at the hospital but later, at his request, returned to his home where the end came.

Funeral services for Mr. Schreihart will be held Friday morning at 9 o’clock from St. Boniface church, the Rev. Kersten officiating. Burial will be at Calvary cemetery.

Came to City in ’67
Mr. Schreihart was born at Duerngren, Austria, June 28, 1842 and spent his early life there. In 1866 he was married to Frances Wilfer there and a year later came to America, retiring after a short stay to bring Mrs. Schreihart to this country and the couple came directly to Manitowoc where they have since resided. On February 2, 1916, they celebrated their golden wedding at their home here.

In 1871 Mr. Schreihart, who had been seeking a business formed a partnership with Mr. Pautz and the two purchased what was known as the old Fricke brewery plant with which Mr. Schreihart was identified until 1885 when, on occasion of a trip to Europe, he leased, but he again resumed management of the property upon his return and in 1890 a new association was formed with Mr. Schreihart, Frank Willinger and Gustave Mueller as partners, Mr. Willinger retiring from the company in 1891 after which the business was operated under name of the Schreihart & Mueller Brewing Company until 1904 when the business was incorporated under the name of the Schreihart Brewing Company, Mr. Schreihart having continuously been director of its affairs. In 1911 Charles Kulnick purchased the Mueller interest in the concern and H.J. Schreihart became president of the company, its founder retaining interest but not giving attention to active management of the business.

In later years the plant became a part of a merger of three brewing concerns of the city, the Schreihart, Rahr Sons and Kunz & Bleser company and the merger incorporated under name of the Manitowoc Products Company by which title it is still known. With the advent of the prohibition law, the brewing plant of the Schreihart Company on Washington street was transformed into a plant for manufacture of ice cream and soft beverages and still continues in that operation. Mr. Schreihart retained his interest in the company.

Built Schreihart Block
During his long career as a business man in the city Mr. Schreihart was widely known and enjoyed the respect of the community had been active in support of building of the city and contributed freely to the enterprises which aimed to this end. He build the Schreihart block at Tenth and Washington, one of substantial business blocks of the city.

After his retirement from active life, as his advanced years necessitated, Mr. Schreihart continued to take an interest in civic affairs and up until a short time of his last illness, was about as usual.

Shreihart-beer-sign

And this is biography is from the “History of Manitowoc County Wisconsin,” by Dr. L. Falge, 1911-1912, v.2, p.74:

John Schreihart, who is one of the well known brewers of Manitowoc county, Wisconsin, is a native of Austria, and came to this county in 1869, working for others for two years, and then forming a partnership with a Mr. Pautz. He eventually purchased the Fricke Brewery, which he rented in 1885 when he went on a trip to Europe, but in 1890 assumed management of it again with Frank Willinger and Gus Miller. In 1891 Mr. Willinger sold his interests to Mr. Schreihart, and it was operated by the other partners until 1904, when the firm was incorporated under the style of Schreihart Brewing Company. On January 1, 1911, Charles Kulnick bought the Miller interests, and at this time H. J. Schreihart, who up to that time had been brewmaster of the concern, was made president; Otto Senglaub was elected secretary; and Charles Kulnick, treasurer and manager. The plant has a capacity of thirty thousand barrels per year and produces the well known “Weiner” and “Old German Style” beers, employing fifteen men. John Schreihart married Frances Wilfer, a native of Germany, and they had five children, namely: Mrs. Charles Kulnick; H. J.; Ed, who is engineer at the brewery; Helene; and Adolph, who is studying for the priesthood. Ed Schreihart married Miss Schroeder of Milwaukee. H. J. Schreihart attended the Hanthe Brewing School of Milwaukee, now known as the Industrial Chemical Institute, after leaving which he entered his father’s brewery as brewmaster, a position which he held until his election as president in 1911. He has served as supervisor of the third ward for two years, and is prominent in business and fraternal circles. He was married to Miss Hattie Hartwig, of Manitowoc, Wisconsin.

Pautz’s Brewery was built in 1849, by Mr. Hottleman, he being the first to brew beer in the county. G. Kuntz purchased the brewery of him in 1865. Messrs. Fred. Pautz and John Schreihart became the owners in 1875. In November, 1878, the former purchased the interest of the latter, and is now conducting the business alone. The capacity of the brewery is about 1,600 barrels of beer per annum.

Schreiharts’s Brewery. In 1879, John Schreihart established himself in business, and is now conducting a brewery on Washington street. He has been brought up in the business and understands it.

