Sunday’s ad is for Costo Mena, from 1961. From the late 1800s until the 1970s, poster art really came into its own, and in Europe a lot of really cool posters, many of them for breweries, were produced. This poster was created for Brouwerij Mena, which was located in Rotselaar, a municipality located in the Belgian province of Flemish-Brabant. It was founded by Eduard Meynckens on his farm in 1896. After he died, his son Valère Meynckens took over the brewery, bringing in a partner, Henri Nackaerts, and the first two letter of each of their names was chosen as the company name, MeNa. In 1969, Brouwerij Artois acquired Mena, and in 1994 the brewery building was declared a protected monument and was converted into a municipal cultural center. I don’t know who the artist was that created this poster.
Archives for October 5, 2020
Today is the birthday of Anthony Yoerg (October 5, 1816-July 5, 1896). He was born in Bavaria, was trained there as a brewer, and came to America when he was 29, settling first in Pittsburgh, then Illinois, before settling in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1848. In 1869, Anthony and his son built Minnesota’s first brewery, and began selling beer the following year, in 1870.
Here’s a short biography of Anthony Yoerg:
Anthony Yoerg, born in Bavaria in 1816, arrived in St. Paul in 1848. After a failed attempt at running a butcher shop, he and his son, Anthony Yoerg, Jr., began construction of Minnesota’s first brewery that winter near where Washington and Eagle once met (just bellow the current civic center parking lot). Their first beer was sold the following spring. In 1870 the Yoergs moved their operation across the river to Commercial (Ethel) & Ohio St. This new location was equipped with the latest in steam-powered equipment as well as five cellars excavated into the sandstone bluffs to serve as fermentation and storage holds for the popular lager beer.
Anthony Yoerg died July 5, 1896, leaving his family to operate the brewery as the Yoerg Brewing Co., which they did successfully even through Prohibition, when they produced soft drinks. Beer began flowing again after Repeal and the Yoerg Brewing Co. continued operation up until 1952.
The brewery buildings were eventually occupied by the Harris Plumbing Company. On September 26, 1958, the main building caught fire and was eventually razed.
This account is by Dave C. of the Minnesota Beer Activists:
Anthony Yoerg was “Minnesota’s first commercial brewer. Born in 1816, Yoerg was born in real beer country, Bavaria Germany. He was trained as a brewer in Bavaria and moved to the United States when he was 29. He jumped around the country a little before landing in St Paul in 1848.
By the following year, Yoerg was already up and brewing in the area behind the Eagle Street Grille where he could use the bluffs to store his beer in which it was famously referred to as “Cave-Aged”. By the time 1871 came around his beer was in such demand that the brewery was getting too cramped and he needed to relocate. Finding a new location was as simple as looking across the river.
The new brewery was built on the corner of St. Paul’s Ohio and Ethel streets. Here Yoerg had the perfect 47-degree climate for the storage and aging of the beer and more than enough room if needed for any future expansion of the brewery. Soon his new brewery was producing up to 50 barrels of beer a day and things were looking up for Yoerg and his crew.
By 1880 the brewery had entered “the modern age” and installed steam power. The work crew consisted of around 20 workers including the brewmaster Joseph Slappi… (I could make a joke here but I won’t). In the next decade the styles were expanded by offering Pilsner (of course), Lager and Culmbacher, (not exactly sure what style that is but Kulmbacher is currently a beer in Germany which is made in…Kulmbach). On a side note Yoerg had a slogan for their Royal Export beer and that was “The Queen of beers”…yeah I’m not sure what was going on in those caves but those guys spent way too much time together haha. Also, is this where Budweiser got the inspiration for their slogan?
Sadly, in July of 1896 Anthony Yoerg died. After which Yoerg’s five sons took over the business and continued on.
By far, the most and best information about Anthony Yoerg, the Yoerg Brewing Co., and the entire family, can be found at Yoerg’s Beer, a contemporary effort to bring back the Yoerg beer brand to Saint Paul. They also have a lot of history and images of all things Yoerg Beer.
Saint Paul has a rich and storied brewing history, and it all started with the opening of Minnesota’s first brewery in 1848; The Anthony Yoerg Brewing Company. Minnesota, and in particular Saint Paul, had one of the largest German populations in the country back then, and these immigrants brought with them the great art of brewing. The German technology was much more advanced than the British influences that were prevalent at the time, and Minnesota had all the required ingredients to brew great beer; terrific water sources and lots of farmland to grow barley and hops.
