Thursday’s ad is for “Hamm’s,” from the 1950s. This ad was made for Hamm’s Brewing, which was founded in 1865 by Theodore Hamm in St. Paul, Minnesota. At its peak, it was the 5th largest brewery in America, and operated facilities in five cities, including San Francisco, L.A., Baltimore and Houston, in addition to the original brewery in Minnesota. This one features three lakeside vignettes and a tray of Hamm’s Preferred Stock, with the tagline: “Hamm’s … America’s Most Refreshing Beer.”
Archives for October 21, 2021
Today is the birthday of John D. McKechnie (October 21, 1849-February 14, 1906). He was the son of Alexander McKechnie, who along with Alexander’s brother James, the Scottish brothers founded the J. & A. McKechnie Brewing Co., d.b.a. the Canandaigua Brewery, in 1843, in Canandaigua, New York. In 1889, after the last brother passed away, John McKechnie became president of the brewery, and it was renamed the simpler McKechnie Brewing Co., but closed for good at the start of Prohibition.
Here’s the obituary for McKechnie from The Western Brewer:
And here’s a history of the brewery by Lynn Paulson, the City of Canandaigua Historian, from the Archives of the Ontario County Historical Society:
In 1830, the McKechnie family left Falkirk, Scotland and emigrated to Canada, and from there to Rochester, New York in 1837 where the elder McKechnie with his oldest son set up a brewery business. Two other sons, James and Alexander McKechnie, left Rochester in 1843 and purchased a small brewery in Canandaigua on the site of what is now the Daily Messenger building on Buffalo Street.
The Canandaigua Brewery grew steadily, producing a product that from its earliest days was noted for its excellence. In 1871, the major buildings of the brewery were rebuilt and by 1876, the brewery had become the largest employer in Canandaigua with about 100 workers. The buildings covered over five acres of land and consisted of the brewery and storage block, malt-houses, a cooper shop, woodsheds, a barn for stabling horses, and three ice houses, which had the capacity to store 2000 tons of ice. While the brewery had the capacity of producing 500 barrels of beer each year in its early years, the capacity had grown to 1,000 barrels of beer per week.
The McKechnies became involved in several other enterprises besides their brewery. In 1880 they founded the Canandaigua Lake Steam Navigation Company, which promoted shipping and tourism on Canandaigua Lake. The McKechnie Bank was organized in 1882 and later would become the Ontario Trust Bank. The McKechnies also invested in other businesses including the Canandaigua Gas and Light Company, the local ice houses, and area hops farms. Alexander’s son, John, purchased the Seneca Point Hotel on Canandaigua Lake and managed it until it burned in 1899.
After the death of Alexander McKechnie in 1883, the firm was incorporated as a stock company renamed the McKechnie Brewing Company under the management of James McKechnie. In the production of its ale, the company used only the choicest hops and high-grade malt made from barley grown in Western New York, much of which was grown in Bristol and South Bristol. The hops and barley were brought by steamboat to the Canandaigua City Pier.
With the death of James McKechnie in 1889, the business was managed by John D. McKechnie, the eldest son of Alexander McKechnie. The stock company was renamed the J. & A. McKechnie Brewery Company.
In 1904, the brewery was sold to Schopf Distributors located in Buffalo. The brewery was fully remodeled and concentrated on the production of its celebrated Canandaigua Ale. It had so excellent a reputation that shipments went as far west as Salt Lake City, Utah. The ale is said to have “such an excellent quality that it is widely recommended by physicians as a nourishing and healthful drink for invalids.” The yearly capacity of the brewery had reached 60,000 barrels.
The refurbished brewery had a cooperage where the kegs and barrels necessary for handling the product were manufactured, and a large cold storage warehouse where large quantities of the choice fruit, mostly apples, grown in the vicinity of Canandaigua could be stored. The old-fashioned wooden tanks formerly used to store the ale were discarded and replaced with glass enameled steel tanks that ensured the purity of the ale. Throughout all the processes of manufacture and in all departments of the plant, the strictest cleanliness and attention to sanitary detail were observed.