Schreihard-das-schmeckt-gut

From what I can piece together about the brewery itself, it appears to have been built in 1849, and went through several name changes from the William Fricke Brewery, the Christian Fricke Brewery, and then the Carl Fricke Brewery. It seems to have been called by the latter name when Frederick Pautz and John Schreihart bought it in 1875, but it didn’t become the John Schreihart Brewery until he bought out Pautz in 1879. A few years later, in 1884 until the following year, it was known as the John Schreihart & George Kunz Brewery, presumably because Schreihart took on George Kunz as a partner. Then there’s a gap in the record, but by 1891 it was known as the Schreihart Brewing Co. until it was closed by prohibition in 1920. The building apparently lay dormant after repeal in 1933, but from 1937-1942 housed the Bleser Brewing Co., which I assume was because they leased or bought the building where the Schreihart had brewed.

schreihartbeertray

Historic Beer Birthday: Jacob Leinenkugel

leinenkugel
Today is the birthday of Jacob Leinenkugel (May 22, 1842-July 21, 1899). He was born in what today is Germany, but moved with his family to American when he was only three years old, in 1845. In 1867, along with John Miller, he co-founded the Spring Brewery in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. In 1884, Jacob bought out Miller and the name was changed to the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Co. Miller Brewing Co. bought the brewery in 1988, but it continues to be managed by the Leinenkugel family.

Jacob-Leinenkugel

This biography of Jacob is taken from Find-a-Grave:

Jacob Leinenkugel was one of the most generous, and in thought and deed one of the most upright men. He was a thoughtful, patriotic citizen, ever devoted to the welfare of the city and anxious in every way with his reach to promote the happiness and welfare of his fellow men. No man ever heard from the lips of Jacob Leinenkugel an unkind or uncharitable saying concerning another. His word was indeed his bond; and in small matters as well as large.” (as written of Jacob Leinenkugel in the the Daily Independent, July 22, 1899).

Jacob Mathias Leinenkugel, born in Germany (Prussia) in 1842, came to America with parents in 1845. He grew up in Sauk City, Wisconsin. There he and his four brothers were taught the art of brewing by their father, Matthias.

He married Josephine Imhoff, daughter of another German immigrant family from Highland, Wisc., in 1865. Shortly after the birth of their first son Matt in 1866, Jacob realized a growing desire for independence and a business of his own. Together Jacob, Josephine and baby Matt journeyed north into logging territory, eventually settling in Chippewa Falls. There, in 1867, he built a little brewery with his friend John Miller (no relation to the Miller Brewing Company).

Jacob built a home on the brewery property where his two daughters, Rose and Susan, and a second son, William, were born.

Josephine, in the tradition of pioneer women, worked beside her husband as he struggled to establish the small company. Josephine prepared three meals a day for up to 20 hungry men, in addition to caring for her family. As the brewery grew larger and the major expansion of the brewery started to take place, there were more employees to feed. She would rise at 3 a.m. to do the family (which now included three adopted children) wash before beginning breakfast for employee boarders at 5 a.m. Josephine died of acute pneumonia in 1890, at the age of forty-four, the winter before the expansion was completed. Family members remember Susan Mayer Leinenkugel, daughter to Josephine, describing her mother as having “worked herself to death.” The city newspaper wrote of Josephine after her death: She was a devoted wife and mother, one who was ever ready to strengthen in all labor, and comfort in all sorrow: one who faithfully performed the common duties of life, the noblest part of woman’s work in this world.

Two years after the death of Josephine, Jacob married Louisa Wilson, and a son Edward, was born.

Leinenkugels-Chippewa-Pride-Beer--Labels-Jacob-Leinenkugel-Brewing-Co_29959-1

It wasn’t unusual for Jacob Leinenkugel to choose a life of brewing. It was his legacy. Plus, he looked the part! Perfectly cast, he was a big, round, hard-working German. What many people don’t know is that Jacob had other interests too.

He erected and owned the first creamery in the county. He opened a meat and grocery store on brewery property. He milled feed grains for the dairy industry and made “Snowdrift” flour for the local retail market. (The firms dam formed the millpond which was located across from Irvine Park. After Jacob’s death and the venture became unprofitable, the mill was razed and the land donated to the city in connection with the Marshall family to form Marshall Playgrounds.) He was elected alderman in the first city election of 1869 and was reelected in 1871,1880 and 1883. He was the mayor of Chippewa Falls on three separate occasions: 1873, 1884 and 1891. He was extremely progressive and enjoyed and embraced the use of new inventions and technology. In fact, as mayor of Chippewa Falls he pushed for electric streetlights in the downtown area. (Our fine city had electric streetlights before the large thriving metropolis to the west, called St. Paul, Minnesota.)

