Tuesday’s ad is for “Rheingold Beer,” from 1949. 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. Pat McElroy was Miss Rheingold 1949. She was born Patricia Ann McElroy in Victoria, Texas, in 1928, but grew up in Austin. At some point she moved to New York and became a model. After being elected Miss Rheingold, in February of 1949 she married Cliff Lozell, an art director with the prestigious ad agency Young & Rubicom, and the couple later retired to Florida. Pat McElroy Lozell passed away in 2005. In this ad, from September, she’s sitting on some hay with an accordion. It looks like night, with black in the background and lights above, but the text refers to it as being afternoon, which is odd.
Archives for June 28, 2022
Today is the birthday of John Schreihart (June 28, 1842-January 6, 1925). He was born in Austria, but moved to Wisconsin when he was 25, in 1867. Along with a partner, Frederick Pautz, bought the William Fricke Brewery, which had been founded in 1862. In 1879, John become soler proprieter, re-naming it the John Schreihart Brewery, and later the Schreihart Brewing Co. John Schreihart died during prohibition, and the brewery re-opened as the Bleser Brewing Co. in 1937, closing for good in 1942.
Schreihart apparently liked to sing. That’s him in the front row, seated on the left.
Here’s his obituary from Find-a-Grave:
J. SCHREIHART, PIONEER DIES, TODAY, AGED 82
Pioneer Brewer Who Came Here in ’67, Is Called Death early today claimed John Schreihart, pioneer brewer of the city and for many years identified with business life of the community, Mr. Schreihart passing away at his home at 1017 South Eleventh street at the age of 82 years. Up to a few weeks ago Mr. Schreihart, despite his age, had been in good health and was active, but five weeks ago suffered a decline which caused him to fall rapidly and brought death today. For a week he was a patient at the hospital but later, at his request, returned to his home where the end came.
Funeral services for Mr. Schreihart will be held Friday morning at 9 o’clock from St. Boniface church, the Rev. Kersten officiating. Burial will be at Calvary cemetery.
Came to City in ’67
Mr. Schreihart was born at Duerngren, Austria, June 28, 1842 and spent his early life there. In 1866 he was married to Frances Wilfer there and a year later came to America, retiring after a short stay to bring Mrs. Schreihart to this country and the couple came directly to Manitowoc where they have since resided. On February 2, 1916, they celebrated their golden wedding at their home here.
In 1871 Mr. Schreihart, who had been seeking a business formed a partnership with Mr. Pautz and the two purchased what was known as the old Fricke brewery plant with which Mr. Schreihart was identified until 1885 when, on occasion of a trip to Europe, he leased, but he again resumed management of the property upon his return and in 1890 a new association was formed with Mr. Schreihart, Frank Willinger and Gustave Mueller as partners, Mr. Willinger retiring from the company in 1891 after which the business was operated under name of the Schreihart & Mueller Brewing Company until 1904 when the business was incorporated under the name of the Schreihart Brewing Company, Mr. Schreihart having continuously been director of its affairs. In 1911 Charles Kulnick purchased the Mueller interest in the concern and H.J. Schreihart became president of the company, its founder retaining interest but not giving attention to active management of the business.
In later years the plant became a part of a merger of three brewing concerns of the city, the Schreihart, Rahr Sons and Kunz & Bleser company and the merger incorporated under name of the Manitowoc Products Company by which title it is still known. With the advent of the prohibition law, the brewing plant of the Schreihart Company on Washington street was transformed into a plant for manufacture of ice cream and soft beverages and still continues in that operation. Mr. Schreihart retained his interest in the company.
Built Schreihart Block
During his long career as a business man in the city Mr. Schreihart was widely known and enjoyed the respect of the community had been active in support of building of the city and contributed freely to the enterprises which aimed to this end. He build the Schreihart block at Tenth and Washington, one of substantial business blocks of the city.
After his retirement from active life, as his advanced years necessitated, Mr. Schreihart continued to take an interest in civic affairs and up until a short time of his last illness, was about as usual.
