Monday’s ad is for Miller Brewing, from 1939. This ad features a man out hunting with his dog. I know he’s staring off at the sky, most likely looking for his prey, but I can’t help but think it also looks like he’s looking at me (or us), too, in a vaguely threatening manner. It’s a little unsettling, but then I remembered it’s 79 years old and he’s probably dead now, so I probably shouldn’t be too worried.
Archives for December 17, 2018
Today is the birthday of Thomas Cooper (December 17, 1826-December 30, 1897). He was born in England, but moved to Australia when he was 26. He initially worked a variety of jobs, but in 1862 founded the brewery known today as Coopers Brewery “at his home in the Adelaide suburb of Norwood. He brewed his first recorded batch on 13 May 1862.”
This biography of Cooper is from the Cooper Brewery Wikipedia page:
[He] was born in Carleton, North Yorkshire, the youngest of 12 children of Christopher and Sarah (née Booth). His parents died when he was young (Sarah in 1830 and Christopher in 1832), and he was raised by his sister Ann. Thomas was apprenticed to a shoe-maker, and by the late 1840s, six of the seven living children had moved to Skipton. John, a shuttlemaker, lived in Bradford; Jane and Mary married; Ann was a housekeeper; Elizabeth and Martha were domestic servants.
In 1849 he married Ann Laycock Brown (1827–1872) in the Wesleyan Chapel in Skipton. Their first child, William (1850–1882), was born in 1850, and Sarah Ann (1851–1852) in 1851. In 1852, Thomas, the pregnant Ann, and their two children emigrated to South Australia, setting sail from Plymouth on the SS Omega on 29 May 1852. During the 86-day voyage, Sarah Ann was one of the six children who died, but their third child was born as they rounded the Cape of Good Hope, and was named Sarah Ann (1852–1854) in memory of her sister. The family arrived in Port Adelaide on 24 August 1852. Their first home was a rented two-room cottage near the Rising Sun Inn on Bridge Street in the then village of Kensington, about three miles east of the city. In the ten years before he commenced brewing in Norwood, Thomas worked initially as a shoemaker, then as a mason, and then as a dairyman, while Ann bore four more children: Mary Ann (1855–1856); John Thomas (1857–1935); Christopher (1859–1910); and Annie Elizabeth (1861–1921). In 1856 he purchased land in George Street, Norwood, and using his new skills as a mason, built a house which he described to his brother as having “6 rooms & Cellar & Passage” and 12 ft ceilings “on acct of Sumr heat”. In the same letter, and many others, he urged his brother and family to join him in South Australia, but this never eventuated.
On 13 May 1862, Thomas brewed his first recorded batch. He did all the work himself (purchasing, calling for orders, brewing, washing, filling, corking and wiring the bottles, delivering the finished product), possibly with the help of then 12-year-old son William, while continuing to attend the cows, run the dairy, and do the daily milk deliveries. Being unlicensed, in early June he sought “professional advice on the sale of beer” from a solicitor, which his ledger records as having cost 7s 6d. Towards the end of 1862 Thomas realised that to make a living as a brewer, he would need to increase his brewing capacity, so he mortgaged his property to Frederick Scarfe, the Mayor of Norwood, a butcher, and a customer of Thomas’s ale, for £300, and built a new brewhouse. In January 1863 he sold his cows and the milk delivery run. Although with half-a-dozen breweries in Adelaide, there was a lot of competition, Thomas’s ale was unique in that he used no sugar, “consequently, ours being pure, the Doctors recommend it to their patients”. Although one of the smaller South Australian brewers, Thomas gained a reputation for quality. By 1867 he had over 120 customers, some quite notable (e.g. Samuel Davenport, John Barton Hack, George Hawker, Dr Penfold and the Lord Bishop of Adelaide, but he did not supply public houses, “apparently because it was against his principles”.
Ann bore four more children before dying suddenly in 1872: Joseph Brown (1863–1888); Jane Amelia (1865–1943); Margaret Alice (1868–1869) and Samuel (1871–1921). She was survived by all five of her sons, and two of her six daughters.
Thomas remarried in 1874, and Sarah Louisa Perry bore eight children: Stanley Reasey (1875–1938); Thomas Perry (1876–1876); Francis Scowby (1877–1878) Frederic (1878–1952); Edward Booth (1880–1881); Charles Edward (1881–1936); Lily Louise (1881–1893); and Walter Astley (1882–1909).