Anthony Yoerg was born into a brewing family on October 5th, 1816 in the Bavarian village of Gundelfingen. At 19 years of age, he immigrated to the United States and first settled in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. Soon after he relocated to Galena Illinois and finally moved to a new Minnesota settlement on the Mississippi River called Saint Paul. For a very short time Anthony ran a butcher shop in a German neighborhood on the West Side but he quickly decided to change careers and opened a small brewery in the German ‘Uppertown’ neighborhood not far from today’s seven corners.
For 21 years Yoerg ran this little brewery with great success and Saint Paul was a becoming quite popular in the Midwest with up to 12 breweries operation at one time. But the Yoerg Brewery was the most revered of them all, and produced hearty, Bavarian styled beers that were the standard bearers of the state and the benchmark that every new Minnesota brewery would try to recreate. In 1871, Anthony built a great stone brewery across the river on Ohio Street on the West Side, just two blocks from Water Street. A mile of underground cooling caves were created and this new operation was a true, fully automated brewery that was the envy of breweries nationwide. Production was now up to 50 barrels of beer a day, and by 1881, they were producing over 20,000 barrels of beer a year. Ten years later and production has almost doubled with the brewery now producing over 35,000 barrels a year and they were one of the biggest breweries in the state (With Theodore Hamms and Jacob Schmidt far behind him).
Yoerg’s ‘Cave Aged’ beers were produced exclusively from Minnesota grown Barley and 100% Washington State Hops. The water source was a deep well dug on the Brewery property and the Yoerg’s had their own Bavarian cooper on staff that made and designed all their own oak cooperage. The bottling line was the finest available and the family was constantly upgrading their equipment. The Yoerg Lagers were produced utilizing the steam process, this meant that the beers were brewed at warm temperatures using lager yeasts, and the finished products were the richest and most lavish beers on the market. The family was also famous for hiring other German immigrants back then to work at the brewery (the entire staff were almost all Bavarian born).
Yoerg Brewery employees in the 1880s.
And here’s Yoerg’s obituary:
Today is the 43rd birthday of Morgan Cox, founder and brewmaster of Ale Industries in Concord, California. Morgan started homebrewing at an early age, and washed kegs for Dave Heist at HopTown, before brewing at E.J. Phair. After eight years there, he left to open his own brewery, Ale Industries, where he’s been making inventive, tasty beers very since. Join me in wishing Morgan a very happy birthday.
Note: the last two photos purloined from Facebook.
Today is the birthday of Alexander Keith (October 5, 1795–December 14, 1873). He was born in Scotland, where he was trained as a brewer. He settled in Canada, specifically Halifax, Nova Scotia, in 1820, where he founded the Alexander Keith Brewery.
Here’s his biography from his Wikipedia page:
Keith was born in Halkirk, Caithness, Highland, Scotland, where he became a brewer. He immigrated to Canada in 1817 and founded the Alexander Keith’s brewing company in Halifax, Nova Scotia in 1820, moving to a three-storey building on Hollis Street at Lower Water in the downtown area in 1820. Keith had trained as a brewer in Edinburgh and London. His early products included ale, porter, ginger wine, table and spruce beers.
Alexander Keith served as mayor in 1843 and in 1853-54 and president of the Legislative Council (provincial parliament) from 1867 to his death in 1873.
Throughout his career Keith was connected with several charitable and fraternal societies. He served as president of the North British Society from 1831 and as chief of the Highland Society from 1868 until his death. In 1838 he was connected with the Halifax Mechanics Library and in the early 1840s with the Nova Scotia Auxiliary Colonial Society. Keith was also well known to the Halifax public as a leader of the Freemasons. He became Provincial Grand Master for the Maritimes under the English authority in 1840 and under the Scottish lodge in 1845. Following a reorganization of the various divisions in 1869, he became Grand Master of Nova Scotia. There are four masonic lodges named in his honour: Moncton, New Brunswick, and Halifax, Stellarton, and Bear River in Nova Scotia.
Alexander Keith died in Halifax in 1873 and was buried at Camp Hill Cemetery at the corner of Spring Garden Road and Robie Streets. His birthday is often marked by people visiting the grave and placing beer bottles and caps on it (or, less frequently, cards or flowers).
And this more thorough biography is from the Dictionary of Canadian Biography:
KEITH, ALEXANDER, brewer and politician; b. 5 Oct. 1795 in Caithness-shire, Scotland, son of Donald Keith and Christina Brims; d. 14 Dec. 1873 in Halifax, N.S.