And this is biography is from the “History of Manitowoc County Wisconsin,” by Dr. L. Falge, 1911-1912, v.2, p.74:
John Schreihart, who is one of the well known brewers of Manitowoc county, Wisconsin, is a native of Austria, and came to this county in 1869, working for others for two years, and then forming a partnership with a Mr. Pautz. He eventually purchased the Fricke Brewery, which he rented in 1885 when he went on a trip to Europe, but in 1890 assumed management of it again with Frank Willinger and Gus Miller. In 1891 Mr. Willinger sold his interests to Mr. Schreihart, and it was operated by the other partners until 1904, when the firm was incorporated under the style of Schreihart Brewing Company. On January 1, 1911, Charles Kulnick bought the Miller interests, and at this time H. J. Schreihart, who up to that time had been brewmaster of the concern, was made president; Otto Senglaub was elected secretary; and Charles Kulnick, treasurer and manager. The plant has a capacity of thirty thousand barrels per year and produces the well known “Weiner” and “Old German Style” beers, employing fifteen men. John Schreihart married Frances Wilfer, a native of Germany, and they had five children, namely: Mrs. Charles Kulnick; H. J.; Ed, who is engineer at the brewery; Helene; and Adolph, who is studying for the priesthood. Ed Schreihart married Miss Schroeder of Milwaukee. H. J. Schreihart attended the Hanthe Brewing School of Milwaukee, now known as the Industrial Chemical Institute, after leaving which he entered his father’s brewery as brewmaster, a position which he held until his election as president in 1911. He has served as supervisor of the third ward for two years, and is prominent in business and fraternal circles. He was married to Miss Hattie Hartwig, of Manitowoc, Wisconsin.
Pautz’s Brewery was built in 1849, by Mr. Hottleman, he being the first to brew beer in the county. G. Kuntz purchased the brewery of him in 1865. Messrs. Fred. Pautz and John Schreihart became the owners in 1875. In November, 1878, the former purchased the interest of the latter, and is now conducting the business alone. The capacity of the brewery is about 1,600 barrels of beer per annum.
Schreiharts’s Brewery. In 1879, John Schreihart established himself in business, and is now conducting a brewery on Washington street. He has been brought up in the business and understands it.
From what I can piece together about the brewery itself, it appears to have been built in 1849, and went through several name changes from the William Fricke Brewery, the Christian Fricke Brewery, and then the Carl Fricke Brewery. It seems to have been called by the latter name when Frederick Pautz and John Schreihart bought it in 1875, but it didn’t become the John Schreihart Brewery until he bought out Pautz in 1879. A few years later, in 1884 until the following year, it was known as the John Schreihart & George Kunz Brewery, presumably because Schreihart took on George Kunz as a partner. Then there’s a gap in the record, but by 1891 it was known as the Schreihart Brewing Co. until it was closed by prohibition in 1920. The building apparently lay dormant after repeal in 1933, but from 1937-1942 housed the Bleser Brewing Co., which I assume was because they leased or bought the building where the Schreihart had brewed.
Today is the birthday of John Schneider (June 28, 1849-?). I believe he was a son of Louis Schneider, who founded the Louis Schneider Brewery in Cincinnati, Ohio. After taking on a partner, Henry Foss, it later became known as the Foss-Schneider Brewing Co. It closed during prohibition, but reopened when it was repealed in 1933, though closed for good in 1939. While I was unable to find much information on John, it seems that he was elected second vice-president of the Brewers Association at their sixth convention in 1893.
Today is the birthday of Leo Ebert (June 28, 1837-February 22, 1908). Ebert was born in Bavaria into a family of brewers, and emigrated to the U.S. and opened the Leo Ebert Brewing Co. in 1863, which also traded under the name the Eagle Brewery, at least until prohibition, when it closed for good.