Jacob and his family had their “summer home” on the shores of a lake north of Chippewa Falls. It was his refuge-that special spot where an individual or the family gathered to celebrate all of life’s blessings. Each year a family “outing” was planned. One summer Sunday all members of the family arrived home to head north for the annual outing when Jacob became ill. He requested that the family not wait for him … he’d follow in a few days after he felt better. Jacob never felt better. The family was summoned home.

Leinenkugel-brewery-1930
The brewery around 1930.

And this fuller history is from the website Chippewa Falls History:

When people hear the name Leinenkugel, most would think of the beer or maybe even Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. As the owner of Colette’s Tavern says, “Some people get hysterical when they find out I have it. The beer’s got some kind of charm.” (Brewer’s Digest). Most, however, do not think of the rich and interesting history that has gone into the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company. Most of this history comes from its origins and how over five generations, the business has kept within the Leinenkugel family. To properly tell the history of this family, we must start at the beginning with Jacob Mathias Leinenkugel himself. Jacob Leinenkugel was born May 22nd, 1842 in Prussia to Matthias and Maria Leinenkugel (1860 Federal Census). Jacob and his entire family arrived in New York on August 2nd, 1845. They had taken a ship, the American, from Amsterdam to New York, New York. Jacob Leinenkugel was three at the time of this trip (Arrival in New York, 1845). The Leinenkugel family settled in Prairie du Sac, Wisconsin and stayed there to raise their children (1860 Federal Census). In 1865, Jacob Leinenkugel married Josephine Imhoff in Sauk City, Wisconsin. Two years later, Jacob, Josephine and their son, Mathias, all moved to Chippewa Falls when Jacob started the Spring Brewery, now known as the Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company (Chippewa Falls Main Street, pg. 76).

Leinenkugel's-Spring-Brewery

The brewery was constructed in 1867 on property along the Duncan Creek which Jacob had purchased from Hiram Allen (Chippewa Falls Main Street, pg. 10). Jacob Leinenkugel established the Spring Brewery with John Miller (Chippewa Falls Wisconsin). In their first year alone, they “…delivered 400 barrels…with a small cart pulled by a horse named Kate.” (Bottom’s Up). Originally, the Brewery only had two teams of horses, which meant they could deliver kegs of beer up to ten miles outside of Chippewa Falls. “During the early years, Jacob Leinenkugel drove the wagon himself.” (Chippewa Falls Main Street). The Spring Brewery was named as such because it was built near the Big Eddy Springs in Chippewa Falls. These springs “…poured nonacidic, non-alkaline water that the brewery uses without treatment to this day.” (Breweries of Wisconsin). The Spring Brewery soon became the Jacob Leinenkugel Spring Brewery Company when John Miller sold his share in 1883 (Bottom’s Up).

It is said that “Jacob Leinenkugel…was more than a brewer of Leinenkugel’s beer. Described as a noble, magnanimous man and a generous contributor to Notre Dame Church, he served two years as mayor.” (Chippewa Falls Wisconsin). Indeed, Jacob Leinenkugel was more than just a brewer. He also had a rich family life. He had five children with his first wife, Josephine. The oldest, Mathias “Matt” Jacob was born in 1866. Their oldest daughter, Rose, was born in 1867. Their next oldest son, William, was born in 1870. Susan, the second oldest daughter, was born nine months later in 1870 (1870 Federal Census). And finally, they had one child who was born in 1873 but sadly passed away as an infant (Infant Leinenkugel). Josephine Leinenkugel passed away in 1890, at the age of 44 (Chippewa Falls Main Street). A few years later, Jacob Leinenkugel re-married in 1892. He married Anna Wilson and had two children. Della, the oldest, was born in 1894 and Edward was born in 1896 (1905 State Census).

Jacob-Leinenkugel-family-1842

In further blogs, I will touch on each of his children and their families. Unfortunately, William from Jacob Leinenkugel’s first marriage did not live very long. He passed away suddenly on January 22nd, 1897. The Chippewa Herald reported that he “…died at noon today of consumption after suffering about two years with this disease.” William had worked at the brewery with his father and the rest of his family. The paper states how he was “…a hard and faithful worker and a valuable assistant to his father who depended largely on his son’s good judgment on matters pertaining to the…business.” (Chippewa Herald).

Jacob Leinenkugel passed away on July 21st, 1899. Before his death, he contributed many things to Chippewa Falls, other than the Brewery. One of these accomplishments was erecting and owning the first creamery in the county. He was also able to serve as mayor three separate times in Chippewa Falls, in 1873, 1884, and 1891. All of these accomplishments paint a picture of a man who was “…a thoughtful, patriotic citizen, ever devoted to the welfare of the city and anxious in every way with his reach to promote the happiness and welfare of his fellow men.” (Daily Independent).

