Thursday’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 managed to somehow put banners on the bottom of a group of biplanes as they were taking off. Or maybe while they were already in the air — he is carrying a ladder and an umbrella after all — though I’m not sure how that would have worked all the same.
Archives for September 21, 2017
Here’s a history of the brewery, from Wikipedia:
Greenall’s Brewery was founded by Thomas Greenall in 1762. Initially based in St Helens, the company relocated to Warrington in 1787.
It bought the Groves & Whitnall Brewery in Salford in 1961, Shipstone’s Brewery in Nottingham in 1978 and Davenport’s Brewery in Birmingham in 1986. For much of the 20th century, the company traded as Greenall Whitley & Co Limited. The St Helens brewery was demolished in the 1970s to make way for a new shopping centre. The Warrington brewery on the edge of Stockton Heath was bought by Bruntwood, renamed Wilderspool Business Park and is now let to office occupiers.
The company ceased brewing in 1991 to concentrate on running pubs and hotels.
In 1999, the tenanted wing of the Greenall’s operation was sold to the Japanese bank, Nomura for £370 million and the main Greenall’s operation, involving 770 pubs and 69 budget lodges, was sold to Scottish and Newcastle for £1.1billion. Greenalls started to focus its resources on its De Vere and Village Leisure hotel branding at that time.
In February 2005, Greenalls sold The Belfry to The Quinn Group for £186 million.
The Greenall family connection remained as Lord Daresbury, the descendant of the original founder, remained the non-executive chairman. This tie was severed in 2006 when Daresbury stepped down from the post and much of the family’s interest was sold.
And this is from Funding Universe:
Patriarch Thomas Greenall learned the brewing trade from his wife’s family in the 1750s and founded his own brewery in northwestern England at St. Helens in 1762. Brewing was a highly competitive business, with rivals ranging from the lone homebrewer to inns and pubs that brewed their own ales to wholesale brew masters like Greenall. Though the founder dabbled in nail making, coal mining, and yarn spinning throughout the late 18th century, brewing remained the family’s core interest. By the turn of the century, Thomas had brought sons Edward, William, and Peter into the business. The Greenalls began to purchase their own pubs and inns as early as 1800, helping to accelerate a gradual elimination of their competition. In Britain, it was customary for bars owned by breweries to carry only the beers brewed by the parent company. For nearly two centuries, these “tied houses” were a profitable segment of Greenall’s business.
In 1788, Greenall formed a separate partnership with William Orrett and Thomas Lyon to purchase the Saracen’s Head Brewery in nearby Wilderspool. Business was so good that within just three years the three partners undertook a £4,400 expansion of the operation.
The family business interests endured a rapid succession of generations in the first two decades of the 19th century. In 1805, both Thomas Greenall and William Orrett died. By 1817, the passing of William and Peter Greenall left only Edward to operate the growing St. Helens brewery. Just a year later, Thomas Lyon died. His nephew and heir, also Thomas, was interested in the Wilderspool brewery only as an investment. In 1818, 60-year-old Edward assigned eldest son Thomas to manage the family’s half interest in Wilderspool and charged younger son Peter with management of the family brewery at St. Helens.
While Peter pursued politics, eventually winning election to Parliament, Thomas proved to be the brewer of his generation. By this time, the family businesses had grown to the point that the Greenalls served as chairmen, guiding the overall direction of the company but leaving daily management concerns to other top executives. Throughout this period, ownership of the pubs and inns through which Greenall’s porters, sparkling ales, and bitters were dispensed was a key to maintaining a strong competitive position.
This account from The Groves & Whitnall’s Globe Works begins with Thomas:
Thomas Greenall became manager of his mother-in-law’s brewery in St Helens, Lancashire, in 1754, and went on to build his own in Hardshaw, St Helens, in 1762. In 1786 he bought the Saracen’s Head Brewery at Wilderspool, Warrington, in partnership with William Orrett and Thomas Lyon. In 1787, the partners acquired an interest in the brewery of Edward Greenall and Co in Cunliff Street, Liverpool, which ceased trading in 1814. In 1807, Orrett’s son sold his interest to Lyon and Greenall. On the death of Thomas Lyon, nephew of the original partner, in 1859, Greenall and Company was formed.
Today is the birthday of John Gillooly, who’s the brewmaster at Drake’s Brewing. I’m not sure where I first met John. It may have been when he was brewing at Speakeasy, but I feel like I must have run into him when he was at Golden Pacific years before. In between he spent time at Trumer, Dogfish Head and Sonoma’s sadly short-lived Siena Red. He’s been happily brewing at Drake’s now for the past five years, doing great things there. Join me in wishing John a very happy birthday.
[NOTE: Last three photos purloined from Facebook.]
Today is the birthday of Jacob Birk (September 21, 1835-March 2, 1920). Birk was born in Württemberg, Germany, but made his way to Chicago, Illinois when he was 19, in 1854. He first partnered with Frederick Wacker to form Wacker & Birk Brewing Co., then later purchased the Corper & Nocklin Brewery and set it up for his sons to run when he retired as the Birk Bros. Brewing Co. Birk & Water was closed by prohibition, but Birk Bros. reopened after repeal and continued on until 1950.
Here’s some biographical info from “Historical Review of Chicago and Cook County and Selected Biography,” by A.N. Waterman:
Birk, his father having been born in Germany and being in early manhood a harnessmaker. He came to Chicago in 1854, prospered in trade and business, and for many years conducted a hotel on West Lake street. In 1881 he became associated with Fred Wacker & Son, then engaged in the malting business, and in the following year became associated with the firm in brewing operations under the firm name of the Wacker & Birk Brewing Company. In 1891 the business was sold to the English corporation, the Chicago Breweries, Limited, and Jacob Birk and his two sons, William A. and Edward J., incorporated the Birk Brothers’ Brewing Company. Since the founding of the company, at that time, William A. has been president and Edward J. Birk, secretary and treasurer. The basis of the complete and extensive plant was the Corper & Nockin brewery, purchased in 1891, and since remodeled and enlarged. The elder Birk retired from his connection with the business in 1895.
And here’s another account, from the “History of Cook County, Illinois,” published in 1909:
The first brewery Birk was involved in was Wacker & Birk:
The Chicago brewery Frederick Wacker started was originally called Seidenschwanz & Wacker, and was located on Hinsdale, between Pine and Rush streets. It was founded in 1857, but the following year it became known as Wacker & Seidenschwanz, and was on N. Franklin Street. That version lasted until 1865. Beginning that same year, its name changed once again to the Frederick Wacker Brewery, and its address was listed as 848 N. Franklin Street, presumably in the same location as its predecessor. Sixteen years later, in 1882, it relocated to 171 N. Desplaines (now Indiana Street) and it became known as the Wacker & Birk Brewing & Malting Co. Just before prohibition the name was shortened to the Wacker & Birk Co., although it appears to have closed by 1920.
And the second was Birk Bros. Brewing, though most of its history I could find was in the above accounts.
Birk Brothers Brewing Company delivery wagon on Belmont Avenue, around 1895.