Friday’s ad is for Mort Subite, from probably mid-20th century. From the late 1800s until the 1980s, poster art really came into its own, and in Europe a lot of really cool posters, many of them for breweries, were produced. I’ve been posting vintage European posters all last year and will continue to do so in 2020. This poster was created for Brasserie Mort Subite, founded in 1869 when “Johanna Philipina Bastaerts married Jan Fransiscus De Keersmaeker, a farmer. Johanna had inherited what was previously a brewery from her brother, and Jan soon became a part of it. The Bastaerts-De Keersmaeker family had five children, including three sons. One son, Felix Jan De Keersmaeker (1840–1912) eventually inherited the brewery. Felix, who married twice, had one son named Hubert (1896–1945) who took over the brewery at a young age after the death of his father.” The text at the bottom, “La plus vieille, La meilleure!!” Google translates as “The oldest, The best!!” I’m not sure who created this metal sign.
Archives for June 19, 2020
Today is the birthday of Alan MacGregor Cranston (June 19, 1914–December 31, 2000). Cranston was a Democratic senator from California, born in Palo Alto, and served four terms.
Here’s a biography from Find a Grave:
US Senator. A member of the Democratic party, he represented the state of California for four terms in the US Senate from January 1969 until January 1993, serving as the Democratic Whip from 1977 until 1991. Born Alan MacGregor Cranston in Palo Alto, California into a wealthy real estate family, he attended local public schools before attending Pomona College in Claremont, California and the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico in Mexico City, Mexico, and graduated in 1936 from Stanford University in Palo Alto with a degree in journalism. In 1937 he became a correspondent for the International News Service for two years preceding World War II, covering Europe and North Africa. When an abridged English-language translation of Adolf Hitler’s “Mein Kampf” was released, sanitized to exclude some of Hitler’s anti-semitism and militancy, he published a different translation (with annotations) which he believed more accurately reflected the contents of the book. In 1939 Hitler’s publisher sued him for copyright violation in Connecticut and a judge ruled in Hitler’s favor and publication of the book was halted. From 1940 until 1944 he served as chief, foreign language division in the Office of War Information and in 1944 he enlisted in the US Army. In 1945 he wrote the book, “The Killing of the Peace,” a synopsis of the failed bid to get the US to join the League of Nations immediately following World War I. A world government supporter, he attended the 1945 conference that led to the Dublin Declaration, and became president of the World Federalist Association in 1948. In 1949 he successfully pushed for the California legislature to pass the World Federalist California Resolution, calling on Congress to amend the Constitution to allow US participation in a federal world government. From 1949 until 1952 he was the national president of the United World Federalists. In 1952 he co-founded the California Democratic Council and served as its chairman. In 1958 he was elected California’s State Controller as a Democrat and was re-elected in 1962. In 1968 he ran as the Democratic candidate for US Senate and was elected to the first of four six-year terms, defeating Republican challenger Max Rafferty, followed by Republican challenger H.L. “Bill” Richardson in 1974, Republican Paul Gann in 1980, and Republican Congressman Ed Zschau in 1986. During his time in the US Senate, he served on the Banking, Housing, Urban Affairs, Veterans (which he chaired), and Foreign Relations Committees and was strongly opposed to the US involvement in the Vietnam War. He was an unsuccessful candidate for the 1984 Democratic presidential nomination, dropping out of the race after finishing poorly in the Iowa and New Hampshire primaries. In November 1991 he was reprimanded by the US Senate Select Committee on Ethics for “improper conduct” after Lincoln Savings head Charles Keating’s companies contributed $850,000 to voter registration groups closely affiliated with him. Because the Keating affair had damaged his political career, coupled with his diagnosis and treatment of prostate cancer, he decided against running for a 5th US Senate term. His final act as a Senator was to preside over the inauguration of Bill Clinton as President of the US on January 20, 1993. A fitness enthusiast, he was notable for practicing and participating in the sport of track and field as a sprinter in special senior races. An avid lifetime supporter of the global abolishment of nuclear weapons, in his retirement he became a part of the Nuclear Weapon Elimination Initiative of the State of the World Forum and founded the Global Security Institute in 1999, serving as its president. He died of natural causes in Los Altos, California at the age of 86.
Of course, the one thing left out of Cranston’s biography in most accounts is the reason that he’s featured here. On January 4, 1977, Representative William A. Steiger (Republican from Wisconsin’s 6th District) introduced H.R.1337 a transportation bill with the title “A bill to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 with respect to excise tax on certain trucks, buses, tractors, etcetera.”
To that bill, senator Cranston added a crucial amendment which had a profound effect on the landscape of beer today, and its final title was “An Act to amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1954 with respect to excise tax on certain trucks, buses, tractors, et cetera, home production of beer and wine, refunds of the taxes on gasoline and special fuels to aerial applicators, and partial rollovers of lump sum distributions.”
Here’s the text of the beer portion of Amendment 3534, added by Senator Alan Cranston:
(e) BEER FOR PERSONAL OR FAMILY USE. — Subject to regulation prescribed by the Secretary, any adult may, without payment of tax, produce beer for personal or family use and not for sale. The aggregate amount of beer exempt from tax under this subsection with respect to any household shall not exceed —
(1) 200 gallons per calendar year if there are 2 or more adults in such household, or
(2) 100 gallons per calendar year if there is only 1 adult in such household.