Leinenkugel-fermenting-tanks-1897
Leinenkugel’s fermenting tanks in 1897.

Another post at the website Chippewa Falls History explores Jacob Leinenkugel: The Later Years:

After Jacob Leinenkugel’s first wife, Josephine, passed away, he waited two years before marrying Anna Louise Wilson in 1892. Not nearly as much is known about his second marriage, but it’s still quite interesting.

Anna Louise Wilson was born in December of 1865, in Pennsylvania (Wisconsin State Census, 1905). Her parents were Bernhard and Eva Wehrle. Her father was born in 1823 and her mother in 1823. They were both born in Switzerland. Their whole family lived in St. Louis, Missouri, where her father worked as a backer (St. Louis 1880 Census).

After Jacob and Anna’s marriage in April, 1892, they had two children. The first was named Della and she was born in 1894 (Wisconsin State Census, 1905). However, there was no further information found on her after 1905. Their other child was Edward J. and he was born on September 21st, 1896 (Wisconsin Vital Record Index). Edward grew up to be a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army during World War I. He started his service on June 5th, 1918 (U.S. Veterans Gravesites). When he came back from the war, he married Eleanor in 1920 (1930 Federal Census). Edward and Eleanor lived in St. Paul, Minnesota for a short time after getting married, where Edward worked as a salesman (City Directories).

For the next few years, it appears they moved around as they started having a family. Patricia “Patty” Leinenkugel was born June 17th, 1923 in Illinois. Their second oldest, Joanne Leinenkugel, was born in 1927 in Missouri. Finally, their youngest, Roberta O. Leinenkugel, was born June 4th, 1929 in Florida (1930 Federal Census, Cook County Birth Index). According to the City Directories, Edward and Eleanor stayed in Tampa, Florida until 1932. During this time, Edward worked as a real estate agent and as a salesman. Then, in 1934, the family moved back to St. Paul, Minnesota. Here, Edward worked as a broker, a box maker, and a packer. In 1941, he worked as a packer for Swift & Co. (City Directories). Edward and Eleanor were able to live out the rest of their days together. Edward passed away on October 31st, 1967. Not even three years later, Eleanor passed away as well on August 6th, 1970 (Minnesota Death Index).

And this tray was created to commemorate the brewery’s 125th anniversary in 1992.

Leinenkugels-125th-Anniversary-Serving-Trays-10-16-inches-Jacob-Leinenkugel-Tray-1
Leinenkugels-125th-Anniversary-Serving-Trays-10-16-inches-Jacob-Leinenkugel-Tray-2

Historic Beer Birthday: Maria Best

pabst
Today is the birthday of Maria Best (May 16, 1842-October 3, 1906). She was the daughter of Philip Best and wife of Frederick Pabst.

maria-best

The photo below was taken around 1870. Here’s its description: “Quarter-length studio portrait of Maria Best Pabst (1842-1906). She is wearing a dress with leg of mutton sleeves and ornate embroidery. The daughter of successful Milwaukee brewer Phillip Best, Maria married Captain Frederick Pabst in 1862. Together they had ten children, only five of whom survived to adulthood. Pabst went into partnership with his father-in-law in 1863 and eventually owned what would become the Pabst Brewery.”

maria-best-1870

Frederick Pabst, before he became a brewery owner, was a steamship captain of the Huron, a Goodrich steamer on Lake Michigan. Maria Best, when she was a passenger on his ship, met the dashing Pabst and then began courting, marrying in 1862. Not long afterward, Pabst became a partner in his father-in-law’s business, the Philip Best Brewing Co.

maria-best-pabst

Historic Beer Birthday: Louis Hemrich

hemrich
Today is the birthday of Louis Hemrich (May 15, 1873-September 26, 1941). He was born in Wisconsin, and was the brother of Alvin M. Hemrich. Alvin bought the old Slorah Brewery in 1897 and operated it as the Alvin Hemrich Brewing Co. for six months, after which two of his brothers — Julius and Louis — joined him in the business and it became known as the Hemrich Brothers Brewing Co.

Louis-Hemrich

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

Louis Hemrich was born to John and Katherine Anna (Koeppel) Hemrich on May 15, 1873, although some records say May 20, 1872.

His father and brothers began operating breweries in Seattle in 1878. Louis began his career as a bookkeeper for Bay View Brewing in Seattle. By 1900 he was partnered with his brothers Senator Andrew Hemrich and Alvin Hemrich in owning and running the Hemrich Brother’s Brewing Co. and the brewing operations it controlled. It was successful enough to send his wife on a trip to Europe in 1902, and join her on trips to Europe and Hong Kong in 1907 and 1908. In 1914 he was President of the Brewers’ Association of the Northwest, and active in lobbying against prohibition of alcohol in Washington. When it passed, the breweries moved to California and British Columbia.