When he died in 1897, Thomas was survived by his wife, and nine of his nineteen children – seven of his sons, and two of his daughters.
This story is of Coopers’ beginnings is from the brewery website:
When Thomas Cooper used an old family recipe to brew his first batch of ale back in 1862, it would be fair to describe him as a novice craft brewer. Apparently he’d only intended it to be a tonic for his sick wife, but the resulting ale was so flavoursome that friends and neighbours soon came to appreciate it for more than just its ‘restorative’ properties. As demand for his naturally conditioned ales grew throughout the fledgling colony of South Australia, Thomas Cooper’s growing passion for brewing soon became his profession.
Before Thomas passed away, he handed over the reigns of the brewery to four of his sons, and so began a proud family tradition that has continued in an unbroken chain of six generations, for more than 150 years. While we’re still using Thomas Cooper’s original recipe, successive generations of Coopers have made improvements along the way.
The fusion of traditional Coopers brewing methods with cutting edge production technology has helped us grow our capacity and deliver consistent brew quality and flavour. As a result, we now have the ability to produce our naturally conditioned ales and stouts for a global audience, with absolute confidence that whenever one of our signature beers is poured, the drinker will enjoy a quality Coopers brew. This marriage of century-old brewing techniques and modern innovation is what makes Coopers unique in Australia’s brewing landscape.
This more modern history is by Martin Wooster, which was part of a longer travel piece he did for All About Beer in 2000 about Australian breweries, entitled “In the Shadows of Giants:”
The brewery that has done the most to provide Australians with choice and diversity is Coopers of Adelaide. But even when given clear directions, it’s a hard brewery to find. It’s quietly nestled in the shady Adelaide suburb of Leabrook, hidden beneath towering jacaranda and lilly pilly trees. For a brewery that’s been making beer on its site for over 100 years, it’s an amazingly quiet place.
The Coopers story begins in 1862, when Thomas Cooper, a British emigrant, decided to make some ale to help his ailing wife Ann deal with a fever. Ann Cooper came from a brewing family, and Thomas Cooper used her recipe. In south Australia’s relatively hot climate, Cooper had to adapt the British recipe, making his ale bottle conditioned to last longer and adding sugar to spark the secondary fermentation. The result was a style known as “sparkling ale.”
Cooper then followed with Coopers Extra Stout. Like the ale, the stout is bottle conditioned and can age for a long time. The Lord Nelson Hotel in Sydney serves five-year-old Coopers Extra Stout⎯when it mellows and develops port-like notes.
Thomas and Ann Cooper had 10 children; when she died in 1874, Thomas Cooper married Sarah Perry and had 10 more children. Eleven of these children survived into adulthood, ensuring that there were lots of Coopers to continue the family name. Coopers is the only Australian brewery controlled by descendants of its founder. “We wouldn’t want to be the generation that sold the brewery,” says marketing director Glenn Cooper.
Like most family-owned breweries, Coopers has gone through hard times. Coopers refused to adapt to changing times; it did not make lager until 1968, and until 1982, secondary fermentation for its ale and stout still took place in giant wooden casks called “puncheons.” While many younger drinkers thought that the cloudy beers were something only grandpa drank, Coopers stubbornly stuck to its traditional ways. The result was that, even when Australian beer was at its blandest, consumers knew that a good beer didn’t have to be a lager.
Coopers paved the way for us,” said Blair Hayden, managing director of the Lord Nelson Hotel, Sydney’s only brewpub. “It showed Australians that there was something else to drink besides lagers.”
What saved Coopers was homebrewers. Homebrewing was legalized in Australia in 1973, and Coopers at first sold sacks of wort that could be fermented with the addition of yeast. But customers found the sacks cumbersome, so in 1977 Coopers was the first brewery to market malt extracts for homebrewers. Coopers engineers also built the canning equipment needed to mass produce the extracts, and created a special lid to ensure that the Coopers yeast packets were securely fastened to the cans.
According to Glenn Cooper, Coopers currently has 35 percent of the world market for homebrew kits and 80 percent of the Australian market. Sales, he says, are largest in countries with high beer taxes, such as Canada and the Scandinavian nations.
In the 1990s, Coopers has diversified into many other areas. In the early 1990s, it began to enter the honey business through its Leabrook Farms subsidiary. Why honey? “Like malt extract, it’s a heavy, viscous substance,” Glenn Cooper said. Another Coopers division makes gourmet vinegars.
