Tuesday’s ad is for Miller Brewing, from 1963. This ad features a party going on in a brick-walled room with a roaring fire, French posters on the wall and fondue on a table. The room is bathed in red light which seems to be a persistent theme in Miller ad for a number of years. No idea why.
Archives for December 18, 2018
Today is the birthday of Peter Stroh (December 18, 1927-September 17, 2002). He was the great-grandson of Bernhard Stroh, who founded Stroh’s Brewing Co. in 1850. When he became president of Stroh’s in 1968, he was the sixth family member to run the business.
Here’s Stroh’s obituary from Find-a-Grave:
Peter Stroh, former chief executive of the Stroh Brewery Co., died of brain cancer on September 17th at his home in Grosse Pointe Farms, MI.
Mr. Stroh is remembered as a gracious elder statesman in the brewing industry. “Peter Stroh was truly a gentlemen’s gentleman,” said Mac Brighton, chairman and COO of Business Journals, Inc., publisher of Modern Brewery Age. “He was admired and respected by everyone in the brewing industry, friends and competitors alike.”
Stroh also made his mark as a tireless civic booster for the city of Detroit. “He never gave up on the city,” former Detroit mayor Dennis Archer told the Detroit Free Press after learning that Stroh had died. “He was a ‘laboring oar.'”
Stroh was the sixth family member to head the Stroh Brewery Co., which his great-grandfather, Bernhard Stroh, founded in 1850 on Detroit’s east side. Before coming to the United States, the Strohs had been brewers in Rhineland Palatinate since 1755.
Under Peter Stroh’s leadership in the 1980s, the company made a play to become a national brewer, but found itself outmatched by deep-pocketed competitors. Peter Stroh stepped down as chairman in 1997, and the Stroh Brewery Co. was out of the beer business by 1999.
Peter Stroh talked very little to the press, but friends said that the decline of the company’s position in the brewing industry was very painful to him.
Despite the Stroh Brewery Co.’s misfortunes, Stroh is remembered with respect in Detroit due to his remarkable civic commitment. Family members have reported that the 1967 Detroit riots forever changed his out- look on personal and corporate responsibility. Mr. Stroh had stood on the roof of the brewery and watched fires consume the city. “As a result of that sad experience, I began to wonder about the company’s and the family’s historic role in our community,” Stroh wrote in a family newsletter in 1997. “And quickly discovered that there really hadn’t been one for either.”
Stroh became active in the Urban League and the Detroit branch of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. He also worked with former Mayor Coleman Young on a variety of projects. “He and the mayor had a very strong, personal friendship,” said Bob Berg, Young’s longtime aide.
The Stroh clan used personal and corporate money to develop Stroh River Place, the renovation of the old Parke-Davis pharmaceutical complex at the foot of Jos. Campau.
The UAW-GM International Training Center is located on former Stroh land nearby. Stroh also was active with the Detroit Medical Center, the Detroit Symphony, the Detroit Zoo and the Detroit Institute of Arts? He served on the boards of more than half a dozen local organizations, including Detroit Renaissance, Detroit Economic GrowthCorp., and New Detroit Incorporated.
Stroh also helped finance projects in genetic engineering and molecular biology, including helping a British company produce recombinant human serum albumin from brewer’s yeast.
Son of Gari and Suzanne Stroh. He graduated from Princeton in 1951 with a degree in international affairs, and planned a career with the Central Intelligence Agency. But in 1952 a runaway truck in Washington, D.C., crushed him against a building and put an end to his nascent career in espionage. He was hospitalized for a year.
As a college student, Stroh had worked in the brewery as a janitor. After recovering from his accident, he spent time in the brewing and laboratory departments and quickly became skilled at the technical side of brewing.
He was elected to the Stroh board in 1955 and became director of operations in 1966. Named president of Stroh’s in 1968, Stroh teamed with his uncle, John Stroh, who was chairman and chief executive officer.
Stroh guided the family company from its regional roots to become a quasi-national brewery. Stroh’s shipped 3 million barrels in 1970 and 24 million in 1985.
Stroh bought F. & M Schaefer in 1980, and in 1982 purchased the Jos. Schlitz Brewing Co. At that time, Stroh was the number three brewer behind Anheuser-Busch and Miller.