Louis was president of the family brewing company from 1910 until about 3 years before his death.
He married Lizzie Hanna on May 10, 1897 in Seattle, WA, and was widowed in Oct. of 1918. It appears they did not have children. He married Mrs. Maude Etta Engel before Dec. 1923.

Louis-Hemrich-cartoon

And here’s a fuller account of Hemrich from “A Volume of Memoirs and Genealogy of Representative Citizens of the City of Seattle and County of King, Washington,” published in 1903:

A Biographical record of the representative men of Seattle and King county would be incomplete and unsatisfactory without a personal and somewhat detailed mention of those whose lives are interwoven so closely with the industrial activities of this section. In the subject of this review, who is secretary and treasurer of the Hemrich Brothers Brewing Company, we find a young man of that progressive, alert and discriminating type through which has been brought about the magnificent commercial and material development of the Pacific northwest, and it is with satisfaction that we here note the more salient points in his honorable and useful career.

Louis Hemrich was born in the town of Alma, Buffalo county, Wisconsin, on the 20th of May, 1872, a son of John and Catherine (Koeppel) Hemrich, the former of whom was born in Baden, Germany, and the latter in Bavaria. They came to America and resided in Wisconsin for a number of years, removing thence to Seattle when the subject of this sketch was a lad of about fourteen years, his rudimentary educational training having been secured in the public schools of his native state, while he continued his studies thereafter in the public schools of Seattle, where he prepared himself for college. At the age of eighteen years he matriculated in the University of Washington, where he completed a commercial course. After leaving school Mr. Hemrich took a position as bookkeeper for the Seattle Brewing & Malting Company, where he remained for a period of three years and was then elected secretary and treasurer of the company, in which capacity he rendered most effective service for the ensuing two years. He then resigned this office and forthwith became associated with his brothers in the organization of the Hemrich Brothers Brewing Co., which was duly incorporated under the laws of the state. They erected a fine plant, where is produced a lager of the most excellent order, the purity, fine flavor and general attractiveness of the product giving it a high reputation, while the business is conducted upon the highest principles of honor and fidelity, so that its rapid expansion in scope and importance came as a natural sequel.

As a business man Mr. Hemrich has shown marked acumen and mature judgment, and his progressive ideas and his confidence in the future of his home city have been signalized by the investments which he has made in local realty and by the enterprise he has shown in the improving of his various properties. In 1901 he erected in the village of Ballard, a suburb of Seattle, a fine brick business block, located at the corner of First Avenue and Charles Street, and he has also erected a number of substantial business buildings in the city of Seattle, together with a number of dwellings. He is the owner of valuable timber lands in the state and has well selected realty in other towns and cities aside from those already mentioned. He has recently accumulated a tract of land on Beacon Hill, and this will be platted for residence purposed and is destined to become one of the most desirable sections of the city. Mr. Hemrich erected his own beautiful residence, one of the finest in the city, in 1901, the same being located on the southwest corner of Belmont Avenue and Republican Street. It is substantial and commodious, of effective architectural design, having the most modern equipments and accessories and is a home which would do credit to any metropolitan community.

While Mr. Hemrich takes an abiding interest in all that concerns the advancement and material upbuilding of his home city and state, he has never taken an active part in political affairs, maintaining an independent attitude in this regard and giving his support to men and measures. Fraternally he is a popular member of the Ancient Order of United Workmen and the Fraternal Order of Eagles, and he is most highly esteemed in both business and social circles. On the 20th of May, 1897, in the city of Seattle, Mr. Hemrich was united in marriage to Miss Eliza Hanna, daughter of Nicholas and Mary Hanna, who were numbered among the early settlers of this city, where Mrs. Hemrich was born and reared and where she has been prominent in the best social life.”

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To that, Gary Flynn on his great Brewery Gems continued his story:

Less than a year after the article was published, Elizabeth, his wife of 10 years suddenly died. And on 2 May, 1910, his brother, Andrew, president of Seattle Brewing & Malting – succumbed to an illness and passed away. Louis then assumed his brother’s position as president of the company and continued to oversee its phenomenal growth. By 1914 the brewery was the largest west of the Mississippi and 6th largest in the world. Additionally, it was the largest industrial enterprise in the state of Washington. But this too was to pass.

Unfortunately, statewide prohibition was approved by Washingtonians in late 1914. Breweries were given until the end of 1915 to liquidate their stock and terminate the production of alcoholic beverages. Some plants continued operating through production of near-beer and/or soft drinks. But Louis charted a new course for the House of Hemrich.