The core of Coopers business remains its beers. Under the leadership of head of brewing operations Tim Cooper (who abandoned a career as a cardiologist to work in the family brewery), Coopers now has 10 beers, adding several filtered beers and a dark ale to its portfolio. In 1998, the company released Extra Strong Vintage Ale, the first vintage-dated beer ever issued in Australia. Production of the ale, which is designed to age for up to 18 months, is limited to 25,000 cases, for sale only in Australia.
Production, Glenn Cooper says, is increasing by 18 percent a year. And Coopers beers are becoming more available in America. They are available in most Outback Steakhouses, and, repackaged under the Old Australia label, are also sold in most Trader Joe’s stores.
Today is the birthday of Michael Edward Ash (December 17, 1927–April 30, 2016). He “was a British mathematician and brewer. Ash led a team that invented a nitrogenated dispense system for Guinness stout, which evolved to become the beer now sold globally as Draught Guinness. As the manager in charge of the Easy Serve project, Ash is credited as the inventor of nitrogenated beer (sometimes known as “nitro beer” colloquially).”
“Following graduation from Cambridge, Ash lectured in mathematics at The Bedford College for women for three years before joining Guinness & Co. at their London Brewery in Park Royal in January 1951.
After training as a brewer by 1954 Ash also had experience of running two departments (Brewing and Forwarding) and in 1955 he was given his own department the ‘Sample Room’, which had facilities for experimentation. The ‘Draught problem’ was given to Ash as part of his briefing from the managing Director, Hugh Beaver. At the time, Guinness used a convoluted draught system in which highly conditioned beer was blended with aged, nearly still beer. It was a slow, arduous process that limited the ability of draught dispense to reach a more global market.
Guinness had for years been looking for a system in which a barman with no special training could pour a glass of draught in a matter of seconds to settle quickly with a head (3/8″ in a normal ½ pint glass).
Ash realized the solution lay in the use of a blend of nitrogen and carbon dioxide (beer typically just uses the latter), but it took years to figure out a mechanism to dispense nitrogenated beer. Inside Guinness, Ash’s quest was regarded as quixotic, and other brewers chided it as “daft Guinness” and the “Ash Can.” Eventually, working with a keg designer, Ash hit on a revolutionary, self-contained two-part keg, with one chamber full of beer and the other full of mixed gas under pressure, and the introduction of nitrogen. Nitrogen is less soluble than carbon dioxide, which allows the beer to be put under high pressure without making it fizzy. The high pressure of dissolved gas is required to enable very small bubbles to be formed by forcing the draught beer through fine holes in a plate in the tap, which causes the characteristic ‘surge’.
Ultimately called the “easy serve system,” it began to replace the old “high and low” taps used in Ireland and spread to Great Britain and beyond beginning in the 1960s. The invention, which made for a smoother, less characterful beer, was not without controversy, and for years a minority of Irish drinkers complained about the change. Eventually, nitrogrenated stout became a standard, not just at Guinness but among all Irish makers of stout.
Ash left the brewing side of Guinness in 1962 to become managing director of Crooks Laboratories in Park Royal (owned by Guinness). Crooks moved to Basingstoke in 1965. At Crooks Ash was responsible for acquiring the licence for the anti-depressant Prothiaden (Dosulepin) in 1967. From 1970 onwards Ash followed various interests including business education and was a founding governor of Templeton College Oxford.”
Ash with Pete Brown.
Alworth’s article online includes an audio clip of Michael Ash describing the process he used to create Draught Guinness using nitrogen.
And this biography of Ash was prepared by Guinness’ marketing department:
Michael read mathematics at Trinity College, Cambridge and was awarded a triple first in his studies – top scholar that year in Cambridge. Between 1948 – 1950, Michael was allowed to reduce his national service conscription by teaching Maths at a University (other than Oxbridge). He taught at Bedford College. Up to the end of World War Two, the Guinness Company had a policy of recruiting only first class honours science graduates from Oxford or Cambridge. Michael was the first non-brewer to be recruited into Guinness.
It was in this role, he led a team of over 20, and their primary role was to seek to improve the shelf life of bottled Guinness. However, Michael felt that the real prize was in developing a proper system for Draught Guinness and began dedicating his time to the ‘Draught Problem’.
The rise of lagers available on draught, especially in the UK in the 1940s and 1950s, was encroaching on traditional Guinness sales, and Michael felt that there was a great opportunity for Guinness, should the stout be available in Draught format. However, the essential problem was with the gas. Carbon dioxide was used to pressurise kegs of bitter and lager, and it was easy and effective for everyone concerned. Guinness, though was too lively to be draughted with carbon dioxide alone.