In 1916, with the advent of Prohibition in New York state, and in 1920, with the implementation of Prohibition nationwide, the J. & A. McKechnie Brewery was forced to close. In addition, the hops farms were hit with several blights in the early 1900s that effectively decimated the industry. For a brief period, the brewery attempted to survive on the production of pickles and vinegar. An attempt was made in 1933 by a Syracuse entrepreneur to reopen the McKechnie Brewery, but it never materialized.
The Canandaigua Cold Storage & Ice Company occupied the buildings of the old brewery until it was sold to the GLF bean processing and dog/pet food manufacturing plant in 1940. On Jan. 1, 1961, the GLF plant burned, leaving a few remaining buildings on the site. Ironically, the McKechnie home on North Main Street where the American Legion had located in 1945 burned in 1960. Any remaining structures of the old McKechnie brewery were removed in 1971 when The Daily Messenger built its new facility on Buffalo Street.
Today is the birthday of Emil (sometimes spelled Emile) Schmitt (October 21, 1851-November 13, 1898). He was born in Lorraine, France, and emigrated to America in 1853 with his family, settling in Cincinnati, Ohio. Having married Maria Elizabeth “Mary” Kauffman, he was the son-in-law of John Kauffman, who was part of the group that bought the Franklin Brewery in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1856. By 1859, it was called the John Kaufman & Co. Brewery, and it became the fourth largest brewery in Cincinnati. Eventually, he remained as the sole owner, and in 1882 renamed it the John Kauffman Brewing Co. Emil Schmitt was the manager of the brewery. When he died in 1886, Emil assumed control of it. It was closed by prohibition, and never reopened, although it was used as the Husman Potato Chip factory, so at least it was put to good use.
The name confusion is particularly odd, since some accounts, notably his page on Ancestry.com, claims that he was a twin, and that he, Emile, had a twin sister named Emil. But even the illustration accompanying his obituary, shown above, is titled Emil, and you’d be hard-pressed to conclude that’s a woman. There’s also some suggestion that she also died at the same time as her brother Emile. There’s definitely some conflicting reports on this.
Here’s his obituary, from the Cincinnati Enquirer:
There’s an entry for the John Kauffman Brewery in the “History of Cincinnati and Hamilton County, Ohio,” published in 1894:
“In 1856 John Kauffman, George F. Eichenlaub, and Rudolf Rheinbold purchased the Franklin Brewery on Lebanon Road near the Deer Creek from Kauffman’s aunt. Her husband, John Kauffman, estabished the brewery in 1844. He died in 1845. In 1859 under the name Kauffman and Company, they began to build a new brewery on Vine Street and soon left the Deer Creek location. The first structure on Vine was completed in 1860.
In 1871 the Kauffman Brewery was the city’s fourth largest with sales amounting to $30,930. It was located on both the west and east sides of Vine north of Liberty and south of Green Street.
In 1860 Kauffman also bought the Schneider grist mill on Walnut Street near Hamilton Road (McMicken Avenue), but leased it out before long to another company.
In its first year on Vine Street, the brewery produced only about 1000 barrels. By 1877 the number grew to 50,000 barrels of beer. Kauffman’s beer was sold in Nashville, Montgomery, Atlanta, Charleston, Savannah, and New Orleans.
In 1865 Eichenlaub retired from the business and he was followed by Rheinbold in 1877. John Kauffman then took over the leadership by himself. After his oldest son Johnn studied brewing in Augsburg, Germany, he went to work at the family brewery. Emil Schmidt, Kauffman’s son-in-law, was superintendent by 1877.
In 1882 the brewery was incorporated as the John Kauffman Brewing Company with a paid-in capital stock of $700,000. In 1888 the brewery building at 1622 Vine was enlarged. Note it is occupied by the Schuerman Company today. The office and family residence was at 1625-27 Vine, which was razed and replaced about 75 years ago.
John Kauffman died in 1892 and his wife Marianne Eichenlaub Kauffman took over. She was president of the corporation; Emil Schmidt, vice-president; and treasurer; Charles Rheinbold, secretary; Charles J. Kauffman, superintendent; and John R. Kauffman, brewmaster. By 1894 the brewery produced 70,000 barrels of beer. The malt house had a capacity of 150,000 bushels of barley and the brewery plant covered five acres of ground.
By 1913 John R. Kauffman was president of the company. The brewery produced ‘Gilt Edge’, ‘Columbia’ and ‘Old Lager’ beers. It closed in 1919 when Prohibition became law and never reopened.”
The brewery is also mentioned briefly in a History of the Brewery District for Cincinnati:
Industry continued to be an important factor in Over-the-Rhine’s development. The canal area was still the location of many diversified industries, including lumberyards, foundries, pork packers, tanneries, and glycerin works. The brewing industry tended to concentrate along McMicken Avenue and the Miami and Erie canal (what is now the Brewery District). By 1866 the Jackson Brewery, J. G. John & Sons Brewery, Christian Moerlein Brewing Company, and John Kauffman Brewing Company dominated the industrial use of the area. In close association on the west side of the canal were the John Hauck and Windisch-Mulhauser Brewing Companies. Between 1875 and 1900 seventeen breweries were located in Over-the-Rhine and West End.
Today is the birthday of William G. Ruske (October 21, 1842-May 2, 1915). Ruske was born in Germany and came to Western Pennsylvania, co-founding the Keystone Brewing Co. 1886, and was its president. In 1899, Keystone became part of a regional trust known as the Pittsburgh Brewing Company, which was formed by the merging together of thirteen Allegheny County breweries. Ruske was initially secretary of the trust, but became president when his predecessor died. The brewery survived prohibition and today is known as the Iron City Brewing Co.
This is his obituary, from the American Brewers’ Review the year he passed away:
And here’s part of another history of Iron City Brewing, from the merger through the end of prohibition, from PA’s Big House:
As the century came to a close, breweries in the Pittsburgh area merged to form the Pittsburgh Brewing Company (PBC). The twelve local breweries included: Wainwright; Phoenix; Keystone; Winter Brothers; Phillip Lauer; John H. Nusser; Eberhardt & Ober; Hippely & Sons; Ober; J. Seiferth Brothers; Straub; and Iron City. In addition to these initial twelve breweries, nine more were included in the merger. Now, Pittsburgh Brewing Company was Pennsylvania’s largest brewery and third largest in the nation with combined assets worth an estimated $11 million. For the next three decades, PBC boasted a brewing capacity of more than one million barrels per year.
The onset of Prohibition in 1920 brought serious strain to breweries across the nation. Pittsburgh Brewing Company, however, was able to survive by using its facilities to produce ice cream, soft drinks, and non-alcoholic “near-beers.” When Prohibition was repealed in 1933, PBC was one of only 725 breweries in the U.S. still operating.
After Prohibition, the Pittsburgh Brewing Company regained market share and produced the same products it had made prior to the act. The president of the company at that time also created a new subsidiary and reinstated the original name: the Iron City Brewing Company (ICBC). ICBC’s products included Iron City Pilsner, Iron City Lager, Tech Beer, and Blue Label Beer. In 1947, the company again expanded and Iron City Brewing Company continued to grow in the market. By the mid-1950’s, ICBC became the best selling beer in Pittsburgh.
I really couldn’t find very much information on Ruske, or even his original Keystone Brewery. But one curiosity I came across was this undated tintype. But since tintypes were popular for around twenty years, from the 1860s through the 1870s, I think it’s safe to conclude that’s what this one was created. The two beer bottles on the posts are from the Keystone Brewery and the label apparently reads Cabinet Export Beer.
So begins the website of beer cook Lucy Saunders, whose birthday is today. Lucy has done much to promote both cooking with beer and enjoying food with beer through her books and other writings. She’s a treasure, in more ways than one. Join me in wishing Lucy a very happy birthday Lucy.
Shaun O’Sullivan from 21st Amendment, Fergie Carey, co-owner of Monk’s, Lucy Saunders, the beer cook, and Tom Peters, also co-owner of Monk’s at the Canned Beer Dinner many Junes ago.