Rainier Beer had been marketed in California since the early 1890s, and had a strong customer base there. So, convinced that the whole nation would not make the same mistake as Washington state, the Hemrichs chose to build a new brewery in San Francisco.

The plan was was announced in March of 1915, and by October the plant was in operation. The Rainier Brewing Co. was new in name only. Louis Hemrich was president and the other officers, and many of the workers, were all from Seattle.

Success continued in California, but again Prohibition dealt a crippling blow to the enterprise. Beginning in 1920 the brewery was forced to adopt the production of malt beverages and soft drinks in order to keep the plant running.

Now Louis looked to Canada for a way to keep the House of Hemrich solvent. They purchased the old Imperial Brewery in Kamloops, B.C., and established the Rainier Brewing Company Ltd., Inc. in 1922. The hope was that Prohibition would not last, but by 1927 – with no hope of Repel any time soon – The Hemrich family tired of the Canadian venture and sold to a group of investors. This group became Coast Breweries, Ltd. in 1928, and retained rights to the Rainier brand in Canada.

In 1931, Louis, along with Joseph Goldie, formed an investment group who purchased the Georgetown plant in Seattle and the San Francisco plant from the estate of his brother Andrew Hemrich. When Prohibition finally ended, and the plant re-opened, Louis Hemrich was CEO, and Jos. Goldie, president. At this time they entered into negotiations with Emil Sick, who had leased the old Bay View plant, for the rights to market Rainier Beer in Washington and Alaska.

On July 4th, 1935 the merger of the Rainier Brewing Co. of San Francisco with the Century Brewing Association of Seattle was made public. The new corporation was named the Seattle Brewing & Malting Co., and had Louis Hemrich as chairman of the board of directors, with Emil Sick, president.

In July 1938, Louis Hemrich retired from active involvement, but remained on the Rainier Brewing Co. board of directors. A little over three years later, on 26 September 1941, Louis succumbed after battling a three month illness. He was survived by his spouse, Etta Maude, and two daughters.

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Hemrich Brothers Brewing around 1900.

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Historic Beer Birthday: Joseph Schlitz

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Today is the birthday of Joseph Schlitz (May 15, 1831-May 7, 1875). “A native of Mainz, Germany, Schlitz emigrated to the U.S. in 1850. In 1856 he assumed management of the Krug Brewery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In 1858 he married Krug’s widow and changed the name of the company to the Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company. He became more successful after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, when he donated hundreds of barrels of beer as part of the relief effort. Many of Chicago’s breweries that had burnt were never to reopen; Schlitz established a distribution point there and acquired a large portion of the Chicago market.”

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Here’s a biography from Find a Grave:

Businessman, Beer magnate. He propelled the tiny Krug brewery of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, into the giant Joseph Schlitz Brewing Co. Born in Mainz, Rheinhessen, Germany, he had a fair education with a four-year course in bookkeeping and had already acquired some practical business experience when he arrived in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in 1850. There he landed a position as bookkeeper for August Krug’s brewery and became a valuable asset and close friend. The same year, August Uihlein, age 8, accompanied by his grandfather, Georg Krug, a 68 year old innkeeper from Miltenberg, Bavaria, came to Milwaukee to see his uncle August. The brewery’s total production in 1850 was about 250 barrels annually and by 1855 it was up to 1,500. Upon Krug’s death in 1856 Schlitz assumed management of the Krug Brewery and in 1858 he married Krug’s widow, invested his own savings and changed the name of the company to the Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company. Capable of storing 2,000 barrels in 1858 he had increased production to 5,578 barrels of beer in 1867 when the brewery ranked as the number 4 brewery in Milwaukee behind Valentine Blatz and two others. He enjoyed further success after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, when he donated thousands of barrels of beer to that city, which had lost most of its breweries, thereby making Schlitz “the beer that made Milwaukee famous.” He quickly opened a distribution point there and began a national expansion. Schlitz returned to visit Germany in 1875 and died when his ship hit a rock near Land’s End, England, and sank. He was one of Milwaukee’s richest men and his company was brewing almost 70,000 barrels a year. Despite the loss of Schlitz the company remained viable through a lesson he had learned from August Krug’s death. Wisely inserted into his will, two provisions ensured the company’s health after his passing: one stipulated the business could never remove “Joseph Schlitz” from its name; the other appointed Krug’s nephew, the same one Krug brought over from Germany as an eight year old in 1850, to be head of the brewery. Schlitz’s choice of then 33 year old August Uihlein couldn’t have been better as he, along with his brothers Henry and Edward, continued the business strategies initiated by Schlitz. The company developed a system of agencies across the United States to sell beer, and developed its own vast rail distribution system taking it from tenth largest US brewer in 1877 to third by 1895. Being among the top three breweries was little comfort when prohibition came about. But the company met the challenge as did others, restructuring the brewery as Joseph Schlitz Beverage Co. to produce near beer, yeast, soft drinks, malt syrup and a chocolate candy named “Eline” (a phonetic play on Uihlein). Returning to brewing in 1933, the company moved ahead on expansion plans that led them to second and finally first place in US beer production. For the next 40 the years the company would remain near the top and at one point was ranked as the largest in the world until its purchase by Stroh Brewing of Detroit, Michigan (now owned by Pabst Brewing Co.). The Schlitz name remains prominent even today in Milwaukee through a number of prominent city landmarks in Milwaukee including Schlitz Park, the Schlitz Hotel, and the famous Schlitz Palm Garden that were funded by his brewery.

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This account is from the Milwaukee Independent as if Schlitz was a young businessman worthy of recognition as one of “Forty under 40:”

Probably one of the most famous names associated with Milwaukee beer history. Schlitz was born in Mainz, Germany where he received his education and also a four year program in bookkeeping. He arrived in Milwaukee in 1850 and shortly thereafter was hired by August Krug to be the bookkeeper for his growing brewery. From 1850 up to 1855 the brewery grew from 250 barrels to 1500 barrels a year. Following a German practice Schlitz and other brewery employees lived with their employer. Work was generally 10 hours a day six days a week.

In the same year that Schlitz arrived in Milwaukee another arrival was 8 year old August Uihlien, a future head of the brewery, whose uncle was August Krug. Krug was injured in a brewery accident in 1856 and died as a result of his injuries. It is reported that Krug, realizing he was dying, told Anna Marie, his wife, that she could depend on Schlitz to help run the brewery. Whether this is true or not, Schlitz began to play a major role in running the brewery and in 1858, two years after Krug’s death, Joseph and Anna Marie were married. Schlitz invested in the brewery and then changed the name of the brewery to Schlitz Brewery.

Under Schlitz the brewery was growing and by 1867 brewing 5,775 barrels a year, making it the 4th largest brewery in Milwaukee just behind Blatz brewery. In 1871the great Chicago fire destroyed the local breweries and Schlitz and others saw an opportunity to gain market share by offering free beer for short period and then building distribution capacity in Chicago. This was also the beginning of Schlitz starting a national distribution effort to expand the business eventually becoming the largest brewery in the U.S. Schlitz, Pabst and Budweiser would vie for this number one distinction with Budweiser the eventual winner.

Schlitz was also an avid marksman and took a trip back to Germany in 1875 to participate in a sporting event as well as visiting family. Upon his return to Milwaukee his ship, the Schiller, sank off of Land’s End, England. His body was never recovered; his wife even offered a $25,000 prize for recovery. The Schlitz monument at Forest Home is a cenotaph, term for monument for someone who is not actually buried at that location. The monument also has a rendering of the ship the Schiller at its base.

Schlitz and his wife had no children and thus Anna Marie turned to the nephews of August Krug, the Uihlien brothers, to help run the brewing business. Once the brothers gained control of the brewery they did consider changing the name of the brewery, but they determined that the brand name Schlitz was too well established to change. The famous brewer marketing phrase, “The beer that made Milwaukee famous” came into being in the early 1900s.

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And this part of longer article on Immigrant Entrepreneurship entitled “Political Revolution, Emigration, and Establishing a Regional Player in Brewing: August Krug and Joseph Schlitz.” This is whereSchlitz entered the story:

Joseph Schlitz (born May 15, 1831 in Mainz, Rhenish Hesse, Kingdom of Prussia; died: May 7, 1875 at sea), the namesake of the Schlitz brand, has often been presented as a successful visionary whose career as an American industrial titan was tragically cut short before accomplishing his greatest potential achievements. In this narrative, August Krug is often relegated to the role of an unimportant precursor. It is difficult to push back against such narratives that have been critical in shaping perceptions of nineteenth-century U.S. business history as a saga of intrepid leadership. Joseph Schlitz was indeed an important brewer and entrepreneur. But in fact the nationwide fame of his name owes more to the development of the brewing business under his successors, the Uihlein brothers, rather than his own accomplishments.

Schlitz was born on May 31, 1831, in Mayence (Mainz), as the son of Johann Schlitz, a cooper and wine trader, and his wife Louisa. He was trained as a bookkeeper but also learned the basics of brewing in his parents’ milieu. With this he surely had good preparatory skills for a business career but it is highly doubtful that he received “an excellent mercantile education and decided financial ability.” Joseph Schlitz arrived on June 15, 1849 in New York after a journey from Le Havre on the Charleston-based 600-ton sailing vessel Noemie. He described himself as already a merchant and told the officials that he planned to stay in New York.