Leo Ebert, of Ironton, Ohio, founder and still president of the company of that name, was born in Klingenbergon-the-Main, Bavaria, June 28, 1837. The descendant of a family of brewers, he learned his trade at his father’s establishment, and began his career as a journeyman brewer in September, 1854. He worked at his trade in different places in Bavaria, Baden and Hanover, returning home in 1857, to accept a position as brewmaster in the plant of Jos. Amreihn, at Lohr, Bavaria. He remained there until May, 1859, and then left for the United States, arriving in New York July 16, of that year. He secured employment at Gillig’s brewery, remaining there until May, 1860, and then left for Cincinnati, Ohio. Unable to find work in a brewery, he labored in a brickyard at $1 per day. In the fall of 1860 he went to work at Joseph Schaller’s brewery, Cincinnati, being advanced in a short time to the position of cellarman. The foremanship of F. Beck’s brewery, in that city, being offered him, he accepted it and managed the plant until the Christmas of 1861, at which time a brewery at Ironton, Ohio, was offered for rent. Of this opportunity Mr. Ebert took advantage, and with the assistance promised and freely given by the big-hearted and generous Michael Goepper (the well-remembered father of Herman and Edward Goepper) he rented the little common-beer brewery at Ironton and started with a capital of $20; malt and hops, on credit, of Mr. Goepper.
Ironton being on the border of Kentucky and near the State of Virginia, became a very lively place during the war, and the brewery prospered. Beer was brewed Sunday and every day and sold when often not over three days old. The brewery not being well located, however, was abandoned and Mr. Ebert erected a new plant at the present site, in 1863, and began to brew lager beer. From time to time he enlarged his plant according to the wants of the trade in Ironton. He never meddled with the shipping trade, and to-day is glad that he did not, doing a nice business at home and fully enjoying the fruits of an active life.
Mr. Ebert has taken an active part in all questions pertaining to the welfare and protection of the brewing trade of the country. He joined the United States Brewers Association at the convention held in Cincinnati, Ohio, in 1863, and has been acquainted with all the old veterans of the trade. He was elected the first president of the Ohio State Brewers Association, serving from 1883 to 1887, and again after the reorganization in 1894. There has not been a legislature in session for the past thirty years in Ohio which has not found Mr. Ebert on hand whenever the trade was endangered or some relief wanted from obnoxious laws. In view of this record the United States Brewers Association did him the honor of electing him its president at the Milwaukee convention of 1895.
Mr. Ebert can say that he has been an active force in the development of the brewing industry of this country, from the so-called small or common beer for quick consumption, to the present export beers which are shipped all over the world. He remembers the time when the output of all the breweries in the United States did not equal the present output of some of our cities. He made beer in this country when there was no tax on it, while the 1900 tax on beer was three and one-half times the amount the United States paid Spain for the Philippine islands.
Mr. Ebert was married in Germany, in 1858, to Mathilde Uihlein, of Trennfurt, Bavaria. His family consists of six children five daughters, and one son (Otto) who is now manager of the brewery and is highly respected by the trade and community.
Mr. Ebert has always taken an active part in the development of the city of Ironton and has served in the capacity of president of the city council, member of the school board and board of health, his activities in this direction covering a period of seventeen years.
Here’s Ebert’s obituary from “A Standing History of the Hanging Rock Iron Region of Ohio” by Eugene B. Willard, Daniel W. Williams, George O. Newman and Charles B. Taylor, published in 1916
The late Leo Ebert, who died at his home in the City of Ironton, Lawrence County, on the 22d of February, 1908, was a man of strong and upright character and marked business ability, his influence having long been potent in connection with civic and material progress in Ironton and his prominence and enterprise in the business activities involved in the operation of the extensive and modern brewery that perpetuates his name having made him one of the leading business men of this section of the Buckeye State, even as he was a loyal and progressive citizen who held inviolable place in popular confidence and esteem.
Leo Ebert was born at Kingenberg, Kingdom of Bavaria, Germany, near the City of Frankfort, and the date of his nativity was June 28, 1837, so that he was nearly seventy-one years of age at the time of his death. He was a son of Theodore and Barbara (Krutzman) Ebert, and the family name has been identified with the representative brewing enterprise of Bavaria for many generations, Theodore Ebert, father of the subject of this memoir, having fully upheld the prestige of the patronymic in this field of industry, and both he and his wife having remained in Bavaria until their death. Leo Ebert, the eldest in a family of four children, attended the excellent schools of his home town until he had attained to the age of twelve years, when he was placed by his father in the latter’s brewery, to be initiated into the mysteries of the business. For several years he was acquiring scientific and practical experience in the brewing business,—at Mannheim, Bremen and other places,—and he finally returned to the parental home and stood his chances in the conscription for the army. He was successful, however, in drawing a high number and thus was relieved of the military service.
