Historic Beer Birthday: Jacob Leinenkugel

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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).

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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.

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Historic Beer Birthday: Maria Best

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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.

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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.”

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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.

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Historic Beer Birthday: Louis Hemrich

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

Historic Beer Birthday: Stephen Weber

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Today is the birthday of Stephen Weber (May 11, 1822-September 2, 1901). He was born in Bavaria, but settled in Waukesha, Wisconsin, where he founded the Weber Brewing Co. in 1862. There’s not much I could fund about Weber, and also I could not find a portrait of him.

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Here’s a short biography of Stephen Weber from “The History of Waukesha County, Wisconsin.”

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Here’s Weber’s obituary from the Waukesha Freeman, Thursday, September 12, 1901.

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Historic Beer Birthday: Jacob Best

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Today is the birthday of Jacob Best (May 1, 1786-February 26, 1861). Best founded the brewery that eventually became Pabst Brewing Co., with his four sons in 1844. The Best family’s business was originally called “The Empire Brewery,” and then as the “Jacob Best & Sons Brewery” until 1859 when Phillip Best took over the firm and renamed it the “Phillip Best Brewing Company.” Upon Phillip’s retirement Frederick Pabst and Emil Schandein became the company’s president and vice-president in the mid-1860s and the brewery’s name was amended to Phillip Best & Company. After Schandein died, the company was renamed the Pabst Brewing Company in 1889.

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Here’s a short biography from Find a Grave:

Business Magnate. Jacob Best learned the brewer’s trade in his hometown of Hesse Darnstadt, Germany, and then moved on to operate a small brewery in Mattenheim. In 1840, two of Best’s four sons immigrated to America, settling in the Kilbourntown section of Milwaukee. They were joined by Jacob Best, his two younger sons and other family members in 1844. With his sons, Jacob Best opened the Empire Brewery producing lager beer, whiskey and vinegar. As demand increased of light lager beer, the firm changed its name to Best & Company. Retiring in 1853, Jacob Best transferred ownership to Lorenz and Phillip. After 1860, Phillip assumed sole control of the brewery which became the Pabst Brewing Company. While retired, Jacob Best held local political offices, first as a ward assessor and the school commissioner. He remained active until his death.

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Immigrant Entrepreneurship has a lengthy article about the Bests, centered around Frederick Pabst, but with background that includes Jacob Best:

In 1844, Phillip Best (born September 26, 1814, in Mettenheim, Grand Duchy of Hesse; died July 17, 1869, in Altenglan, Kingdom of Bavaria), together with his father and three brothers, opened the Jacob Best & Sons Brewery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Twenty years later, Phillip’s son-in-law Frederick Pabst (born March 28, 1836, in Nikolausrieth, Kingdom of Prussia; died January 1, 1904, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin) joined the company and helped to transform it into the nation’s leading beer producer – first in 1874 and then again in 1879, a position that was maintained until the turn of the twentieth century. As the company’s president, the former ship captain led the firm through a remarkable period of growth and the Pabst Brewing Company (as it came to be called from 1889 onwards) became the epitome of a successful national shipping brewery. Pabst not only contributed to the firm’s (and Milwaukee’s) economic growth, he also left a permanent cultural and social mark both on the German-American community and on the public at large. A decade after the height of his success, Pabst died on New Year’s Eve of 1904, passing on his commercial and cultural legacy to his sons.

The Best family’s relocation from Mettenheim to Milwaukee went relatively smoothly. After spending a few weeks in the summer of 1844 looking for a suitable location, Jacob Sr. purchased two lots on Chestnut Street (today West Juneau Avenue) on September 10 and founded the Empire Brewery. Jacob Sr.’s sons, Charles and Lorenz, soon went on to establish independent brewing ventures, so Jacob Sr. formed a new partnership with his other two sons, Phillip and Jacob Jr., in 1851, which stayed in place until Jacob Sr. retired two years later. After several arguments about the expansion of the firm, Jacob Jr. sold out to Phillip on October 1, 1859, who continued the business as its sole proprietor under the name of the Phillip Best Brewing Company.

In its inaugural year, the Best brewery produced 300 barrels (one barrel equaling 31 US gallons). The firm initially produced ale and porter, but added German-style lager on February 22, 1845. In 1847, Phillip reported in a letter to his wife’s family that the business was developing well and selling 28-30 barrels of beer weekly for $4.50 per barrel ($5 if delivered). The brewery owned three horses for the malt grinding mill, as well as for deliveries in the city and county, and planned to buy another. By 1850, the company’s 2,500-barrel annual production classified it as a medium-sized producer, ranking fourth out of the twelve largest reported breweries in Wisconsin.