When Alexander Keith was 17, his father sent him to an uncle in northern England to learn the brewing business. Five years later, when Keith migrated to Halifax, he became sole brewer and business manager for Charles Boggs, and he bought out Boggs’ brewery in 1820. On 17 Dec. 1822 he married Sarah Ann Stalcup, who died in 1832. On 30 Sept. 1833 he married Eliza Keith; they had six daughters and two sons. One son, Donald G. Keith, became a partner in the brewing firm in 1853.
In 1822 Keith moved his brewery and premises to larger facilities on Lower Water Street and in 1836 he again expanded, building a new brewery on Hollis Street. In 1863 he began construction of Keith Hall which was connected by a tunnel to his brewery. Keith Hall, now occupied by Oland’s Brewery, is in the Renaissance palazzo style, with baroque adornments, pillars of no particular style, and a mansard roof. This peculiar combination of styles resulted from the fact that the designs were probably derived from books with plans of buildings in Great Britain and the United States. Keith’s appointment as a director of the Bank of Nova Scotia in 1837 along with William Blowers Bliss is an indication of his importance in the Halifax business community. Beginning in 1837, he also served as a director, at various dates, of the Halifax Fire Insurance Company. In 1838 he helped found the Halifax Marine Insurance Association, and in the 1840s he was on the board of management of the Colonial Life Assurance Company. He was also a director of the Halifax Gas, Light, and Water Company, incorporated in 1840, and in 1844 helped incorporate the Halifax Water Company, becoming a director in 1856. By 1864 Keith was a director of the Provincial Permanent Building and Investment Society. At the time of his death his estate was evaluated at $251,000.
Keith’s interest in utilities and insurance was but part of his general involvement in the public life of Halifax. He was unsuccessful in the general election of 1840 when he stood as a Conservative candidate for the town of Halifax but was elected to the first city council in 1841. In 1842 he served as a commissioner of public property and in 1843 was selected mayor of Halifax. He continued as a member of council until he again served as mayor, by election, in 1853 and 1854. In December 1843 he was appointed to the Legislative Council and in June 1867 he accepted the appointment of president of the council, declining a seat in the Canadian Senate. As a supporter of confederation and president of the council, he was helped at first by the fact that before 1 July 1867 Charles Tupper* had filled several seats in the upper house with known confederates. Although the premier, William Annand*, appointed to the upper house in November 1867, had complete control of the lower house, he did not dare introduce a resolution into the upper chamber in 1868 calling for repeal of union. The anti-confederates gradually secured control of the upper house, however, and Keith was unable to prevent passage, in 1871, of a particularly flagrant bill which took the vote from all federal officials in provincial elections. It was perhaps a commentary on Keith that he was not actively involved at this time with the Conservative party organization which was run by such party stalwarts as Philip C. Hill* and James MacDonald*.
Throughout his career Keith was connected with several charitable and fraternal societies. He served as president of the North British Society from 1831 and as chief of the Highland Society from 1868 until his death. In 1838 he was connected with the Halifax Mechanics Library and in the early 1840s with the Nova Scotia Auxiliary Colonial Society. Keith was perhaps best known to the Halifax public as a leader of the freemasons. He became provincial grand master for the Maritimes under the English authority in 1840 and under the Scottish lodge in 1845. Following a reorganization of the various divisions in 1869, he became grand master of Nova Scotia.
This short history of Keith’s brewery is from their Wikipedia page:
Founded in 1820, Alexander Keith’s is a brewery in Halifax, Canada. It is among the oldest commercial breweries in North America. (The oldest surviving brewing enterprise in Canada was established by John Molson in Montreal in 1786 while the oldest in the US, Yuengling, originally called Eagle Brewing, was founded in 1829 in Pottsville, PA.)
Keith’s was founded by Alexander Keith who emigrated from Scotland in 1817. Keith moved the facility to its final location, a three-storey building on Hollis Street at Lower Water in the downtown area, in 1820. Keith had trained as a brewer in Edinburgh and London. His early product included ale, porter, ginger wine, table and spruce beers. Alexander Keith was mayor in 1843 and in 1853-54 and president of the Legislative Council from 1867 to his death in 1873.
Keith’s was sold to Oland Breweries in 1928 and to Labatt in 1971. Today, the brewery is under the control of this subsidiary of Anheuser–Busch InBev which took the brand national in 1990’s. Keith’s also produces Oland Brewery beers, distributed in Eastern Canada.
