Saturday’s ad is for “Rheingold Beer,” from 1941. This ad was made for the Rheingold Brewery, which was founded by the Liebmann family in 1883 in New York, New York. At its peak, it sold 35% of all the beer in New York state. In 1963, the family sold the brewery and in was shut down in 1976. In 1940, Philip Liebmann, great-grandson of the founder, Samuel Liebmann, started the “Miss Rheingold” pageant as the centerpiece of its marketing campaign. Beer drinkers voted each year on the young lady who would be featured as Miss Rheingold in advertisements. In the 1940s and 1950s in New York, “the selection of Miss Rheingold was as highly anticipated as the race for the White House.” The winning model was then featured in at least twelve monthly advertisements for the brewery, beginning in 1940 and ending in 1965. Beginning in 1941, the selection of next year’s Miss Rheingold was instituted and became wildly popular in the New York Area. In later years, there are ads introducing the next Miss Rheingold with much fanfare, but this is the only one I could find for Miss Rheingold 1942, who was Nancy Drake. She’s mentioned in this ad from December 14, 1941 as Miss Rheingold for 1942 along with four other people and the headline: “Why do these famous folks all come up with the same answer?” Unlike the first two, who were both actresses, I could almost no information about Nancy Drake, apart from that she was born in 1918 and died just last year, and was married for a very long time to someone named Phelps.
Archives for January 8, 2022
Today is the birthday Richard G. Owens (January 8, 1811-November 10, 1882). He was born in Llanfair-is-Gaer, Caernarvonshire, Wales. When he was 21, in 1832, he moved to the U.S., and moved around doing various jobs for several years, settling in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 1837. In 1840, along with two Welsh partners (William Pawlett and John Davis), Owens founded what has the distinction of being the first brewery in Milwaukee. It was initially referred to as the Milwaukee Brewery, but the name was changed shortly thereafter to the Lake Brewery once a second brewery in Milwaukee opened to avoid confusion. Some accounts claim that it was also usually known simply as “Owens’ Brewery” since he quickly bought out his partners. In 1864, he leased, and then sold, the brewery to Chicagoan M.W. Powell who ran it until 1880, when it closed for good.
This account from “Memoir of Milwaukee County” starts with his son, Richard G. Owens Jr., but mostly goes into the history of his father and the brewery Richard G. Owens Sr. founded.
This section of “Pioneer Brewing in Milwaukee” from the Brewing entry in the Encyclopedia of Milwaukee includes a mention of Owens:
Milwaukee’s brewing industry formed in the early 1840s, and developed rapidly along with the burgeoning frontier settlement. European immigrants brought both a local market for traditional beer styles of their homelands and the skilled brewers able to produce such beverages. Although German brewers are most known for their role in shaping the industry from its earliest origins, it was a group of Welsh immigrants—Richard G. Owens, William Pawlett, and John Davis—who established the city’s first brewery in 1840 near the North Pier (Lake Michigan) on Huron Street (now E. Clybourn), known as the Milwaukee Brewery and later the Lake Brewery. Herman Reutelschöfer established Milwaukee’s first German brewery on the northwest corner of Hanover and Virginia shortly thereafter.
Brewing proved to be a dynamic and volatile business in early Milwaukee as approximately thirty-five breweries were established between 1840 and 1860. These were primarily small artisanal shops, formed through family connections or brief partnerships that served customers in the immediate vicinity or through a connected or affiliated saloon, beer hall, or restaurant—much like modern brewpubs. Most of these early breweries were located just east and west of the Milwaukee River, north of downtown. The Milwaukee River provided water essential to the brewing process, and the ice necessary for maintaining the proper temperature for the conditioning of German lager in storage cellars that brewers dug into the bluffs along the river. Milwaukee’s early breweries were small, one- to two-story, wood-frame structures, which housed the entire brewing process—from malting to conditioning—and the residence of the brewer and his family.
Initially, brewing equipment and materials were difficult to come by in frontier Milwaukee. The pioneer brewers improvised. The first batches of Owens’ Milwaukee Brewery were produced in a five-barrel brew kettle composed of a wooden box lined with copper, with barley shipped in from Michigan City, Indiana. The Best Brewery—predecessor to the Pabst Brewing Company—acquired their first brew kettle in 1844, by appealing to a local iron maker to construct one with iron brought in from Racine and Kenosha, on the promise of future payment and free beer for life. Difficulties in securing equipment, materials, and starting capital—especially during the financial panic of 1857, and the Civil War—and the growing competition in the area strained the solvency of Milwaukee’s early breweries, and most closed within a few years after starting.
And this section of “Breweries of Wisconsin,” by Jerry Apps is about “Woen’s Brewery:”
And this article for the Milwaukee Journal newspaper from March 19, 1916, entitled “Birth of Milwaukee’s Brewing Industry is Interesting Story” and begins with Owens’ story.
Today is the birthday of George Pargiter Fuller (January 8, 1833-April 2, 1927). He was the “the eldest surviving son of John Bird Fuller, a partner in Fuller Smith & Turner, brewers.” “Fuller inherited a share in the family brewery (in Chiswick, London) on his father’s death in 1872, and was also chairman of Avon Rubber in Melksham.
He also served as High Sheriff of Wiltshire in 1878. He lived at Neston Park, Corsham, Wiltshire.” He spent most of his time, however, as a politician. He “was a member of the Wiltshire County Council, chairman of the Chippenham Rural District Council and of the Corsham Parish Council and School Board and a Justice of the Peace for Wiltshire,” and “a Liberal Party politician in the United Kingdom who sat in the House of Commons from 1885 to 1895.” Despite his lineage and ownership stake in his family’s brewery, he doesn’t appear to have been very involved in its management at all.
Today is the 53rd birthday of Rich Norgrove, the owner and brewmaster at Bear Republic Brewing Co. in Cloverdale and Rohnert Park, California. Rich won big several years ago at GABF, winning the award for Small Brewing Company Brewer of the Year, amounting to validation that he’s been making some great beer for many years. Red Rocket and Racer 5 were some of my first favorite hoppy beers back in the 1990s, when few brewers were making the big, hoppy beers that are nearly ubiquitous nowadays. Did I mention that Rich is also one of the coolest, nicest people in the beer business? Join me in wishing Rich a very happy birthday.
Vinnie Cilurzo from Russian River and Rich at Drake’s Summit Hop Festival several summers ago.
Jeremy Cowan (He’Brew) and Rich at Falling Rock in Denver.