As production increased, the company acquired and built new facilities. In 1850, the family purchased a lot on Market Street between Biddle and Martin Streets (today East Kilbourn Avenue and East State Street). Five years later, the company built a new brick house on Market Street with a beer hall on the ground floor, and in 1857 it erected a new main brewery on the north side of Chestnut Street between Ninth and Tenth Streets with large storage cellars. The Milwaukee Sentinel reported on October 9, 1857, that the brewery had the “deepest cellars in the city” and it may be seen from almost any part of the city. The building is a fine looking one, and were it not for a life-sized figure of a sturdy Teuton which is perched on top, in the act of sipping a glass of lager, one would never suspect its being a brewery. It has much more the appearance of a public building of some sort.

The article went on to explain that demand for Best beer was not only “constantly increasing” locally but also across the whole nation: “Everybody has tasted Best’s beer, and it’s very generally acknowledged to be the best in the country.” Although the article certainly exaggerated the national impact of Best’s beer at mid-century, the company had begun to sell their brands outside Wisconsin in the early 1850s when it established a sales office in Chicago, Illinois. While Milwaukee and the surrounding region provided the main market for Best products throughout the second half of the nineteenth century, this early effort to serve the national and – beginning in the 1860s – international market was a distinctive feature of the company’s development.

Best’s production and profits increased during the nationwide economic boom of the 1850s, but the panic of 1857 and the economic disruption of the Civil War slowed the firm’s growth rate. At the height of its early prosperity in 1857, the brewery employed steam power to produce nearly 40,000 barrels a year and was valued at $50,000 (approximately $1.4 million in 2014$). It employed eight men and used ten horses for delivery. Not until after the Civil War would these production levels be reached again. But as the expansion of the family business began to stall, Phillip made his two sons-in-law, Frederick Pabst and Emil Schandein, equal partners in 1864 and 1866 – a decision which turned out to have a lasting impact on the future development of the company.

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The Best’s brewery in 1880, a few years after Jacob died and it became the Philip Best Brewing Co.

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Historic Beer Birthday: Emil Schandein

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Today is the birthday of Emil Schandein (April 15, 1840-July 22, 1888). He was born in Bavaria, Germany, but emigrated to America when he was sixteen, in 1856. Arriving first in New York, he moved shortly thereafter to Philadelphia, and moved around quite a bit, until finally settling in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1866 where he joined the Philip Best & Co. brewery staff. That same year he married Best’s daughter Lisette, and her father sold the remaining half of the business to her husband, making Frederick Pabst president, and Schandein vice-president. Schandein was a director of the brewery from 1873-1888. When he passed away in 1888, Lisette was elected vice-president.

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This is the Google translation of Emil’s German Wikipedia page:

Schandein was born in 1840 in Obermoschel . His parents were the royal tax and community beneficiary Joseph Wilhelm Schandein (1800-1862) and Louisa Schandein (b. Barth). His uncle was the historian Ludwig Schandein.

At the age of 16 he emigrated to the USA and settled in Philadelphia . After working in different cities, he moved to Watertown, Wisconsin, in 1863. There he married Elizabetha “Lisette” Best, a daughter of the breeder owner Phillip Best.

Together with his brother-in-law Frederick Pabst, he bought shares in his Philip Best Brewing Company and from 1873 until his death took the post of vice-president.

In addition to his work for the brewery, Schandein was one of the founders and first president of the German Society of Milwaukee. He was also director of the Northwestern Life Insurance Company, the Second Ward Savings Bank and President of the Milwaukee Brewers Association.

Emil Schandein died in 1888 during a stay in Germany. He is buried at the Forest Home Cemetery in Milwaukee.

Only after his death was in 1889, the Saddle Your Mansion, a villa in the German Renaissance style, on the 24th and Grand Avenue (now Wisconsin Avenue) in Milwaukee completed. The Milwaukee County Emergency Hospital was built in 1929 on the site of the building.

His widow, Lisette Schandein, assumed his post as vice president after his death until 1894. She died in 1905 during a stay in Germany.

Shandein bequeathed part of his estate to the Kaiserslauter Kreisrealschule and to the Pfälzisches Gewerbemuseum. The Schandeinstrasse in Kaiserslautern is named after him. The Schandeinstrasse in Speyer, however, is named after his uncle Ludwig.

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This Phillip Best Brewing Co. stock certificate, from 1873, is signed by then-president Emil Schandein.

This is from the “National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. III,” published in 1891:

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Historic Beer Birthday: August Krug

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Today is the birthday of August Krug (April 15, 1815-December 30, 1856). Krug was born in Miltenberg, Bavaria, Germany, but when he was 33, in 1848, emigrated to the U.S. and settle in central Wisconsin. He opened a restaurant and the following year, 1849, added a brewery, which was known then as the August Krug Brewery. When he died young, in 1856, his bookkeeper, Joseph Schlitz took over management on behalf of Krug’s widow, Anna Marie. In 1858, Schlitz married Krug’s widow and renamed the brewery after himself.

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Here’s a biography of him from Find-a-Grave:

Brewer. His August Krug Brewery was the foundation that became the giant Joseph Schlitz Brewing Co. in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Born Georg August Krug in Miltenberg, Bavaria, Germany, he came to the USA about 1848, established a restaurant in Kilbourntown (now central Milwaukee), Wisconsin and added a small brewery in 1849 which, limited by lack of refrigeration to brewing in cooler months, produced about 150 barrels the first year. In 1850, his father, Georg Krug, came to visit, surviving a shipwreck on the way. The father managed to save himself, Krug’s eight-year-old nephew August Uihlein and $800 in gold. The gold was used to expand the brewery and hire four people, including Joseph Schlitz as bookkeeper. Krug, who is credited with building Kilawukee’s first underground brewer’s vault tunneled into the hill to provide the consistent cool temperatures essential to brewing and storage, died seven years after his brewery produced its first barrel of beer. The bookkeeper, Schlitz, acquired both his brewery and then his widow after Krug died in 1856. The brewery’s market share increased steadily, and sales doubled when Schlitz entered the Chicago market immediately after the Chicago Fire in 1871. Schlitz was lost at sea in 1875, after which Krug’s four nephews began the Uihlein dynasty that was to run the company during its long history. In the 1960s, Schlitz was the second-largest brewer in the world; during the 1970s it was troubled by indictments for improper marketing, by insufficient advertising and by public resentment over a change in the brewing recipe; finally a 1981 strike lead to the closure of their Milwaukee plant although it was still the USA’s third-largest brewer when purchased by the Stroh Brewery Company of Detroit (now part of Pabst Brewing Co.) in 1982.

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The August Krug Brewery, c. 1850s.

This portion of the brewery’s history from Immigrant Entrepreneurship is entitled “Political Revolution, Emigration, and Establishing a Regional Player in Brewing: August Krug and Joseph Schlitz” and is the early section that includes Krug’s contributions:

At the beginning was the German revolution of 1848. Georg August Krug (born April 15, 1815 in Miltenberg, grand duchy of Hesse-Darmstadt; died: December 30, 1856 in Milwaukee, WI) was born the son of Georg Anton Krug (1785–1860) and Anna Marie Ludwig (1784–1864), who owned the brewery “Zum Weißen Löwen,” the predecessor of today’s Faust brewery, in Miltenberg. This was a small and contested town at the River Main, which belonged until 1803 to the Electorate of Mayence (Mainz), became part of the grand duchy of Baden in 1806, was transferred to the grand duchy of Hesse-Darmstadt in 1810, and finally became part of the Kingdom of Bavaria in 1816. Georg August Krug worked in the family business but also became a member of a group of revolutionists surrounding a local doctor and farmer, Jakob Nöthig, who later emigrated to the U.S. after he was accused of being a ringleader (Rädelsführerei) of a local band of political agitators and other offenses against the Bavarian authorities. Krug and his father were among the petitioners in Miltenberg on March 8, 1848 who demanded liberal reforms. On the following day Miltenberg was shaken by protests and turmoil, and Bavarian armed forces reestablished order. Facing official prosecution, the younger Krug became part of the first wave of politically-motivated emigration. He arrived in the United States in May 1848, where he used only his second name and where he was naturalized on December 15, 1854.

In Milwaukee, at that time a preferred destination for the 48ers, August Krug established, probably with his savings, a saloon and restaurant on 4th and Chestnut Streets. Far from Bavaria, he still managed to receive additional support from his family. First, his fiancée Anna Maria Wiesmann Hartig arrived from Miltenberg (Oct. 9, 1819–Jan. 20, 1887) and they eventually married—likely in 1849. She was the daughter of Michael Wiesmann and Christina Schlohr, both from Miltenberg. Her presence allowed an expansion of his business activities. While Anna Maria Krug managed the restaurant, August Krug started a small brewing business at a nearby building at 420 Chestnut Street in 1849. Second, his father Georg Anton Krug arrived in the United States on October 25, 1850, accompanied by his grandson, 8-year-old August Uihlein. Such visits were not without risk: the visitors travelled on the Helena Sloman, the first German steamship on the transatlantic route. It encountered distress at sea on November 28, 1850 and sunk. Nine people were killed, but the vast majority of the crew and the passengers, in total 175 persons, were rescued by the American ship Devonshire. Georg Anton Krug lost a Bavarian beer pump, which went down with the wreckage, but he rescued $800 in gold (or $23,000 in 2010 dollars). This capital was invested into the brewery of his son and used to hire three additional employees, including a bookkeeper named Joseph Schlitz.