In April 2011, Anheuser–Busch InBev began selling Alexander Keith’s beer in the United States after nearly two centuries of being available only in Canada.
AB InBev produces Keith’s India Pale Ale, currently the most popular product in this line, as well as Keith’s Red Amber Ale, Keith’s Premium White, and Keith’s Light Ale. Products sold in the United States are labelled Keith’s Nova Scotia Style Pale Ale, Keith’s Nova Scotia Style Lager, and Keith’s Nova Scotia Style Brown Ale. Seasonal products have included Keith’s Ambrosia Blonde, Keith’s Harvest Ale, and Keith’s Tartan Ale. Although Alexander Keith products were originally produced in the Halifax brewery only for sale in the Maritimes, they are now national products, mass produced at AB InBev plants across Canada and in Baldwinsville, New York.
Today is the birthday of Karl Strauss (October 5, 1912-December 21, 2006). He “was a German-American brewer. He fled Nazi Germany in 1939, and went on to become a brewer, executive, and consultant in the American brewing industry. He received numerous awards during his career, which spanned both the large national brewery and the microbrew segments of the industry. Karl Strauss Brewing Company, which he helped found in 1989, continues to bear his name.”
I only met Karl one time (I think) in the latter half of the 1990s during my BevMo days. In 2006, my Karl Strauss rep. from that time sent me an e-mail letting me know that Karl has passed, and I wrote the following in the blog ten years ago. “Yesterday, Karl Strauss passed away in Milwaukee at age 94. Born in Germany, and a graduate of Weihenstephan, Strauss worked for Pabst for decades before retiring as a vice-president. In 1989, along with cousin Chris Cramer and Matt Rattner, Strauss founded the San Diego microbrewery that bears his name. It was San Diego’s first one and today the company operates a brewery and six brewpubs.”
Here’s the more thorough story from the brewery website:
Karl Strauss was destined to brew beer. Born in 1912 on the premises of his father’s brewery in Minden, Germany, he spent his childhood playing amid beer barrels and sacks of fresh hops and barley. At age 19, he left home for Bavaria, the brewing capital of Germany, to attend the Technical University of Munich-Weihenstephan. There he earned a degree in the science and practice of malting and brewing, as well as a Master Brewer certification. Given the political situation in 1930s Germany, Karl had to look abroad for work. In February of 1939, he boarded the SS Manhatten and set sail for America, in pursuit of opportunity. His job search led him to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, home to one of the most famous breweries in the United States.
Karl began his career at Pabst Brewing Company on the bottling line in May, 1939. But with his strong work ethic and educational background, he quickly worked his way up the brewing ranks. In the 1950s, he was part of the team that reformulated the recipe for Pabst’s Blue Ribbon beer. The improved version catapulted sales for the company, and PBR remains an American brewing icon to this day. In 1960, Karl became Vice President of Production, overseeing all brewing operations across the country. He held the position until he retired in 1983, after 44 years with the company.
Not content to rest after his retirement, Karl launched a new career as a brewery consultant, providing expert advice to breweries all over the world. In 1986, he was approached by his cousin Chris in San Diego about starting a microbrewery. Karl thought it was a great idea. He helped design the brewery, train the brewers, and create recipes for the first beers. He was so passionate about the project that he even lent his name, face and voice to the enterprise. Karl served as Master Brewer from 1989 to 2006, remaining involved in brewery operations until his passing.
Karl was very active in the brewing community throughout his life. He was president of the Master Brewers Association of the Americas (1961-1963) and founder and director of the Museum of Beer and Brewing in Milwaukee. He is the only person to have received the MBAA Award of Merit (1981), Award of Honor (1992), and the Distinguished Life Service Award (2003). Karl also believed it was important to pass on the techniques and traditions of his craft to young brewers. We created the Karl M. Strauss Brewers Education Fund in honor of his work.
Karl had a contagious enthusiasm that inspired everyone around him. He was driven by a belief that everyone should enjoy life, preferably with good friends and good beer. Over the course of his 70 plus years as a brewer, he brewed more than seven billion servings of beer, enough for everyone on the planet to have a Karl Strauss Beer.