At the age of twenty-one years Mr. Ebert wedded Miss Mathilda Urhlein, and in 1859, shortly after this important event, he immigrated with his young wife to the United States. Landing in the port of New York City, he there worked at his trade of brewer for nine months, and at the expiration of this period he came to Ohio and established his residence in the City of Cincinnati. Not being able to find immediate employment at his trade, he was compelled to work one summer in a brick yard, and finally he obtained a position as laborer in a Cincinnati brewery, his ability and fine technical knowledge leading to his promotion from his humble capacity to that of foreman within the ensuing two months. After serving for foreman of the brewery for sixteen months Mr. Ebert came to Ironton, Lawrence County, in 1861. Here he established a brewery on a modest scale, and from that time forward his success became cumulative and substantial. He continued as the executive head of the Ebert Brewing Company until his death and was one of the thoroughly loyal and liberal citizens of the Lawrence County metropolis, to the development and upbuilding of which he contributed in generous measure. He became financially interested in various other local enterprises and was known and honored as one of the prominent and influential citizens of this section of the state.
In politics Mr. Ebert originally was aligned with the republican party, but in 1872 he followed his sincere convictions and transferred his allegiance to the democratic party, with which he continued to In actively allied during the residue of his long and useful life. He was influential in the councils of his party and, as a convincing and effective public speaker, he “took the stump” in numerous campaigns. For more than seventeen years Mr. Ebert held official preferment in Ironton, where he served as a member of the city council, the board of education and the board of health. The fine intellectual ken and practical ability of Mr. Ebert marked him as eligible for office of distinguished order, and twice he received the democratic nomination for representative of his district in the United States Congress. While he was unable to overcome the large and normal republican majorities in the district, he brought out the full vote of his party and greatly reduced the natural majority of his opponents.
In the most significant and worthy interpretation of the expression, Mr. Ebert was essentially a self-made man, and he had the sagacity and judgment to make the best of the opportunities afforded in the land of his adoption, with the result that he won large and substantial success, the while he so ordered his course as to merit and receive the high esteem of all who knew him. He was a man of commanding presence, brilliant intellect and broad human tolerance and sympathy. His kindliness and generosity were unfailing, but he never permitted his benevolences to come into publicity if this could be avoided, having been one of those who “do good by stealth and blush to find it fame.” Genial and companionable, Mr. Ebert was not only an interesting conversationalist but also had remarkable gifts as an orator. For eight years Mr. Ebert served as president of the Ohio Brewers’ Association, and for two years was president of the national organization of brewers. He was affiliated with the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and the Knights of Pythias. The death of Mr. Ebert caused deep and sincere sorrow in his home city, and both business and social circles manifested their sense of irreparable loss. The noble character of Mr. Ebert found its most perfect exemplification in the relations of his ideal home life, and his widow and children find their greatest measure of consolation and compensation in the memory of his devotion and abiding love and tenderness,—the gentleness of a strong and loyal nature.
Of the six children of Leo and Mathilda (Urhlein) Ebert the eldest is Fannie, who is now the wife of Henry Geiger, identified with the brewing business in Ironton, and they have seven children,—Mathilda, Leo, Henry. Frederick, Charles, Otto, and Bertha. Gretchen, the second daughter, first wedded Michael Rauch, who is survived by two children, Otto and Walter. After the death of her first husband Mr. Rauch became the wife of August Ebert, a brewer by vocation, and they now reside in the City of St. Louis, Missouri, no children having been born of this union. Tillie is the wife of Charles Jones, engaged in the undertaking business in Ironton; Otto N., the only son, is more specifically mentioned on other pages of this publication. Emma is the wife of Frederick Wagner, a representative farmer near Pedro, Lawrence County, and they have eight children,—Leona, Frederick, Walter, Henrietta, Harold, Ironton, Roy, and Franklin. Bertha is the wife of Dr. William C. Miller, engaged in the practice of dentistry in Ironton, and they have one son, William C, Jr.