For purposes of this subsection, the term ‘adult’ means an individual who has attained 18 years of age, or the minimum age (if any) established by law applicable in the locality in which the household is situated at which beer may be sold to individuals, whichever is greater.
As we all know, President Jimmy Carter signed H.R. 1337 into law on October 14, 1978, paving the way for the our modern brewing industry that includes over 700 breweries in California alone, and over 4,000 nationwide. Thanks Alan.
In 1984, Cranston made a failed bid to run for president. I bet he would have gotten the homebrewing vote.
Today is the birthday of Angelo Poretti (June 19, 1829-October 20, 1901). He was born in northern Italy, in the Vedano Olona area. He traveled in his youth, learned the brewing trade, and returned to Italy and founded the Birrificio Angelo Poretti in 1877. The brewery remained in his family until 1939, and today is owned by the Carlsberg Group.
This biography is from his Italian Wikipedia page, translated by Google:
He was born into a peasant family and decided in his youth to emigrate to Europe, moving between Austria, Germany and Bohemia. Enriched by the experience abroad, in the mid-seventies of the nineteenth century, he returned to Italy to spread the beer in his country. In fact the various years spent abroad gave Angelo Poretti the opportunity to acquire a deep knowledge of beer, thanks to the encounter with some of the best brewers of the time. He then sought in the province of Varese, of which it was originally, the best area to build its brewery, investing the savings accumulated with fatigue together with its Bohemian wife Franziska Peterzilka. At Induno Olona, near the caves of the Valganna, he bought the abandoned Amideria del Dones starch factory; from abroad it imported the machinery, the raw materials and the first master brewer, while the purity of the water, a fundamental element for a quality beer, was guaranteed by the source of the Valgannaknown as the “fountain of the sick”, which Angelo Poretti had purchased. The choice dictated by the search for quality also had a strong advertising impact as the water of the “fountain of the sick”, famous for its healing effects, became the basic element of the beers produced in the new Poretti brewery. Another key element in the choice of the area was the presence of the lake of Ganna and Ghirla from which it drew the ice for storing the drink.
This account is from an Italian museum website in Varese, Museoweb:
Angelo Poretti, born in 1829 in Vedano Olona, decides to leave the province of Varese in his youth to work in Austria, Germany and Bohemia first as a laborer, then as a laborer and finally as a contractor for some railway lines.
In the mid-seventies, with his wife, the Bohemian Franziska Peterzilka, decided to return to Italy and to invest the discreet wealth accumulated in brewing which is so successful in Central Europe. His idea is to introduce in Italy a new type of beer – the Bohemian Pilsner – which compared to those sold up to that point (the “Vienna” and the “Chiavenna”) is lighter and is produced with top quality ingredients . He was convinced of the goodness of the initiative through his long experience in the euro zone. At Induno Olona he identifies the area where to build his own plant. It is located near the caves of the Valganna, where there is a spring, called the “fountain of the sick”, very famous not only in the district but even in Milan for its effects called “miraculous”. Angelo Poretti buys both with an immediate advertising effect: the water from the “fountain of the sick” becomes the basis of his beer.
In short, he buys the factory of the terminated Amideria del Dones, he gets machinery, raw materials and the first master brewer from abroad. The company, created in 1877 and formalized three years later with the establishment of Poretti Angelo and C., won great popularity a few years later, in 1881, on the occasion of the Universal Exposition held in Milan. The elegant Swiss chalet that houses the Varese company, in fact, is literally besieged by a crowd of visitors who want to taste the Italian pilsner. In the following years, the company grew and this despite a market then as now characterized by very low per capita consumption compared to the European average (today we are around 30 liters) and an extreme fragmentation of the sales points.
In addition to his entrepreneurial experience, Angelo Poretti is also active in public and economic life. Over the years, in fact, he held the office of municipal councilor in Varese and mayor of Vedano Olona, while in the mid-1980s he was appointed chairman of the permanent committee of the brewers’ association. He has no children and at his death, in October 1901, he was succeeded by his grandchildren (the sisters’ children) Edoardo Chiesa, the brothers Angelo and Tranquillo Magnani and Francesco Bianchi (who died in 1918).
Until the outbreak of the First World War, the company recorded very positive results, so much so that it entered the top of the national ranking per hectolitre of beer produced. Meanwhile, in 1905, the increased production requirements led the two grandchildren to renew the Induno Olona production facility. The project is entrusted to the German studio Bihl and Woltz, which creates a factory in pure Jugendstil style able to perfectly combine industrial technology with art.
This is the description of the brewery from Wikipedia:
The brewery was founded in 1877 by Angelo Poretti in Induno Olona. In 1939, the company passed to the Bassetti family, who owned the Splügen brewery in Chiavenna. In 1982 the Carlsberg Group bought 50% of the shares from the company, followed in 1998 by a further 25%. In 2002, the Danish group acquired the remaining 25% and thus obtained full ownership of the company from Induno Olona.
And according to the section on Modern Brewing Associations in the “Documentary History of the United States Brewers’ Association,” published in 1896, Poretti was president of the Italian brewers’ organization.