Friday’s ad is for Mena Pils, from 1954. 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, but it’s identical to the poster I shared a few days ago, except instead of Pils in the text and written on glass, it reads “Costo.”
Archives for October 9, 2020
Today is the birthday of Anna Maria Hartig Krug Schlitz (October 9, 1819-January 20, 1887). She was born in Germany, and married August Krug when she was 21, in 1840, and the couple emigrated to Milwaukee Wisconsin in 1848. The Krugs opened a restaurant and the following year, 1849, added a brewery, which was known then as the August Krug Brewery. When he died young, in 1856, his bookkeeper, Joseph Schlitz took over management on behalf of Anna Maria Krug. In 1858, she married Joseph Schlitz and he renamed the brewery after himself.
This biography is from Find-a-Grave:
Anna Maria Hartig was born in Germany. Her first husband was Georg August Krug and her second husband was Joseph Schlitz.
Anna Maria and August were married in 1840 in Miltenberg, Germany. August came to Milwaukee Wisconsin in 1848 and in 1849 opened a restaurant and saloon on Juneau Avenue. He brewed his own beer in the basement of his Kilbourntown home, enough to supply the saloon and restaurant. Because of no refrigeration, beer was only brewed in colder months. He brewed about 150 barrels during the first year. When business was prospering, Anna Maria joined him from Germany.
In 1850, Georg Krug, August’s father, and eight-year old August Uihlein, August’s nephew, came to visit them. On their passage to Milwaukee, they survived the sinking of the S.S. Helene Schlomann. Krug’s father gave August $800, so he sold his restaurant and began construction of a full-time brew house, called the August Krug Brewery. He built Milwaukee’s first underground vaults for the storage of beer. August Uihlein remained in Milwaukee, lived with them and attended school in Milwaukee.
In 1850, August also hired four employees including Joseph Schlitz, a twenty-year-old bookkeeper, who was born in Mainz, Rheinhessen, Germany in 1831. Joseph Schlitz’s father was a wine and beer broker who taught his son the intricacies of both business and brewing. As a bookkeeper, Joseph helped to expand the business by buying horses, wagons, brewing equipment. By 1853 the brewery produced 300 barrels of beer.
Anna Maria’s first husband, August Krug died on December 30, 1856, seven years after his brewery opened. Joseph Schlitz assumed the role of brewery manager. In 1858, two years after August died, Joseph Schlitz married Anna Maria, who was twelve years his senior. By 1859, the Schlitz Brewing Company produced and sold approximately 2,000 barrels of beer.
In 1875, her husband, Joseph Schlitz, traveled to Germany and was lost at sea in a shipwreck off the coast of England on a steamer, The S.S. Schiller on May 7, 1875. A likeness of the steamer can be seen on the front of the Schlitz monument.
Anna Maria then had her five nephews on August Krug’s side of the family, the Uihlein brothers, run the Brewery. August Uihlein helped lead the company to its fame. When Anna Maria died in 1887 at age 68, complete ownership of the company went to the Uihlein brothers.
And this part of longer article on Immigrant Entrepreneurship entitled “Political Revolution, Emigration, and Establishing a Regional Player in Brewing: August Krug and Joseph Schlitz.” This portion discusses Anna Marie and her part of the story:
At the beginning was the German revolution of 1848. Georg August Krug (born April 15, 1815 in Miltenberg, grand duchy of Hesse-Darmstadt; died: December 30, 1856 in Milwaukee, WI) was born the son of Georg Anton Krug (1785–1860) and Anna Marie Ludwig (1784–1864), who owned the brewery “Zum Weißen Löwen,” the predecessor of today’s Faust brewery, in Miltenberg. This was a small and contested town at the River Main, which belonged until 1803 to the Electorate of Mayence (Mainz), became part of the grand duchy of Baden in 1806, was transferred to the grand duchy of Hesse-Darmstadt in 1810, and finally became part of the Kingdom of Bavaria in 1816. Georg August Krug worked in the family business but also became a member of a group of revolutionists surrounding a local doctor and farmer, Jakob Nöthig, who later emigrated to the U.S. after he was accused of being a ringleader (Rädelsführerei) of a local band of political agitators and other offenses against the Bavarian authorities. Krug and his father were among the petitioners in Miltenberg on March 8, 1848 who demanded liberal reforms. On the following day Miltenberg was shaken by protests and turmoil, and Bavarian armed forces reestablished order. Facing official prosecution, the younger Krug became part of the first wave of politically-motivated emigration. He arrived in the United States in May 1848, where he used only his second name and where he was naturalized on December 15, 1854.