Instead, he went to Harrisburg, Pa., where he was probably engaged in managing a brewery. He moved to Milwaukee and joined the Krug brewery in 1850. After his marriage to Anna Maria Krug in 1858, he renamed the brewery after himself in 1858. Well-known and respected as a shrewd businessman, he was able to enlarge his company and his private fortune. In 1860, with real estate valued at $25,000 and additional assets of $50,000 (roughly $675,000 and $1.35 million, respectively, in 2010 dollars), Schlitz was already one of the richest men in Milwaukee. At that time, his household included his wife, two 26-year-old servants from Austria, and four young male immigrants from Bavaria, Hesse, and Baden, working as barkeeper, bookkeeper, brewer and in a beer hall. This was not a typical upper-middle-class household. Instead, Schlitz maintained the traditional German model of the Ganze Haus, in which an artisan and his apprentices lived under the same roof. However, the success story was not a linear one. The 1870 census valued Schlitz’s real estate at $34,000 ($626,000 in 2010 dollars), while his additional assets had declined to $28,000 ($586,000 and $483,000, respectively, in 2010 dollars). The Schlitz home now accommodated no fewer than sixteen people, fifteen of them of German descent, with only one U.S.-born servant. August Uihlein, at that time bookkeeper of the brewery, also lived under the Schiltzes’ roof.

Schlitz lived a scandal-free life. He tended to support the Democratic Party but was never a party man. He was a Catholic, a Mason, and a member of various lodges and associations, but these connections were apparently more important for business than for individual enlightenment. Schlitz registered for military service at the beginning of the Civil War, but never saw active duty.

His growing wealth, together with his reputation as a trustworthy businessman, was crucial for attaining business positions that both aided his core brewing business but also provided opportunities for investing his profits. When Milwaukee’s Second Ward Bank was reorganized in 1866, Joseph Schlitz became a director alongside other brewers like Philip Best and Valentine Blatz, and it became known as “the Brewers Bank.” The directorship carried innate prestige; indeed, in the first reports of Schlitz’s death he was described as “the President of a Banking Association in Milwaukee.” Other business endeavors were closely related to his German-American community. Schlitz was a director of the “Northwestern gegenseitige Kranken-Unterstützungs-Gesellschaft,” a life insurance company initiated by some of the city’s most prominent German-American businessmen. Such business endeavors were necessary as a civic answer to the severe lack of social insurance and public social subventions in nineteenth-century America. Citizens had to take care of their own risks, and ethnic communities and businesses strove to provide responses to such concerns. Schlitz was also secretary of the Brewer’s Protective Insurance Company of the West, which eventually became the Brewers’ Fire Insurance Co. of America. Realizing the immense number of fires in general and in the brewing business in particular, this was a self-help solution that was necessary for both risk management and to protect a company’s capacity to grow.

Schlitz died in one of the largest shipping disasters of the late nineteenth century. After an absence of 26 years, he was planning to visit his town of birth, Mayence. The loss of the steam ship Schiller on May 7, 1875, off the coast of Cornwall, caused 335 casualties, including several prominent Milwaukee residents, and it was “painfully interesting to thousands of Milwaukee people.” The Milwaukee Board of Trade passed resolutions out of respect in memory of Joseph Schlitz and German-immigrant merchant Hermann Zinkeisen, head of the commission house Zinkeisen, Bartlett & Co. His body was never recovered, but a cenotaph was nonetheless erected at Milwaukee’s Forest Home Cemetery. His wife offered a $25,000 reward for the corpse, but it was never found. In 1880, a rumor that the remains had been discovered caused a sensation but in the end, it was discovered to be a hoax. Schlitz had a life insurance policy of $50,000 (just over $1 million in 2010 dollars), a sum helpful for the further expansion of his brewery.

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Beer Birthday: Dan Carey

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Today is the 57th birthday of Dan Carey, the mad alchemist brewer of New Glarus Brewing. I first met Dan at Hop School in Yakima, Washington many years ago, but I’ve been enjoying his beers far longer than that. He’s a fellow lover of brewing history and a terrific person, as well as one of the industry’s finest brewers. Join me in wishing Dan a very happy birthday.

Dan Carey, from New Glarus, and Me
Dan and me at GABF in 2010.

Daniel Bradford & Dan Carey @ Rare Beer Tasting
Two Dans: Daniel Bradford and Dan Carey at the Rare Beer Tasting 2009 at Wynkoop.