Of the 20 plus men on his Sample Room team, he could only afford to assign 2 people to work part-time with him on ‘Daft Guinness’ as it became known with the Park Royal Brewery. Michael talks about working weekends and late nights over a long period of time to eventually come up with a nitrogen gas solution.
He worked hand in hand with Eric Lewis, of Alumasc, who supplied Michael with prototype after protoype of metal kegs with different experimental gas chambers. The fact that nitrogen is an inert gas meant that they bubbles lasted longer and were smaller. The right amount of nitrogen, created the ‘surge’ and allowed for a controlled, creamy head that lasts for the whole pint.
The eventual solution was a ‘mixed gas dispense’ system. Known initially as ‘The Ash Can’, The Easy Serve Cask was a self-contained, two-part keg, with one chamber full of beer and the other full of mixed gas under pressure.
Having seen the possibilities, [the company] was in a hurry to get Draught Guinness out into the market place, and he demanded that it should be launched in 1959 – the year of the Guinness bicentenary. At a board meeting of 9 December 1959 – Viscount Elveden (later 3rd Lord Iveagh) reported that about half the draught Guinness outlets had now been changed to the Easy Serve system, and the changeover of the remainder should take place by mid-January 1960.
Here’s a short video that Guinness made about Michael Ash:
Today is the birthday of Balthas Jetter (December 17, 1851-May 9, 1915). He was born in Engstlatt, Zollernalbkreis, Baden-Württemberg, Germany, but moved with his family to Omaha, Nebraska when he was nine, in 1860. In 1887, he and a partner founded the Jetter & Young Brewery in South Omaha. In 1890, Jetter bought out Young, the brewery was renamed B. Jetter, although it also traded under the name South Omaha Brewing Co. In 1902, it became the Jetter Brewing Co., which it remained until prohibition. It reopened in 1933 and remained in business util 1994, when it closed for good.
Here’s Jetter’s obituary from the Omaha Daily Bee, published May 11, 1915:
Balthas Jetter, founder of the Jetter Brewing company of South Omaha, died Sunday at 11:20 o’clock from a paralytic stroke sustained Saturday morning.
Mr. Jetter was 64 years of age. He was in his usual good health up to Saturday, when he sustained a stroke. He was found Saturday forenoon in a semi-conscious condition in the brew house by William Hoffman, son of an employee. Physicians were summoned and the stricken man was removed to his home on South Thirtieth street, but he never regained consciousness.
Mr. Jetter is survived by his wife, one son, Henry, and three daughters, Misses Alma, Hulda and Edith Jetter, of this city. Martin Jetter, head of the Jetter Brewing company, is a nephew.
Balthas Jetter was born in Engsclat, Germany, December 17, 1851. He came to the United States in 1871 and was employed on the Union Pacific railroad as a bridge builder. He helped build the Union Pacific bridge at Omaha.
In 1873 he entered into the brewing business in Omaha, where he continued as an employee until 1887, when he removed to South Omaha and launched out for himself on a plat of land now covered by the Armour packing plant. He gradually increased his business until May, 1914, when he retired in favor of his nephew, Martin Jetter, present head of the Jetter Brewing Company. From the penury of a raw immigrant he gradually accumulated a large fortune.
Balthas Jetter was married in Omaha July 7, 1878. His family consists of his wife and four children. One son, Henry Jetter, is interested in the brewing company.
When Balthas Jetter determined to retire from active business a few years ago he made a tour of Germany in company with Fred Drew, vice president of the Jetter company, in order to study the manufacture of German beer. Even after his retirement as active head he continued to manifest interest in the affairs of the company.
His wealth never changed him and his friends say that he lived as simply in his old age as in the days of his early struggle. He was friendly and companionable with his family and friends, but cared nothing for society.
Here’s a short history of the Jetter Brewery from “Nebraska Beer: Great Plains History by the Pint,” by Tyler A. Thomas:
Here’s a lengthier history of the brewery from Jetter Brewing Company website, which seems to suggest the beer may be making a comeback, and began planning last year:
South Omaha, for many years, has been famous for being the home to one of the nation’s largest stockyards. Along with the stockyards were many very large packing houses. Wilson, Hammond Bros., Swift, Armour & Cudahy were the big five. In their heyday they employed thousands of immigrants from Germany, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Lithuania and many other Middle and Eastern European countries. Immigrants who had settled in Omaha to find their dreams in America. One such immigrant was a German by the name of Balthas Jetter. Jetter found his way to Omaha in the later part of the nineteenth century with the full intention of establishing a brewery to help quench the thirsts of those packing house workers.