But the acquisitions bred over-capacity, and Stroh chose to close its flagship brewery in downtown Detroit in 1985. “This was one of the most difficult decisions we ever made,” Stroh told the Detroit Free Press at the time.
The battle for market share against the top two brewers gradually drained the company’s coffers, although Stroh tried various imaginative strategies to survive. In 1989, Stroh and Coors came close to a deal in which the Golden, CO-based Coors would purchase Stroh. Unfortunately, the deal came unwound, and Stroh was forced to go it alone. In the mid-1990s, Stroh bought the troubled G. Heileman Brewing Co. The deal brought the company a handful of strong brands, but also more capacity than it could ever use.
Over the years, the Stroh brands were consistently rated tops among the major brands, but the brewery could never muster the marketing muscle to compete with A-B and Miller. In 1999, the company announced it would exit the brewing business, and it sold its breweries and brands to the Miller and Pabst Brewing Companies.
Outside his work in the beer business and the city of Detroit, Stroh made his mark as an outdoorsman and conservationist. He served as a member of the National Audubon Society board, did fund-raising for Ducks Unlimited, was a trustee for Conservation International, which specializes in Latin American issues, and sat on the board of actor Robert Redford’s Institute for Resource Management, which tries to settle environmental disputes without lawyers. He traveled the world, hunting birds and fishing.
“To have a sense of our outdoor past–our biological past–is as important as a sense of our historical and cultural past, and sometimes a lot more fun. I say that even as a former board member of the Detroit Institute of Arts and a current board member for the Guggenheim,” he once told the Detroit Free Press. “Wading through a cypress swamp is every bit as much fun as treading through the galleries.”
Stroh is survived by his wife, Nicole; two sons, Pierre and Frederic; one grandchild, and a brother, Eric.
This is an “In Memoriam” from Crain’s Detroit Business:
Stroh shunned the limelight, but he took seriously his commitment to the family company and his community.
When Stroh became chairman and CEO of the brewery in 1968, it was still trying to recover market share lost in a 1958 strike, and it was clear national brands were squeezing out local ones.
Stroh began introducing products and acquiring other brands until by 1982 it was the third-largest U.S. brewer. But with acquisitions came crippling debt. In 1985, Stroh closed the Detroit brewery on Gratiot Avenue near Eastern Market where the Brewery Park development now sits; it is the headquarters of Crain Communications Inc., parent of Crain’s Detroit Business. Stroh attempted unsuccessfully to sell the company to Coors in 1989. He stepped down in 1995, and in 1999 the Stroh brands were sold to Pabst and Miller.
Despite his unsuccessful efforts to save the company, Stroh and other family members have made lasting contributions to the city of Detroit.
He led a $150 million redevelopment that became Stroh River Place at the site of the former Parke-Davis pharmaceutical company. An ardent hunter, fly fisherman and conservationist, he long advocated for opening the Detroit riverfront to the public and also was a driving force behind the federal designation of the Detroit River as one of 14 American Heritage Rivers.
He died in 2002 at age 74 from brain cancer.
Upon Julius Stroh’s death in 1939, his son Gari Stroh assumed the presidency. Gari’s brother John succeeded him in 1950 and became Stroh’s chairman in 1967. Gari’s son Peter, who had joined the company following his graduation from Princeton University in 1951, became president in 1968.
In 1964, the company made its first move toward expansion when it bought the Goebel Brewing Company, a rival across the street. The company had decided it could no longer compete as a local brewer and was about to move into the national scene. One reason was a costly statewide strike in 1958 that halted Michigan beer production and allowed national brands to gain a foothold. When Peter Stroh took over the company in 1968, it still had not regained the market share lost in the strike ten years earlier.
Stroh ended a 40-year relationship with a local advertising agency for a large national agency and began targeting the larger national market. Led by creative director Murray Page, Stroh’s came up with the slogan “The One Beer…”, and by 1971, Stroh Brewery had moved from 15th to 13th place nationally. In 1972, it entered the top 10 for the first time. A year later it hit eighth place. Peter Stroh’s willingness to depart from years of tradition enabled Stroh’s to survive, but the changes were hard to swallow for many Stroh’s employees. Stroh broke the company’s tradition of family management and recruited managers from companies such as Procter & Gamble and Pepsico. He also introduced a light beer, Stroh’s Light.
