Sunday’s ad is for Bass Ale, from 1937. Bass Ale was one of the beers that helped push me away from the regional lagers I grew up drinking in Eastern Pennsylvania, and toward more flavorful beers. Jazz clubs in New York City in the late 1970s frequently carried Bass, and I really liked how different it tasted, compared to what I was used to. In this ad, another one from the “Great Stuff This Bass” series,” they’re also employing another regular character from this time period, “Bill Sticker,” who in this ad just hung a ginormous banner on an Egyptian pyramid as someone is arriving riding on a camel. And I’ll bet they’re thirsty. What to drink, what to drink?
Archives for September 17, 2017
Today is the birthday of John Fitzgerald (1838-September 17, 1885). No one is sure of his actual birthdate. Not even his tombstone gives it, listing only the date he died and saying he was age 47 in 1885. So today will have to do. There isn’t much biographical information about John Fitzgerald. His brother Edmund acquired in 1866 the Troy, New York brewery that was founded in 1852 which was first known as Lundy & Ingram Brewery, but went through several name changes before it was changed to the Fitzgerald Bros. Brewery when John and their other brother Michael joined the business. Michael left the business in 1870, but Edmund and John soldiered on and the family business, although they stopped brewing in 1963, continues to this day in New York. The brewery survived prohibition and continued brewing afterwards until 1963, when the family shut down the brewery and became a Pepsi bottler and distributor, among other products, and for 25 years was a Coors distributor. Today the company is known as Fitzgerald Brothers Beverages, Inc. – Glens Falls Bottler and Beverage Distributor.
This account of the brewery is from “The City of Troy and Its Vicinity,” by Arthur James Weise, published in 1886:
This is the history presented on the current company’s website:
Fitzgerald Brothers Beverages, Inc. was founded in 1857 in Troy, New York. It is currently in its 6th generation of ownership.
The Company started out distributing various liqueurs, gins, whiskeys and brandies. A decade later, it began brewing it’s own brand of beer, Fitzgerald Beer and Ale. During the next 150+ years, the Company continued to adapt and change based upon the needs of it’s customers.
In 1961, Fitzgerald Brothers Beverages, Inc. purchased the Pepsi Bottler located on Dix Avenue in Glens Falls and continues to operate out of this location.
In 1986, as Coors Brewing Company expanded east of the Mississippi River for the first time, Fitzgerald Brothers Beverages, Inc. was awarded the distribution rights in the Albany Capital District for all Coors brands, which it serviced for 25 years until 2011.
In 1996 Fitzgerald Brothers Beverages, Inc. acquired two Full-Line Vending businesses to expand its services into Full-Line Vending. After 18 years, in April 2014 Fitzgerald Brothers Beverages, Inc. divested its Full-Line Vending business.
Today, Fitzgerald Brothers Beverages, Inc. continues to provide a full portfolio of beverages to nearly 1,750 customers in Warren, Washington and northern Saratoga counties.
And this is the history of the brewery ownership, since it’s a bit complicated:
James Lundy, North River Brewery 1852-1853
Lundy & Ingram Brewery 1853-1855
Lundy & Kennedy Brewery 1855-1857
Lundy, Dunn & Co. Brewery 1857-1859
Dunn & Kennedy Brewery 1859-1866
Fitzgerald Bros. Brewery 1866-1899
Fitzgerald Bros. Brewing Co. 1899-1920
Brewery operations shut down by National Prohibition in 1920
Issued U-Permit No. NY-U-221 allowing the operation of a brewery 1933
Fitzgerald Bros. Brewing Co. 1933-1963
Today is the birthday of Theodore R. Helb (September 17, 1851-February 4, 1929). He was born in Pennsylvania, and bought the Andrew Schlegel Brewery in 1873, renaming it the Keystone Brewery, although it was also called Helb’s Keystone Brewery. CLosing due to prohibition in 1920, it reopened after repeal in 1933 and remained open until 1050, when it closed for good.
Here’s his obituary from Find-a-Grave:
He was born the son of Frederick and Rebecca Helb. He died at his winter home in Beach Grove, North Petersburg, Florida. In Oct 1873 at the age of 22, he purchased the Schlegel Brewing Co. on King and Queen Streets in York. Nineteen years later he began to rebuild the structure and was completed 1893. Then it became Helbs Brewery. He was the director of the York Water Company, and a director of the York Co. National Bank.