Today is the birthday of Peter P. Straub (June 28, 1850-December 17, 1913). He was born in Felldorf Starzach, Baden-Württemberg, Germany, and founded the Straub Brewery in St. Mary’s, Pennsylvania in 1872. The brewery is still owned and operated today by the Straub family.
Here’s his biography from his Wikipedia page:
Born to Anton Straub and his wife, Anna Maria Eger. The Straub family had been brewing a local beer for generations. As expected Peter learned a trade important to the brewing art. He became a Cooper, a craftsman who makes wooden barrels. Peter aspired to be a brewer and at the age of 19 in 1869 immigrated to the United States for a better and more prosperous life. Upon his arrival in the United States he found employment at the Eberhardt and Ober Brewing Company in Pennsylvania. Peter admired his employers’ pledge to forfeit $1,000 if any adulteration was found in their beer, and as he honed his brewing skills to a sharp edge, he adhered faithfully to this promise. Eventually he tired of city life and moved north to Brookville, where he perfected his brewing process while working in the Christ and Algeir Brewery.
Peter later moved to Benzinger (St. Marys), where he met and married Sabina Sorg of Benzinger. The couple settled in Benzinger and had ten children: Francis X., Joseph A., Anthony A., Anna M., Jacob M., Peter M. (who died at two years of age), Peter P., Gerald B., Mary C., and Alphons J.
Peter’s employment in Benzinger was with the Joseph Windfelder Brewery and he worked there until he purchased the Benzinger Spring Brewery (founded by Captain Charles C. Volk in 1855) from his father-in-law, Francis Xavier Sorg. It was then that Straub Beer and the Straub Brewery was born.
The Straub Family in 1904.
This early account of Straub’s life is from the brewery website:
Peter Straub was born on June 28, 1850 in Felldorf, Wuerttemburg, Germany, to Anton and Anna M. Eger Straub.
As a teenager, Peter was educated and worked as a cooper, which is a craftsman skilled in making and repairing wooden barrels and casks. He also became well versed in the allied trade of Brewing.
Peter honed his trade in Germany, France and Switzerland. At age 19 (in 1869), Peter Straub traveled to the United States and settled in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania, working at the Eberhardt and Ober Brewing Company. He next moved to Brookville and worked at the Christ and Allegeier Brewery. He again moved to Allegheny City and then to McKeesport and Centerville (later renamed Kersey). In 1872, Peter settled in St. Marys.
In St. Marys, Peter first worked at the Windfelder Brewery, which later became the Luhr Brewery, on Center Street. In the early 1870s, Peter was hired by Francis Sorg as brewmaster and manager for his brewery. The standard Straub Brewery founding date of 1872 reflects when Peter first moved to St. Marys and began brewing. He did not own the brewery until 1878.
Peter Straub began courting Francis Sorg’s eldest daughter, Sabina, marrying her on November 23, 1875. A few years later, Peter and Sabina, along with their eldest son Francis (one year old at the time) traveled back to Germany and then on to France, where they attended the Exposition Universelle in Paris. Peter and Sabina had 10 children: Gerard Benedict (Gerry), Peter (Sr.), Mary Crescentia (Marian, later Mrs. Daniel Curran), Alfonse James (Ponce), Peter Paul (Pete), Jacob Melchior (Fr. Gilbert), Joseph Anthony (Joe), Anna Angela (later Mrs. Frederick Luhr), Francis Xavier (Frank), Anthony Albert (Tony) and Peter Mathaeus (died at age two).
Straub Beer HistoryEarly on, Peter introduced his sons to the world of brewing. Straub used wooden kegs for his beer. He always placed a red band around his barrels to ensure that people would know they were drinking his beer and so that he would get them back. As a lasting trademark tribute to Peter, the brewery continues to place a bright red band around each of its barrels. Red has become a trademark color for the brewery.
Following Peter’s death on December 17, 1913, his sons assumed control of the brewery, renaming it the Peter Straub Sons Brewery. During this time, the brewery produced Straub Beer as well as other beer, such as the pilsner-style Straub Fine Beer and Straub Bock Beer. In 1920, the Straub Brothers Brewery purchased one half of the St. Marys Beverage Company, also called the St. Marys Brewery, where St. Marys Beer was produced. During Prohibition, which lasted from January 29, 1920, until December 5, 1933, the brewery produced nonalcoholic near-beer. On July 19, 1940 they purchased the remaining common stock and outstanding bonds of the St. Marys Beverage Company.