August Krug became a respected citizen. In 1850, his real estate property was valued at $1,600 ($46,100 in 2010 dollars). His household consisted of five people: himself and his wife Anna Maria, two brewery workers (both from Bavaria), and a young 18-year-old women, probably a servant. Krug was apparently a respected voice in his neighborhood, as his name was invoked in a newspaper advertisement for a local fireproof tile maker. He could afford to visit Germany in 1855, where he was able to meet with his relatives again.

By the mid-1850s, Krug already saw himself as a competitor for preeminence with other German immigrant brewers in Milwaukee in particular the Best family and Miltenberg-born Valentin Blatz (1826–1894). However, he was injured in an accident late in 1856, when he tumbled down a hatchway, and passed away several days later. The value of the eleven lots of real estate he owned was estimated at $20,050 ($532,000 in 2010 dollars). There were a total of $15,296.76 in claims and demands against the estate, including $276.50 owed to bookkeeper Joseph Schlitz (in 2010 dollars, equivalent to roughly $406,000 and $7,330, respectively).

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Historic Beer Birthday: George Gund II

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Today is the birthday of George Gund II (April 13, 1888-November 15, 1966). He was the son of George F. Gund and the grandson of John Gund, the founder of John Gund Brewing, of La Crosse, Wisconsin, and the brother of Henry Gund and John Gund Jr., who founded Lexington Brewing, in Lexington, Kentucky. George Frederick Gund founded Gund Brewing Co., of Cleveland, Ohio. Despite the brewing heritage, Gund II “was an American banker, business executive, and real estate investor who lived in Cleveland, Ohio in the early and middle part of the 20th century. Heir to the George Frederick Gund brewing and banking fortune, he was a philanthropist for most of his life. He established The George Gund Foundation in 1952 and endowed it with most of his $600 million fortune at his death.”

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Here’s his biography from Wikipedia:

Gund’s grandfather, Johann Gund, was born in 1830 in Brühl am Rhein in the independent country of the Grand Duchy of Baden (now part of Germany). The family emigrated to the United States in 1848 and settled in Illinois, but in 1854 moved to La Crosse, Wisconsin. There his grandfather founded the John Gund Brewery. His father, George Frederick Gund, was born in LaCrosse in 1856 and later managed the Gund Brewery. His father moved to Seattle, Washington, founded the Seattle Brewing and Malting Company, became a director of two banks, and then returned to the Midwest to move his family to Cleveland in 1897. His father bought the Jacob Mall Brewing Company, renamed it the Gund Brewing Company, and made a large fortune investing in banking, mining, and real estate.

George Gund, Jr. (as he was then known) was born to George Frederick and Anna Louise (Metzger) Gund on April 13, 1888. He was a student at the University School of Cleveland from 1897 to 1905. He entered Harvard University, and received his A.B. in 1909. Toward the end of his Harvard education, he simultaneously enrolled in the Harvard Business School, and graduated in the school’s first class in 1909. He moved to Seattle and took a job as a clerk with the Seattle First National Bank, but moved back to Cleveland when his father died in 1916. But when World War I broke out, he enlisted in the United States Army and served in the Military Intelligence Division.

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The Jacob Mall Brewing Co. when George Gund bought it in 1897.

After the start of prohibition in the United States in 1920, Gund was forced to close his father’s brewery in Cleveland. But during the war, Kaffee HAG, a German corporation, was stripped of its assets in the United States. Among its subsidiaries was Sanka, the company which manufactured decaffeinated coffee. Gund purchased Sanka in 1919, then sold it to Kellogg’s in 1927 for $10 million in stock. Gund also took over management of the Gund Realty Company in Cleveland and invested his money in numerous ventures. During the depths of the Great Depression, he purchased large amounts of stock at very low prices.

Gund studied animal husbandry at Iowa State University from 1922 to 1923. He made many trips to California and Nevada, often staying there for many months at a time, and became interested in a possible political career in Nevada. He purchased a large cattle ranch in Nevada, but on May 23, 1936, he married Jessica Laidlaw Roesler. She was the granddaughter of Henry Bedell Laidlaw, the founder of one of the first investment banking houses in New York City, Laidlaw & Company. Gund purchased a large home in Beachwood, a wealthy suburb of Cleveland, and the couple had six children: George III, Agnes, Gordon, Graham, Geoffrey, and Louise.

In 1937, Gund was elected a director of the Cleveland Trust Company (a savings bank established in 1896), and was named president in 1941. He was made chairman of the board of trustees in 1962. Under Gund’s leadership, by 1967 the bank had more than $2 billion in assets, making it the 18th largest bank in the United States. Gund also served on the board of directors of another 30 national and multinational corporations. But despite the urban nature of his work, Gund never lost his affection for the Old West. He used his income to collect a large number of works of art which depicted the American West, including works by Albert Bierstadt, Frederic Remington, and Charles Marion Russell.

George Gund died of leukemia at the Cleveland Clinic on November 15, 1966. He was interred at Lake View Cemetery in Cleveland.

His foundation also has a nice biography of him.

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