His wife was Emma Louise nee Rauch. They had two sons, Louis F and Herbert T. Helb. He also had a brother Fred H. Helb, and two sisters, Mary Green and Lydia Hartenstein. He was taken ill with the hives several days before his death. He died as a result of a heart attack.
And this biography is from History of York County, Pennsylvania, published in 1886:
THEODORE R. HELB was born in York County, and is the son of Frederic and Rebecca (Henry) Helb, the former a native of Germany; and the latter a native of York County. His father, by trade, was a tanner, but subsequently engaged in the brewing business at Shrewsbury Station, York County. Theodore attended the common schools of York County, and subsequently went to Baltimore, Md., and took up a course of studies at the Knapp German and English Institute. After finishing his studies, he apprenticed himself to Jacob Seeger to learn the
brewing business at Baltimore, Md. He finished his trade and returned to Shrewsbury, York County, and assisted his father in the brewing business. In 1878 he came to York, and erected a large, commodious brewery, and engaged in the business himself, in which he is doing a large trade. He was married January 22, 1874, to Miss Louisa, daughter of John and Margaret Rausch, of Baltimore, Md. To this union were born two children: Louis F. and Herbert T. Mr. Helb is a member of the I. O. O. F., also of the K. of P., I. O. of Heptasoph and I. O. R. M.
The Keystone Brewery during a parade in the late 19th century.
And this is some information on his brewery, also from Find-a-Grave:
The brewery ran from 1873 thru 1920. Then it shut down by National Prohibition in 1920 to 1933. They resumed operations in 1933. The business closed in 1950. The products were:
- Helbs Beer 1933-1950
- Helbs Bock 1934-1936
- Helbs Holiday Beer 1934-1936
- Colonial Special Ale 1941-1949
- York Beer 1949-1950
The building was eventually torn down and is turned into a Gulf Service Station. That was torn down and today in 2013 it is a parking lot.
Today is fellow beer writer and blogger extraordinaire Stan Hieronymus’ 69th birthday. Stan’s most recent book is Brewing Local: American-Grown Beer, followed closely by For the Love of Hops and Brewing with Wheat, among many others. He recently moved to a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri, where he continues to write the Real Beer blog, Beer Therapy, along with Appellation Beer, Beer Travelers, and Postcards from a Barstool, and Brew Like a Monk, the blog. Stan does not like being reminded of his birthday, so be sure to join me in wishing Stan a very happy birthday.
Fearing I would run a ten-year old photo of him taken at the Seattle CBC, he sent me this one a couple of years ago. Here’s Stan at Cantillon in Brussels. Thanks, Stan, I like this one, too.
Today is the birthday of John Ewald Siebel (September 17, 1868-December 20, 1919). Siebel was born in Germany, but relocated to Chicago, Illinois as a young man. Trained as a chemist, in 1868 he founded the Zymotechnic Institute, which was later renamed the Siebel Institute of Technology.
Here’s his obituary from the Foreign Language Press Survey:
Professor John Ewald Siebel has died after an active life devoted to science. Besides his relatives, thousands of his admirers, including many men of science, mourn at the bier of the friendly old man. He died in his home at 960 Montana Avenue.
Professor Siebel was born September 18, 1845, in Hofkamp, administrative district of Dusseldorf [Germany], as the son of Peter and Lisette Siebel; he attended high school [Real-Gymnasium] at Hagen and studied chemistry at the Berlin University. He came to the United States in 1865 and shortly afterwards obtained employment as a chemist with the Belcher Sugar Refining Company in Chicago. Already in 1868, he established a laboratory of his own, and from 1869 until 1873 he was employed as official chemist for the city and county. In 1871 he also taught chemistry and physics at the German High School. From 1873 until 1880 he was official gas inspector and city chemist. During the following six years he edited the American Chemical Review, and from 1890 until 1900 he published the Original Communications of Zymotechnic Institute. He was also in charge of the Zymotechnic Institute, which he had founded in 1901. Until two years ago he belonged to its board of directors.
Among the many scientific works published by the deceased, which frequently won international reputation, and are highly valued by the entire world of chemical science are: Newton’s Axiom Developed; Preparation of Dialized Iron; New Methods of Manufacture of Soda; New Methods of Manufacture of Phosphates; Compendium of Mechanical Refrigeration; Thermo-and Electro-Dynamics of Energy Conversion; etc. The distilling industry considered him an expert of foremost achievement.