The Benzinger Spring Brewery in 1895.
And this account is by Erin L. Gavlock, from 2009, at the Pennsylvania Center for the Book at Penn State:
High in the Allegheny Mountains of Elk County, a tradition has been brewing for nearly a hundred and forty years. Straub (pronounced Strawb, not Strowb) Beer, the local brewery on Sorg Street in St. Marys, has not tampered with its recipe since Peter Straub crafted the lager’s signature taste in 1872. This sixth generation brewery is dedicated to preserving the original German formula and sticking in its original location, a difficult task for an old-time establishment in the modern era. For the descendents of Peter Straub, keeping the Straub custom is what makes the company a “brewery, not a beer factory.”
The tradition of Straub Beer began in the small village of Felldorf, Germany where Peter Straub was born into an lager-making family on June 28, 1850. He grew up in Germany learning the brewing business and eventually becoming a cooper, a maker of the wooden barrels used to hold beer. Like many other artisans of the time, Straub was unhappy with life as a cooper and dreamed of greater success. He wanted to participate in the family trade, to become a brewer of his own beer. Unable to rise above his economic status in Germany, Peter Straub took his vision and immigrated to the United States at the age of 19, arriving in Allegheny City, Pennsylvania in 1869.
In Allegheny City (now Pittsburgh’s north side), Straub went to work for Eberhardt and Ober, (the current Penn Brewery). At Eberhardt and Ober, Peter Straub became a student of his employer, John N. Straub (no relation) and quickly took to John’s administrative principles. The company promised to serve completely pure beer, untainted by additives such as salt or sugar, to its customers and backed that promise with a $1,000 refund to any contaminated sale. This code of law conduct rang true to Peter Straub and it became a principle he swore to brew by.
While perfecting his brewing technique in the city, Straub grew homesick for his quaint, German village. He decided to escape the loud, crowded streets of Allegheny City and retreated to the quietude of Elk County. He settled in St. Marys, marrying Sabina Sorg and working for various local breweries until Sabina’s father, Francis Xavier Sorg, sold his Benzinger Spring Brewery to him in 1872. Peter Straub finally got his long-awaited start as a brewer. Straub owned and operated the Benzinger Spring Brewery until he died in 1912 and left the company to his son, Anthony. Anthony Straub changed the name of the brewery to “Peter Straub Sons’ Brewery,” the only alteration he would make to his father’s business. From there, Peter Straub’s beer would become a Pennsylvania legend.
The Bavarian Man, a long-time image of the Straub Brewery that recalls its German roots.
Fast-forward over a hundred years from Straub’s humble beginnings to today and one will find the Straub Brewing pledge remains unchanged. The company still serves only unadulterated beer to its customers, proclaiming to be “The Natural Choice.” “Our all grain beer is brewed from Pennsylvania Mountain Spring water and we don’t add any sugar, salt, or preservatives to our recipes,” brew master Tom Straub told St. Marys’ Daily Press. “You can say our beer is a fresher, healthier choice than many of the selections in the marketplace.” Although time and technology have forced a transformation in brewing techniques and standards, the taste, ingredients, and the location of Straub have remained constant. Still located in St. Marys, the brewery depends upon the same mountain water from the Laurel Run Reservoir to blend with all-natural ingredients of cornflakes (used to produce fermentable sugars), barley and hops. “Our brewing process is virtually unchanged since our great, great, grandfather, Peter Straub, perfected it in 1872,” Straub’s promises. The reason behind sticking to the fresh taste of the original recipe is simple: people like it. Through the century, Straub has grown a dedicated patronage in western Pennsylvania with its traditional flavor. “Our style of brewing has pretty much stayed the same over the years, but what is interesting is that our popularity has grown and the reputation of our hand-crafted beer has increased,” Straub CEO Bill Brock said. “It is nice to know that we are becoming increasingly popular not for something we’ve changed, but rather for something we’ve always done well.”