By 1978, Stroh’s served 17 states when it produced 6.4 million barrels of beer. By this time, the original Detroit facility was 128 years old and had a capacity of seven million barrels annually. As it became difficult to make efficient shipments to new markets in the East, the company recognized that it required a new brewery. The F. & M. Schaefer Brewing Company had fallen victim to the Miller beer wars and Stroh’s purchased all of Schaefer’s stock. In 1981, the combined breweries ranked seventh in beer sales. In addition, Stroh was able to take advantage of Schaefer’s distributors in the northeastern part of the country. The acquisition also brought Stroh three new brands: Schaefer and Piels beers, and Schaefer’s Cream Ale. The company now had a volume of over 40,000,000 barrels (6,400,000 m3) and 400 distributors in 28 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, and other Caribbean islands.
Stroh’s head office used to be located at Grand Park Centre near Grand Circus Park and Woodward Avenue.
In 1982, Stroh bid for 67 percent of the Schlitz Brewing Company. By spring of that year, Stroh had purchased the entire company, making Stroh’s the third largest brewing enterprise in America: it owned seven brewing plants and reached the market value of $700 million in 1988 (according to Forbes). During the takeover, Schlitz fought a fierce battle in the courts trying to remain independent. Schlitz finally accepted the takeover when Stroh raised its offer from an initial $16 per share to $17, and the U.S. Justice Department approved the acquisition once Stroh agreed to sell either Schlitz’s Memphis or Winston-Salem breweries.
Forbes has an interesting article about the Stroh’s family business’ fall from grace, entitled How To Blow $9 Billion: The Fallen Stroh Family.
Today is the birthday of George K. Schmidt (December 18, 1869-January 1, 1939). He was the son of Kasper George Schmidt, who founded the K.G. Schmidt Brewery. He and his father also founded a bank and he opened a branch brewery in Logansport, Indiana.
Here’s a short biography from Find-a-Grave:
President of Chicago’s Prudential State Savings Bank, Vice-President of Chicago’s Board of Local Improvements, member of Chicago’s Board of Assessors, City Controller of Chicago.
Ran for Mayor of Chicago as the Republican candidate in 1931 against encumbent Mayor “Big Bill” Thompson.
Owned the K G Brewery in Chicago, and the K G Brewery in Logansport, IN which operated until 1951.
County Assessor and City Council Member for Logansport, IN.
A noted outdoorsman whose now famous, pristine duck decoy hunting rig produced by Charles Perdew, the Mason Decoy Factory and Robert Elliston is highly sought after by collectors.
Today is the birthday of Henry Boddington (December 18, 1813-August 19, 1886). After joining the Strangeways Brewery in Manchester as a salesman in 1832, Boddington became a partner sixteen years later, in 1848, but in 1853, he bought out the partners and became the sole owner, renaming it Boddington’s.
Here’s a short bio of Boddington:
Although Boddington’s ale is associated with Manchester, his family were originally from Middle Barton in Oxfordshire.
He was born in Thame in 1813, where his father was the miller. Times were hard in agriculture and the corn-milling business suffered.
The family decided to escape the poverty of rural Oxfordshire for the booming Manchester of the industrial revolution.
Henry began as a salesman for a brewery, and through a wise marriage he gained a foothold in the Strangeways brewery, which he went on to control. Under his leadership it became one of the biggest brewers in the north of England.
This biography of Boddington is from the “Oxford Dictionary of National Biography,” written by R. G. Wilson:
Henry Boddington was born in a mill cottage at Thame where his father, John Boddington, was the miller. He also acted as parish overseer, surveyor of the roads and master of the workhouse where the family lived from 1826. Young Henry was educated at a dame school in the town and assisted his father in various ways, notably with compiling the 1831 census returns for Thame. Henry’s older brother John went north to find his fortune, becoming a clerk at the Strangeways brewery of Hole, Potter and Harrison in Manchester in 1831 and the rest of the family followed in the hope of better prospects.