In Milwaukee, at that time a preferred destination for the 48ers, August Krug established, probably with his savings, a saloon and restaurant on 4th and Chestnut Streets. Far from Bavaria, he still managed to receive additional support from his family. First, his fiancée Anna Maria Wiesmann Hartig arrived from Miltenberg (Oct. 9, 1819–Jan. 20, 1887) and they eventually married—likely in 1849. She was the daughter of Michael Wiesmann and Christina Schlohr, both from Miltenberg. Her presence allowed an expansion of his business activities. While Anna Maria Krug managed the restaurant, August Krug started a small brewing business at a nearby building at 420 Chestnut Street in 1849. Second, his father Georg Anton Krug arrived in the United States on October 25, 1850, accompanied by his grandson, 8-year-old August Uihlein. Such visits were not without risk: the visitors travelled on the Helena Sloman, the first German steamship on the transatlantic route. It encountered distress at sea on November 28, 1850 and sunk. Nine people were killed, but the vast majority of the crew and the passengers, in total 175 persons, were rescued by the American ship Devonshire. Georg Anton Krug lost a Bavarian beer pump, which went down with the wreckage, but he rescued $800 in gold (or $23,000 in 2010 dollars). This capital was invested into the brewery of his son and used to hire three additional employees, including a bookkeeper named Joseph Schlitz.
August Krug became a respected citizen. In 1850, his real estate property was valued at $1,600 ($46,100 in 2010 dollars). His household consisted of five people: himself and his wife Anna Maria, two brewery workers (both from Bavaria), and a young 18-year-old women, probably a servant. Krug was apparently a respected voice in his neighborhood, as his name was invoked in a newspaper advertisement for a local fireproof tile maker. He could afford to visit Germany in 1855, where he was able to meet with his relatives again.
By the mid-1850s, Krug already saw himself as a competitor for preeminence with other German immigrant brewers in Milwaukee in particular the Best family and Miltenberg-born Valentin Blatz (1826–1894). However, he was injured in an accident late in 1856, when he tumbled down a hatchway, and passed away several days later. The value of the eleven lots of real estate he owned was estimated at $20,050 ($532,000 in 2010 dollars). There were a total of $15,296.76 in claims and demands against the estate, including $276.50 owed to bookkeeper Joseph Schlitz (in 2010 dollars, equivalent to roughly $406,000 and $7,330, respectively).
Anna Maria Krug became the sole owner of the Krug Brewery after her husband’s death. Two years later, in 1858, she married Joseph Schlitz, who at age 27 was twelve years her junior. While a later biography claimed that August Krug “had left definite instructions for the continuing of the business under the active supervision of his valued friend and employe[e], Mr. Schlitz,” there seems to be no direct evidence of this intention on August Krug’s part. Instead, this seems to have been a pragmatic decision reached by the couple together. Joseph knew the business, and he invested his savings to finance the small but steady expansion of the firm and received a free hand to operate it. The “son-in-law” or “widow/faithful employee” relationship mechanism was and is quite typical for ownership transfer in family businesses, and had already been practiced in Milwaukee’s brewing business: when Johann Braun, the owner of the City Brewery, died in 1851, Braun’s widow Louisa married Valentin Blatz. The widow’s capital and the new husband’s business skills enabled the business to continue operating without disruption. Although women played an important role in small businesses in the middle of the nineteenth century, such social mechanisms guaranteed that active management of mid-sized or larger firms by women was rare. Nevertheless, Anna Maria Schlitz seems to have been independent: for example, in 1863, she visited Germany without her husband escorting her.