In 1887 along with a partner, Mr. Young, Jetter established the Jetter and Young Brewery at 30th & “Y” streets in the heart of South Omaha. Annual capacity at the time was an impressive 10,000 barrels. By 1890 Jetter had purchased his partner’s stake in the brewery and had taken on the name South Omaha Brewing Co., B. Jetter prop. An advertisement in the 1890 Omaha city directory shows an artist’s rendition of the brewery, with the Jetter home in the foreground, the large brewing operation in the center and a small lake to the south. The lake was on land that is now known as Upland Park.
Production at the brewery continued to keep pace with the bustling community of South Omaha. The packing house industry was booming and the Jetter Brewing Company kept pace by increasing their production to 30,000 barrels annually by 1902.
In 1905 the brewery became more simply known as the Jetter Brewing Company. During those years after the turn of the century, Jetter’s flagship brand was “Gold Top”. An ad from 1902 touts Gold Top as a beer that “…always snaps and sparkles, that never leaves a bad effect, that is a good beverage and a better tonic, that is Gold Top”.
Jetter’s, as well as the other Omaha breweries, prospered during the early part of the century. Expansion and modernization of the brewery continued. The brewery was now an all brick, concrete and steel structure.
Sometime around 1909, the brewery dropped the Gold Top brand in favor of the brand name “Old Age”. The Old Age label featured three elderly gentlemen conversing while hoisting steins of Old Age beer. A loaf of bread adorns the table the three are sitting around. Those three gentlemen became well known to beer drinkers. The three adorned every bottle of Old Age and appeared on nearly all pieces of advertising used by the brewery.
The Jetter Brewery continued to produce Old Age beer all the way up to Prohibition. At the height of production, the brewery turned out in excess of 100,000 barrels annually. In 1919 when the production of real beer became illegal, the brewery was forced to halt the brewing of Old Age. Jetter’s turned to the production of soda pop and near beer. Soda pop went under the label “Sahara” and featured a scene right out of the desert. Near beer was marketed under the Old Age name as well as St. Regis brew. Production continued well into the twenties, but with prohibition dragging on the brewery was very underutilized and only maintained a skeleton crew of employees. By 1930 the brewery had ended the production of any type of beer or soda. The brewery sat idle for the first time in 43 years.
You can pick up their more recent story at the history page.
Today is the birthday of George Frey (December 17, 1826-1872). He was born in Ober-Saulheim, Germany, but moved to Buffalo, New York when he was fourteen, in 1840, and worked for a brewery there, before moving to Erie, Pennsylvania, to build his own there. Most brewery history, especially breweriana-focused sources, claim the George Frey Brewery was only called by that name in 1855, and the following year became known as the Eagle Brewery. But “One Hundred Years of Brewing” states that Frey built the brewery in 1842 but sold it to Henry J. Kavelage in 1854, who sold it to Jackson Koehler in 1883, and in 1899 it was bought by the Erie Brewing Co. And the breweriana brewery lists say it was known as the Eagle Brewery through all of its changes in ownership, at least through prohibition. Although it appears to have also been known by “Jackson Koehler’s Eagle Brewery” after Koehler bought it.
More evidence that he was brewing in Pennsylvania long before 1855 can be found in “The Brewing Industry and the Brewery Workers’ Movement in America,” by Hermann Schlüter, which was published in 1910. In a chapter on “Lager Beer,” it casually mentions Frey’s contribution. “George Frey, who brewed the first lager beer in Erie, Pa., in 1847, had helped in the first brewing of “lager” in Buffalo in 1843.
But I also found another listing in Erie for another George Frey Brewery that opened in 1861, but was renamed the Erie City Lager Brewery two years later, in 1863, then in 1870 dropped “Lager” to become known as the Erie City Brewery. It 1872, it was renamed the Joseph F. Seelinger Brewery, which would suggest it was sold to that person, which especially makes sense since that’s the apparent year Frey died.
It seems a shame after those accomplishments, that what happened to Frey after he sold his brewery is unknown, and I even had a hard time finding out when he passed away. This is also the first instance where I could find not one piece of breweriana or photograph online of George Frey or his brewery, except for this modern image of the decaying building where the brewing used to be done.