Henry became a commercial traveller for the brewery, progressed in the business and in 1847 became a partner on the departure of Hole. By 1852 he had become sole proprietor, his success assisted by his marriage to Martha Slater, daughter of a Salford dyer and banker. In the next two decades Strangeways’ output made it a major northern brewery with an empire later extending as far as Birmingham and Burton-on-Trent.
His marriage to Martha produced eight children and his second wife, Eliza Nanson, bore him four more. He retired to Silverdale near Carnforth where he died in 1886. His sons carried on the business, all prosperous and influential public figures in Manchester life. Henry Slater Boddington (1849–1925), for instance, was a director of the Manchester Ship Canal.
Boddingtons remained a family company until 1989 when it was sold to Whitbread and is now part of the Anheuser-Busch Inbev conglomerate, the leading global brewer.
This is Wikipedia’s history of Boddington’s with the part concerning him:
Strangeways Brewery was founded in 1778 by two grain merchants, Thomas Caister and Thomas Fry, just north of what is now Manchester city centre. Their principal customers were the cotton workers of Manchester, then a burgeoning mill town. Henry Boddington, born in 1813 in Thame, Oxfordshire, joined the brewery in 1832 as a travelling salesman when the brewery was in the possession of Hole, Potter and Harrison. Like most Manchester breweries at the time, it was a modestly sized operation. Boddington had become a partner by 1848, alongside John and James Harrison, and by this time the company went under the name John Harrison & Co. In January 1853, Boddington borrowed money to become its sole owner. Between Boddington’s takeover until 1877, the brewery’s output increased tenfold from 10,000 to 100,000 barrels a year, making it not only Manchester’s largest brewery but one of the largest in the North of England, with over 100 tied houses. By 1883 Henry Boddington & Co. was a limited liability company. Henry Boddington’s estate was valued at almost £150,000 when he died in 1886.
And here’s a longer history of the Boddington’s brewery, by Barry McQueen, town crier of Blackpool:
Encouraged by the growth of industrial Manchester, Thomas Caister and Thomas Fray established Strangeways brewery in 1778 on a site just past New Bridge Street to the north of the River Irk.
In 1813, Henry Boddington was born. At the age of 19, he became a traveller for the brewery, and was further promoted within the company, until he was made a partner by John Harrison, the then owner in 1847.
In 1853 Henry became the sole owner of Strangeways brewery, boosting production to 16,731 barrels a year. By 1872 the brewery produced 50,000 barrels a year, a figure which had doubled by 1877.
In 1877, a serious fire badly damaged the Strangeways brewery, which by this time had become the largest beer producer in Manchester. Henry Boddington introduced his son (also called Henry) to the management and thus Henry Boddington & Sons was born.
Following the death of Henry Boddington Snr. in 1886, the company become public limited with the name ‘Boddingtons Breweries Ltd.’, and in 1900 introduced the famous two bees and a barrel logo which is still used today. The logo was adopted from Manchester’s coats of arms with the two bees representing the two B’s of Boddingtons Breweries.
In 1908 Robert Slater Boddington became chairman, before his death in 1930 passed ownership to his sons, Geoffrey and Philip.
World War I followed, and on the night of December 22, 1940, German bombs destroyed Strangeways brewery, prompting the brothers to rebuild it bigger and better than ever.
After Philip’s death in 1952, Geoffrey continued as chairman of Boddingtons Breweries until his retirement in 1970 when he is replaced by Ewart Boddington. After his retirement in 1980, Erwant is replaced by Denis Cassidy, the first time the brewery had not been ran by a member of the Boddingtons family since 1853.
In October 1989 the brewing interests of Boddingtons were sold to Whitbread for £50.7 million, although the pub division was kept by the Boddington group. The move took Boddingtons from being a household name in Manchester with a production of 200,000 barrels a year and turned it into a Worldwide favourite with production in excess of 750,000 barrels, all at its Manchester Strangeways brewery!
In 1994, Boddingtons were the first brewers to introduce canned beer with a Draughtflow dispense system, which prompted the launch of Boddingtons Export in 1995 and Boddingtons Manchester Gold in 1996.
Sales of Boddies are at an all time high, so much so that over 90% of Strangeways’ production is now spent brewing the ale. As a result, Whitbread transferred brewing of Oldham Best bitter to its Burtonwood brewery in Warrington.