The deceased was a member of the Lincoln Club; the old Germania Club; the local Academy of Science; the Brauer and Braumeisterverein [Brewer and Brewmaster Association]; the American Institute for Brewing; and the American Society of Brewing Technology. Professor Siebel was also well known in German circles outside the city and state.
His wife Regina, whom he married in 1870….died before him. Five sons mourn his death: Gustav, Friedrich, Ewald, Emil and Dr. John Ewald Siebel, Jr. Funeral services will be held tomorrow afternoon at Graceland Cemetery.
Professor Siebel was truly a martyr of science. He overworked himself, until a year ago he suffered a nervous breakdown. About four months ago conditions became worse. His was an easy and gentle death.
The Siebel Institute’s webpage tells their early history:
Dr. John Ewald Siebel founded the Zymotechnic Institute in 1868. He was born on September 17, 1845, near Wermelskirchen in the district of Dusseldorf, Germany. He studied physics and chemistry and earned his doctorate at the University of Berlin before moving to Chicago 1866. In 1868 he opened John E. Siebel’s Chemical Laboratory which soon developed into a research station and school for the brewing sciences.
In 1872, as the company moved into new facilities on Belden Avenue on the north side of Chicago, the name was changed to the Siebel Institute of Technology. During the next two decades, Dr. Siebel conducted extensive brewing research and wrote most of his over 200 books and scientific articles. He was also the editor of a number of technical publications including the scientific section of The Western Brewer, 100 Years of Brewing and Ice and Refrigeration.
In 1882 he started a scientific school for brewers with another progressive brewer but the partnership was short lived. Dr. Siebel did, however, continue brewing instruction at his laboratory. The business expanded in the 1890’s when two of Dr. Siebel’s sons joined the company.
The company was incorporated in 1901 and conducted brewing courses in both English and German. By 1907 there were five regular courses: a six-month Brewers’ Course, a two-month Post Graduate Course, a three-month Engineers’ Course, a two-month Maltsters’ Course and a two-month Bottlers’ Course. In 1910, the school’s name, Siebel Institute of Technology, was formally adopted. With the approach of prohibition, the Institute diversified and added courses in baking, refrigeration, engineering, milling, carbonated beverages and other related topics. On December 20, 1919, just twenty-seven days before prohibition became effective, Dr. J. E. Siebel passed away.
With the repeal of prohibition in 1933 the focus of the Institute returned to brewing under the leadership of F. P. Siebel Sr., the eldest son of Dr. J. E. Siebel. His sons, Fred and Ray, soon joined the business and worked to expand its scope. The Diploma Course in Brewing Technology was offered and all other non-brewing courses were soon eliminated. Then in October 1952, the Institute moved to its brand new, custom built facilities on Peterson Avenue where we have remained for almost 50 years.
Here’s another short account from the journal Brewery History, in an article entitled “A History of Brewing Science in the United States of America,” by Charles W. Bamforth:
Dr John Ewald Siebel (1845-1919) was born on September 17th 1845 at Hofcamp, near Düsseldorf. Upon visiting an uncle in US after the completion of his doctorate in chemistry and physics he became chief chemist at Belcher’s sugar refinery in Chicago, aged 21, but that company soon folded. Siebel stayed in Chicago to start an analytical laboratory in 1868, which metamorphosed into the Zymotechnic Institute.
With Chicago brewer Michael Brand, Siebel started in 1882 the first Scientific School for practical brewers as a division of the Zymotechnic Institute. True life was not breathed into the initiative until 1901 with Siebel’s son (one of five) Fred P. Siebel as manager. This evolved to become the Siebel Institute of Technology, which was incorporated in 1901 and conducted brewing courses in both English and German. Within 6 years five regular courses had been developed: a six-month course for brewers, a twomonth post graduate course, a threemonth course for engineers, a two-month malting course and a two-month bottling course.
Amongst Siebel’s principal contributions were work on a counter pressure racker and artificial refrigeration systems. Altogether he published more than 200 articles on brewing, notably in the Western Brewer and original Communications of the Zymotechnic Institute. Brewing wasn’t his sole focus, for instance he did significant work on blood chemistry.
Son EA Siebel founded Siebel and Co and the Bureau of Bio-technology in 1917, the year that prohibition arrived. Emil Siebel focused then on a ‘temperance beer’ that he had been working on for nine years. Courses in baking, refrigeration, engineering, milling and nonalcoholic carbonated beverages were offered.
And here’s the entry for the Siebel Institute from the Oxford Companion to Beer, written by Randy Mosher: