Today is the 56th birthday of Thomas Kerns, who is the owner and brewmaster of the Big Island Brewhaus in Kamuela, Hawaii. He’s originally from Oregon, and started brewing commercially for a McMenamins Pub brewery. When I met him he was the head brewer for Maui Brewery, and he was there for over ten years before striking out on his own, which opened in 2008. I first got to know Thomas a bunch of years ago when we roomed together for GABF judging. Join me wishing Thomas a very happy birthday.
Archives for October 2021
Tuesday’s ad is for “Hamm’s,” from 1965. 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 a man surfing a big wave with an enormous mug of beer in the foreground, with the tagline: “Taste the freshness!”
Today is also the birthday of Glynn Phillips, former owner of Rubicon Brewing in Sacramento, which also opened a production brewery not too far from the original brewpub, before closing a couple of years ago. Glynn was a great champion for craft beer and has done quite a lot for the cause. Glynn was also very active in both the California Small Brewers Association and the Northern California Brewers Guild. Join me in wishing Glynn a very happy birthday.
Today is the birthday of Frantz Brogniez (October 26, 1860-October 9, 1935). He was born in Hainaut, Belgium. His father was also a brewmaster and a 25 year member of the Belgian senate in Brussels. He also trained as a brewer at Louvain, and at his first brewing job in Lichterveld in 1882, he created Belgium’s first “blond” beer. Moving to the United States in 1896, he founded the The Belgian Brewery in Detroit Michigan, which was later renamed the Tivoli Brewery. He then moved to Terre Haute, Indiana to found the Peoples Brewery there. Moving to Houston in 1912, he became the brewmaster of the Houston Ice and Brewing Co. Shortly thereafter, at the International Exposition at Ghent, Belgium one of the beers he created in Houston, Southern Select, won the Grand Prize (out of 4,096 beers entered). After that, the brewery became the south’s biggest brewery, but prohibition put Brogniez out of a job. He was also a violin player and co-founded the Houston Symphony. During prohibition, he developed a honey-based ice cream called “Honey Boy Ice Cream,” and also did some brewing in Juarez, Mexico. After prohibition ended, Howard Hughes (yes, that one) persuaded Brogniez to be the brewmaster of his new Gulf Brewing Company in Houston, and he brought his recipe for Southern Select with him, and renamed it “Grand Prize Beer.” He ran Hughes’ brewery until he died in 1935, and afterwards his son Frank took his place at Gulf Brewing. Gulf was acquired by Hamm’s in 1953.
Here’s a biography from Find-a-Grave:
Frantz H. Brogniez was born at the family estate of Redemont, Haine – St. Paul, Belgium on October 26, 1860. He was an accomplished musician, chemist and Brewmaster. He married three times. Frantz first married Cornelie van der Hulst who bore him three children, two girls and a boy, I don’t know the girl’s names, the boy was Willie who died at a young age. They separated for unknown reasons. He then met Alida Mathilde Grymonprez, fell in love and in 1896 moved to the US for a fresh start. Alida bore him two children. They were Frantz (Frank) Philippe and Alida Mathilde. Alida fell sick and passed in 1903. Agreeing to Alida’s dying wishes, Frantz married Alida’s sister Alice Albertine Grymonprez who bore him two sons. They were Fernand Jules and Raymond Hector. Alice was 26 years his junior. Both Alida and Alice are interred here at Forest Park Cemetery with Frantz. Frantz passed away on October 11th 1935, just shy of 75 years, 2 years after Prohibition ended.
Some of Frantz’s accomplishments include winning the world’s Grand Prize for beer while Brewmaster at Houston Ice and Brewing’s Magnolia Brewery in 1913. Also in 1913, Frantz along with Miss Ima Hogg and Mrs. E. B. Parker formed the Houston Symphony. Lastly, Frantz was the original Brewmaster for Howard Hughes’ Gulf Brewery best known for its Grand Prize Beer.
And here’s another short one from Houston Past:
Frantz Brogniez was the Belgian-born brewmaster who turned the Houston Ice and Brewing Company into the largest brewing company south of Milwaukee, and later operated Howard Hughes’ Houston-based Gulf Brewing Company. In 1913, while he was serving as brewmaster at Houston Ice and Brewing, Brogniez beat out 4,096 other brewers around the world to win the Grand Prize at the International Congress ofBrewers. The beer for which was honored was Houston Ice and Brewing’s most popular, Southern Select. During Prohibition, Brogniez moved to El Paso and worked with brewing interests in Juarez. At the end of Prohibition, Hughes coaxed Brogniez back to Houston to oversee the operations of Hughes’ Gulf Brewing Company, which produced Grand Prize beer. Brogniez’ son, Frank, operated the brewery after his father’s death.
Frantz was born October 26, 1860, at Haine-Saint Paul, in Hainaut, Belgium. His father was a brewmaster and a 25 year member of the Belgian senate in Brussels.
Frantz was one of those rare very gifted and remarkably knowledgeable men, accomplished in bio-chemistry, engineering, music, and well versed in painting, sculpture and poetry. In 1881, Brogniez entered the University of Louvain and enrolled in “Special Sciences,” including engineering and biochemistry. He continued his studies at the Louis Pasteur Institute in France.
In 1882, Brogniez went to Lichterveld to work in a brewery. While there, he developed the first “blond” beer in Belgium.
He moved to Detroit Michigan in 1896 and established The Belgian Brewery. It was quickly renamed the Tivoli Brewery after he took on some investors. He befriended Henry Ford and often went riding with him. Frantz never learned how to drive.
He left Detroit in 1904 and moved to Terra Haute Indiana where he established the Peoples Brewery and supervised its design and construction. It grew to one of the largest in the nation at the time.
In 1912 he moved to Houston for the warmer climate for his chronically ill wife and became the brewmaster for Houston Ice and Brewing’s Magnolia Brewery. A year later they learned of the International Exposition at Ghent Belgium. The Exposition was held every couple of years and was a competition where beer from all over the world was put through a battery of tests. Frantz had some beer grabbed off the line and sent it with a friend that was traveling to Belgium. This particular year 4,096 beers were entered. Out of all these beers, Southern Select was the last one standing with 3 tests still to go. It won the Grand Prize. HI&B became the largest brewing company in the south. Frantz remained with HI&B until Prohibition ended his job.
Also in 1913, Frantz, Mrs. E. B. Parker and Miss Ima Hogg established the Houston Symphony. By this time he was a Mason and an Elk.
While WWI was going on around 1918, sugar was in short supply so Frantz was asked if he could develop a recipe for ice cream using something other than sugar for the sweetener. He developed what became Honey Boy Ice Cream made with honey. It was fairly popular. When WWI ended, the rights were sold to Reddig Ice. Honey Boy disappeared.
During Prohibition Frantz moved to El Paso Texas and brewed beer at Cerveseria Juarez in Juarez, Mexico. Some of these beers were award winners as well.
When it looked as if Prohibition was going to end in 1933, Frantz moved back to Houston where HI&B was trying to get back into the brewing business. It became obvious that HI&B had big plans and not much money. At the same time, Howard Hughes wanted to get into the brewing business thinking it would provide much needed jobs. Mr. Hughes enticed Frantz away from HI&B and formed Gulf Brewing. With little modification to an existing building they quickly installed a state of the art brewing facility of Frantz’s design. Grand Prize beer became a reality. It was named for the Grand Prize that Southern Select won. It was the same recipe as Southern Select. Grand Prize grew to be one of the south’s most popular beers.
Two years later at the age of 75, Frantz passed away in the arms of his son Frank with his family present.
Here’s a basic history of the Houston Ice and Brewing Co., which was also known as the Magnolia Brewery, from Houston Past:
The Magnolia Ballroom building on the Franklin Street side of Market Square (715 Franklin) was built in 1912, on the foundation of an older building (the Franklin Building), and once housed the taproom and executive offices for the Houston Ice and Brewing Co.’s Magnolia Brewery. The building was the first in Houston to have refrigerator-style air conditioning. In 2006, it became the first commercial building in Houston to receive the Houston Protected Landmark designation.
By 1915, the Houston Ice and Brewing Company encompassed more than 10 buildings on more than 20 acres located on both sides of Buffalo Bayou. In fact, the brewery even spanned the bayou for some period of time – the Louisiana Street bridge now crosses the bayou at the same location. To provide easier access across the bayou, the brewery built a 250-foot wood and concrete bridge stretching from the Franklin Street bridge toward the Milam Street bridge.
The Magnolia Brewery produced a number of signature brands of beer, including (it is reported) Magnolia, Richelieu, Hiawatha, Grand Prize, and Southern Select (the latter being the most famous). In 1913, brewmaster Frantz Brogniez was awarded Grand Prize at the last International Conference of Breweries for his Southern Select beer – beating out 4,096 competing brewers from around the world. In 1919, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the labeling on one of the Houston Ice and Brewing Company’s brands did not infringe upon a Schlitz trademark. (Having noted that the similarities in the two bottles were limited to their content and brown labels, the Court stated: “If there were deception it seems to us that it would arise from beer and brown color and that it could not be said that the configuration appreciably helped.”)
The company’s decline began during Prohibition, when the Houston Ice and Brewing Company was forced to rely solely on its ice sales. Many of the brewery’s structures were then destroyed in the historic 1935 flood, which was later blamed on the Magnolia Brewery bridge. The brewery struggled to survive, but closed in 1950.
The Magnolia Ballroom is just one of two Houston Ice and Brewing Company buildings that remains standing. In 1969, a high-end restaurant called the Bismark was located on the second floor, and the Buffalo Bayou Flea Market operated out of the basement. The basement has since housed a variety of bars and clubs. The upstairs floors are currently used for special events – much of the ornate interior of the building has been preserved, and it is decorated with historic photos.
And here’s some more about the Gulf Brewing Co., founded by Howard Hughes, also from Houston Past:
Howard Hughes’ connection with the Houston-based Hughes Tool Company is fairly well-known. It is less well-known that Hughes started a brewery in Houston, on the grounds of the Hughes Tool Company, called Gulf Brewing Company. Hughes opened the brewery at the end of Prohibition, and its profits helped the tool company survive the Depression.
Gulf Brewing Company produced Grand Prize beer, which for a time was the best-selling beer in Texas. It has been reported that a beer called Grand Prize beer was also produced prior to Prohibition, by the Houston Ice and Brewing Company. While that may be accurate, any confusion is likely connected to the fact that Hughes’ Grand Prize brewery was operated by the man who served as brewmaster at Houston Ice and Brewing before Prohibition. In 1913, while he was brewmaster at the Houston Ice and Brewing Company, Belgian-Houstonian Frantz Brogniez was awarded Grand Prize at the last International Conference of Breweries for his Southern Select beer – beating out 4,096 competing brewers. Brogniez left Houston during Prohibition, but Hughes convinced him to return to serve as brewmaster for the Gulf Brewing Company. Brogniez’ son operated the brewery after his father’s death.
Today is the 58th birthday of Fred Karm, who is the owner and brewmaster of Hoppin’ Frog in Akron, Ohio. While he’s been brewing since 1994, Fred opened his own place in 2006 (and later a separate tasting room) and has been making some great beer there ever since. I first met Fred at the RateBeer Best Awards, when I emceed the first awards show in 2016. He’s one of the most energetic and passionate people I’ve met in the beer industry. Join me in wishing Fred a very happy birthday.
Today is the 70th birthday of Armand Debelder, master blender and owner of Proef 3 Fonteinen — a.k.a. Drie Fonteinen — a lambic brewery and blendery making traditional geuze and kriek in Beersal, Belgium. According to their former U.S. importer, Shelton Brothers:
Drie Fonteinen is the only remaining traditional geuze blender in Belgium, using only 100% spontaneously fermented lambik beer, aged in oak casks, with no artificial sweeteners or other additives. The blendery is connected to the very popular Drie Fonteinen Restaurant in Beersel, on the outskirts of Brussels. The proprietor, Armand Debelder, buys pure lambik from three breweries in Belgium, ages them in oak, and blends them, employing the skill, knowledge, and supreme passion for real geuze that his father handed down to him.
I had a chance to meet and talk with Armand a couple of times during Philly Beer Week a few years ago. And, of course, his beer is amazingly good. Join me in wishing Armand a very happy birthday.
Monday’s ad is for “Hamm’s,” from 1965. 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 two glasses, one with a picture of a canoe on a lake and another with a Hamm’s beer in it, with the tagline: “The picture of freshness.”
Today is the birthday of Ellef Ringnes (October 25, 1842–March 15, 1929). He “was a Norwegian brewer and patron,” who in 1876 founded the Ringnes brewery in Norway, along with his brother Amund and financial director Axel Heiberg.
This is his biography from Wikipedia:
He was born at the Ringnes farm in Krødsherad, Buskerud to farmer Anders Knudsen Ringnes (1813–75) and his wife Maren Amundsdatter (1815–76). His father left the farm in 1855, and Ellef was employed as travelling salesman for Christiania Bryggeri at the age of 18. In 1876, he founded Ringnes & Compani brewery with his brother Amund Ringnes and the businessman Axel Heiberg. It was the eighth brewery in Christiania (now Oslo), and later had its name changed to Ringnes Bryggeri.
The Ringnes brewery became successful, and Ellef Ringnes and his brother became patrons in Christiania. They invested in the construction of the Holmenkollen Line and sanatoriums in the Holmenkollen area. From 1896 to 1906, Ellef Ringnes was a member of the board of the Holmenkolbanen light rail company, which built and operated the Holmenkollen Line. Ellef and Amund Ringnes sponsored Fridtjof Nansen’s Fram expedition, which they in a short period of time led together with businessman Axel Heiberg and shipowner Thomas Fearnley. They also sponsored explorer Otto Sverdrup’s 1898–1902 Fram expedition; as a compensation Sverdrup named two discovered islands after them: Ellef Ringnes Island and Amund Ringnes Island.
On 30 June 1869, Ringnes married Karen Tonette (“Kaja”) Maartmann (1851–1933) with whom he had 14 children. His father-in-law was Knud Geelmuyden Fleischer Maartmann. In 1896, Ringnes became a member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters. In the same year, he bought Ringnes farm from his brother Amund, who earlier had inherited it from his father. Many parties were arranged at the farm house, to which both royal personages and prominent society members were invited. His residence at St. Hanshaugen Park, dubbed “Cairo” and “Ringnes Castle”, was likewise the scene of many parties in his lifetime. In 1901, Ringnes was succeeded by his brother-in-law Harald Sigvart Maartmann as managing director of Ringnes brewery. Maartman was in turn succeeded by his son Knud Maartmann Ringnes (1875–1945) in 1920.
Ringnes was decorated as Knight, First Class of the Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav in 1896, and upgraded to Commander of the First Class in 1908. He was also a Commander of the Legion of Honour. Ringnes was an honorary member of the Norwegian, Danish, and Swedish brewery associations. In 1930, a bust of him was erected at Holmenkollen. Ringnes died in Oslo on 15 March 1929, aged 86.
And here’s a short history of the brewery, from the tourism site, Go Norway:
Ringnes is Norway´s largest brewery company with approximately 1,200 employees. The company is owned by “Carlsberg Group”, the world´s fourth largest brewery group. We deliver beer, soda and water to the entire Norwegian beverage market and we are proud of our many strong brands!
Ringnes brewery was established in 1876 by brothers Amund Ringnes and Ellef, who came from Ringnes Gard. Amund was brewer, Ellef administrator and salesman, and Axel Heiberg was the financier behind now. 28 November 1877 could Amund Ringnes put the first brewed, thus starting what has now been 130 years of brewing history. Ringnes-brothers stood centrally among those who did Fridtjof Nansen and Otto Sverdrup “Fram” – Finished possible. A lasting memory of this is the three islands in the northernmost Canada (west of Greenland), as Sverdrup named after the brewery´s founders, Axel Heiberg Island, Amund Ringnes Island and Ellef Ringnes Island.
Today is the 60th birthday of Chris Erickson, Director of Brewery Operations for Snake River Brewing. He’s been at the brewery for over twenty years, and I first met Chris at a GABF almost as long ago, and twice this year we judged together. Chris is a great brewer and helped put Snake River on the map, twice winning Small Brewery of the Year. Join me in wishing Chris a very happy birthday.
Rockin’ the Hyster.
In Belgium, c. 2009
Today is the 46th birthday of Melissa Cole, UK beer writer extraordinaire. I’d met Melissa first online and then in person at the Rake in London several years ago. She’s also been coming over to our side of the pond to judge at both GABF and the World Beer Cup. She’s a great advocate for beer generally, but especially for women, and is great fun to hang out and drink with. She also writes online at Taking the Beard Out of Beer! which is subtitled “A Girl’s Guide To Beer.” Her first book, Let Me Tell You About Beer, was published a couple of years ago, which she followed up last year with The Beer Kitchen: The Art and Science of Cooking, & Pairing, with Beer. Join me in wishing Melissa a very happy birthday.