Anna Maria Krug’s marriage to Schlitz allowed the brewery to retain a capable manager for the business. By the terms of her first husband’s will, after her death her share in Krug’s estate would pass on to his blood relatives, including his nephew August Uihlein. Anna Maria’s childlessness had been one reason for Uihlein’s migration. Her property rights were to become important for strengthening the Uihlein dominance in the Schlitz Brewing Company. After Schlitz’s death in 1875, she lived a modest and reclusive life at the home they had shared on 11th Street in Milwaukee, attended by only one servant, a young woman from Prussia. Like other Milwaukee elite members, she supported the Milwaukee Töchter Institut, founded by German immigrant social entrepreneur and early feminist Mathilde Franziska Anneke. However, not being active in business did not mean living without means: when Anna Maria Schlitz died in 1887, her estate was valued at $500,000 (or $11.8 million in 2010 dollars). Anna Maria Schlitz was buried at Forest Home Cemetery in Milwaukee.
Today is the birthday of Jacob Schmidt (October 8, 1846-September 2, 1910). He was born in Bavaria, Germany, but moved to America, worked at breweries in New York and Milwaukee, then settling in Minnesota, in 1866. In St. Paul, he was brewmaster at Hamm’s, and later left to brew for August Schell and some breweries in the midwest. In 1884, he returned to St. Paul and bought a 50% share of the North Star Brewery, but it burned to the ground, a total loss, in 1899. With his daughter and son-in-law Adolph Bremer, he acquired the Christopher Stahlmann, Cave Brewery, and in 1900 completely remodeled it turning into the iconic “Castle” brewery with the help of Chicago brewery architect Bernard Barthel. They also renamed it the Jacob Schmidt Brewing Co., and after Prohibition, it became the nation’s seventh largest brewery. The brewery continued until 1972, when the brand was bought by G. Heileman. The Castle brewery in St. Paul was abandoned and only recently was renovated into the Schmidt Artist Lofts. Today the Schmidt Brewery brands are owned by Pabst.
Surprisingly, I could find very little biographical information about Jacob Schmidt himself, not even a photo. Here’s a short biography from Find-a-Grave:
Businessman. Born in Bavaria, Germany, he arrived in America at the age of 20 and after working at several breweries for five years, he settled in St. Paul, Minnesota. In St. Paul, he was the Brewmaster for the Theodore Hamm’s Brewing Company, when he left this position in 1900, to become owner and founder of the Jacob Schmidt Brewing Company. He became one of the first brewers to sell more than 10,000 barrels in Minnesota, along with being one of the first brewers to bottle his own beer. He died at age 63 in St. Paul, Minnesota.
Here’s the brewery history from the current brand website:
In 1884, Jacob Schmidt moved to St. Paul, Minnesota and purchased a half interest in the North Star Brewery located at Commercial St. & Hudson Rd. Jacob retired in 1899, turning over the operation to his daughter and son-in-law. The following year the brewery burned to the ground and a new location was immediately found. In 1901, the brewery was incorporated as the Jacob Schmidt Brewing Company and a new plant and malt house were erected next to the existing structures.
Jacob died in 1910, but the brewery continued to enjoy success until Prohibition struck. After a failed attempt at producing soft drinks, a non-alcoholic malt beverage was created and became extremely popular.
After considerable success following the repeal of Prohibition, the company continued to prosper under the Schmidt name until 1955. Most of the original buildings still stand today, looming proudly above the Mississippi River.
Schmidt beer is known as the “Official Beer of the American Sportsman”…a slogan that capitalizes on the exciting, rugged appeal of the Pacific Northwest. The quality and brewing tradition instilled by Jacob Schmidt, continues today.
And here’s the portion of Schmidt’s Wikipedia page that deals with the brewery’s namesake:
Jacob Schmidt started his brewing career in Minnesota as the Brewmaster for the Theodore Hamm’s Brewing Co. He left this position to become owner of the North Star Brewing Co. Under Schmidt’s new leadership the small brewery would see much success and in 1899 Schimdt transferred partial ownership of his new brewery to a new corporation headed by his son in law Adolph Bremer, and Adolph’s brother Otto. This corporation would later become Bremer Bank. With the new partnership the Jacob Schmidt Brewing Company was established. In 1900 the North Star Brewery would suffer a fire that would close it for good. With the new management team in place a new brewery was needed, the new firm purchased the Stahlmann Brewery form the St. Paul Brewing Co. and immediately started construction on a new Romanesque brewery incorporating parts of Stahlmann’s original brewery along with it including the further excavation of the lagering cellars used in the fermentation process to create Schmidt’s Lager Beer.