The choice to protect and maintain the brewing customs has kept Straub a small, family owned brewery. “We’ve always thought small. We’re more about quality than quantity,” Dan Straub, former CEO, told Fredericksburg, Virginia’s Free-Lance Star. Until June 2009, Straub Beer was only distributed in glass bottles throughout Pennsylvania and Ohio. Now Straub is being brewed and distributed in aluminum cans in Rochester, New York at the High Falls Brewery. The recipe and method have not changed in the new setting and are under the careful watch of brew master Tom Straub. Despite the recent company growth, Straub still only produces about 45,000 barrels of beer per year. “We are unique; we are much larger than a micro brewery yet far, far smaller than some of the leading national brands,” said Bill Brock. In the middle ground, the brewery has managed to survive beer tycoons, economic depression, and cultural trends—a tough maneuver for a company exporting from Pennsylvania’s least populated region. “I believe the brewery has survived because of the fact that it is family owned; it is steeped in tradition and we have an absolute passion for making beer and our products,” said Brock. “From my perspective, the company and our traditions are a huge legacy and there is a clear obligation to continue these traditions.” Keeping to the family legacy has allowed Straub to persevere through the years to become the second oldest brewery in Pennsylvania after Yuengling.
Staying small and faithful to the company’s founding principles has enabled Straub to keep traditions that other larger breweries have been forced to abandon. The returnable bottle, an eco-friendly service that allows customers to send glass bottles back to the brewery for recycling, is still offered at Straub. “We stayed with the returnable bottles first of all, and I think this is really important, because we have a really strong customer base and they like the returnables,” Bill Brock said during a 2009 radio broadcast. “Over the years we maintained it while other breweries slowly fazed them out.” For Straub, a successful regional brewery, shipping bottles back to the factory is feasible, where it would create more pollution for national brands to do the same. In the future, Straub hopes to go greener and offer more returnables to customers. “We’d love for it to grow,” Brock said. “We think it is the right thing to do and if we can blend the right thing to do with making our customers happy that’s almost a perfect world.”
Another Peter Straub tradition kept to make customers happy is the Eternal Tap, an oasis for Elk County beer drinkers. The Eternal Tap, established long before any of the brewery’s current chief operators were born, is a “thank you” gesture for patrons, daily providing two mugs of complimentary, fresh cold beer to anyone of legal drinking age. “The roots of it go as far back as the brewery itself and I am sure that my great, great, grandfather, his workers and their friends would spend time at the end of the week enjoying a few pints of freshly brewed beer,” Brock said. According to Bloomington, Illinois’ Pantagraph, the Eternal Tap sprang up shortly after Peter Straub received the Benzinger Spring Brewery from his father-in-law as a way to draw beer enthusiasts to the taste of Straub. Since the marketing gimmick started in 1872, the Eternal Tap has not been turned off, giving free beer to customers in good times and bad.
Although Straub has been in operation for more than a century since its founder’s death, if Peter Straub were able to return to his brewery today, he might feel as if he still ran it. The original recipe, the customer appreciation, and the environmental concerns he founded his business upon are still principal brewing laws at Straub today. For the descendents of Peter Straub, keeping the tradition was second nature. “For me, being President/CEO, my job is to be faithful to the traditions and it is really not that difficult,” Brock said. “I have one of the best jobs in the world and I have been given the opportunity to continue an important tradition and legacy.”
If you’re on the national beer festival circuit, you’ve no doubt seen Cornelia Corey, who turns 66 today. In 2001, Cornelia became the first female “Beer Drinker of the Year” in the old contest that used to be sponsored by Wynkoop. She and her husband, Ray McCoy (himself a 2003 BDOTY, making them the only couple to have won) travel from their native North Carolina to attend many of the big beer festivals and events around the country, and the parties are always a bit more fun when they’re around. Join me in wishing Cornelia a very happy birthday.
At the Great Divide Brewery in Denver, Cornelia and Ray, during GABF week in 2007.
Cornelia and Ray at the 19th Anniversary Party for the Celebrator Beer News.
And this was a couple of years ago in South Carolina, with Ray and Emily Sauter.