Here’s much more, from Wikipedia:
He was born October 5, 1912, on the second floor of the administration building of the Feldschlösschen Bräu, a brewery in Minden, Germany, of which his father was president. The second born of two boys and a girl to Albrecht and Mathilde Strauss, he attended the Oberrealschule in Minden where he received his Abitur. During his young life he assisted his father as a brewer and intern while living in the family quarters at the brewery. At age 19, he went to the Technical University of Munich at Weihenstephan, where he received a degree in the science and practice of malting and brewing. In addition, he received Master Brewer certification, allowing him to teach apprentice brewers. With his diploma in hand, he began working at breweries including the Falkenkreuz Brauerei Lippert in Detmold, Westphalia; the Bauer Brauerei in Lübeck, Holstein; and the Altstädter Malzfabrik in Altstadt, Thuringia.
With the rise of the Nazis, Germany was not a safe place for the Jewish Strauss family, and work became scarce. “I graduated from college while Hitler was in power and as a Jew could not find employment in the brewing industry,” he wrote in 1943. Thanks to family living in the United States, he was able to secure sponsorship to emigrate. But other members of his family were not so lucky. The last time he saw his mother was the night he left Germany. She later was killed in a concentration camp. His brother was killed in a Nazi raid on the Polish underground.
Career in America
In 1939, Strauss left Germany for the United States, followed soon by his first wife, Irene Vollweiler. He had planned to join family members in San Francisco, California, but stopped in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, at the urging of an uncle to visit family friends. While there he applied for a job with the Pabst Brewing Company, which he intended to be temporary. “I arrived in Milwaukee on St. Patrick’s Day, 1939,” he later recalled. “I started to work at Pabst on May 11, 1939, and I worked for Pabst for 44 years.”
He began his work at Pabst feeding bottles to the bottle soaker. However, “once Pabst realized that it had a Bavarian brew master in its employ, Strauss quickly advanced.” Within a few months he was promoted to foreman of filtration. He continued to quickly move up the corporate ladder, becoming an assistant superintendent and later malt house superintendent. In 1942, he was transferred to Pabst’s brewery in Peoria, Illinois, as the plant production manager. Within a few years he was made head maltster in Milwaukee and was assistant superintendent of the malt house and brewhouse. In 1948, he was promoted to superintendent of Pabst’s newly purchased plant in Los Angeles, and remained there until 1956. He was named technical director of Pabst in 1958, and promoted to vice-president of production in 1960. He helped Pabst reformulate its beer, as well as create a new Pabst Blue Ribbon. He continued as vice-president until retiring from Pabst in 1983.
His first wife died in 1978. He married his second wife, Marjean Schaefer, in 1980.
In the 1980s, Strauss began a new career as a brewery consultant, providing services for both large breweries and microbreweries throughout the world. He had clients in Europe, Asia, and North America, including Molson, Tsingtao, The Boston Beer Company, and Goose Island Beer Company. He helped design more than 50 brewpubs and microbreweries.
In 1987, a cousin, Chris Cramer, and Cramer’s college roommate, Matt Rattner, asked Strauss to help them develop a brewpub in San Diego, California. Strauss not only designed the brewery and trained the brewers; he also formulated the original beer recipes and lent his name to the endeavor. Opening on February 2, 1989, Karl Strauss Brewing Company became the first brewery in San Diego in more than fifty years and is credited with having launched the craft brewing industry in San Diego. Strauss served as the brewmaster and corporate image of Karl Strauss Brewing Company. As corporate spokesman he made radio commercials in his thick German accent, always concluding “…or my name isn’t Karrrrl Strrrrrauss!”; on the technical side he was heavily involved in the design of the company’s new properties and brewing of new beers. He remained actively involved with the company until his death in Milwaukee on December 21, 2006, at the age of 94. He is buried at Mount Sinai Memorial Park in Los Angeles.
Strauss co-authored a book, The Practical Brewer, published by the Master Brewers Association of the Americas.
Strauss was president of the Master Brewers Association of the Americas from 1961–63. He is the only person to receive all three of the highest awards given by the association: the Award of Merit (1981), given to an individual or individuals who made an outstanding contribution to the brewing industry; the Award of Honor (1992), given to a member who has rendered outstanding service to the association; and the Distinguished Life Service Award (2003), which recognizes MBAA members who have given exceptional service to the association.
Karl was a founder and director of the Museum of Beer and Brewing in Milwaukee. The museum now presents an annual Karl Strauss Award to individuals for lifetime contributions to the industry.
In 2006, Karl Strauss Brewing Company set up the Karl Strauss Brewers Education Fund with the Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego. The fund provides financial educational support to aspiring southern California brewers pursuing a career in the field of brewing.
And finally, here’s a video celebrating what would have been Karl’s 100th birthday in 2012.