This account is excerpted from the Land of Amber Waters: The History of Brewing in Minnesota, by Doug Hoverson:
Here’s a portion of a lengthier, more thorough account of the brewery’s history, from Substreet:
He came to the United States in 1865 at the age of 20 and worked in brewhouses as he moved westward. He worked in Rochester, Chicago, and Milwaukee, before coming to Minnesota, where he found a position at Schell’s brewery in New Ulm, before moving to Minneapolis’ Heinrich’s and then to Banholzer’s and Hamm’s of St. Paul.
At Theodore Hamm’s brewery, the biggest of its kind in the state, Schmidt became not just the chief brewer, but also a personal friend of the firm’s powerful owner and namesake.
Ultimately, Jacob Schmidt wanted his own brewery.
On the other end of Swede Hollow, in 1860, Edward Drewry and George Scotten founded what would become the North Star Brewery, then just called ‘Drewry & Scotten’. Though it featured a brewhouse large enough to compete with Stahlmann’s operation on the other side of St. Paul, and had adequate—though far from extensive—underground cellars to match, this brewery produced ale, not lager beer, and therefore did not compete with Stahlmann’s brand.
After changing hands several times, it was clear by the early 1880s that North Star required a talented master brewer. The owners of that humble brewery, William Constans (grocer and brewery supply dealer) and Reinhold Koch (brewer and Civil War veteran), hired Jacob Schmidt, and the former Hamm’s brewer rapidly expanded production below the bluff.
Together, Schmidt, Constans and Koch grew North Star Brewery to the point it competed directly with Hamm’s.
In a few years, the Dayton’s Bluff brewhouse became the second greatest producer of beer west of Chicago by some estimates, sending out 16,000 barrels annually as far as Illinois. In 1884, Constans and Koch decided to leave the business, thereby leaving Schmidt as sole owner. In 1899, Schmidt took down the ‘North Star Brewery’ sign and replaced it with ‘Jacob Schmidt Brewing Company’.
The next year, it all burned.
Today, all that remains of the brewery are its aging cellars, which are a part of the new Bruce Vento Nature Sanctuary in Lowertown off Commercial Street.
As he considered the cost of rebuilding, Schmidt received a proposal from St. Paul Brewing: they wanted to sell him their troubled brewery. The brewmaster accepted the offer and moved his operation into the former Cave Brewery, which had been only slightly modified since Stahlmann built it almost 50 years prior. Facilities were inadequate, but he would fix that.
Interestingly, Jacob Schmidt had all the bottles salvaged from the ruined brewery shipped to his new location. The glasses still bore the mark of the North Star brand, a large five-pointed star—a feature the brewer would ultimately opt to keep.
Stars cover the Schmidt brewery to this day, in signs and ironwork, hearkening to Jacob Schmidt’s time at, and the destruction of, North Star Brewery.
Observing the lowly state that Stahlmann’s brewery was in, Schmidt hired a rising Chicago architect, Bernard Barthel, to design a totally new complex to replace what was left of the Christopher Stahlmann Brewing Company, and St. Paul Brewing Company’s brash modifications to it.
It would be medieval on the outside, but totally modern and streamlined inside.
Soon, imposing red brick towers were rising on Fort Road, with obvious influences borrowed from feudal era castles, replacing the modest remains of Cave Brewery. Construction of Jacob Schmidt Brewing Co. was completed in 1904, followed in the next decade by its more significant outbuildings, notably ending in 1915 with the Bottling Department. Schmidt beer was some of the first to be bottled on-site in the state.
The new brewery complex was designed to compete with the biggest brewers in the country, and it did.
When Jacob died in 1911, his brewery was an icon of the West Side and the employer of more than 200 people. More importantly, the beer continued to flow, unlike the bust that followed the Stahlmanns. Though the man himself was gone, the name Schmidt was becoming ever more prominent across the country.
Schmidt’s also hired famed artist Norman Rockwell to do one of my favorite pieces of advertising art for them.
It’s a pretty awesome piece, but not the only work in beer he did. For more, see Norman Rockwell’s Beer.
The thing I personally remember about Schmidt’s was their collectible cans which were all over the place when I was a kid. There was a seemingly endless variety of their can designs, and I have read that it really helped keep the business afloat, at least for a time.