Tuesday’s ad is for “Rheingold Beer,” from 1951. 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. Elise Gammon was elected Miss Rheingold for 1951. She was born in Miami, Florida in 1930, though I was unable to find her birthday, it’s not even mentioned in her obituary when she passed away in 2014. She attended Florida State and Harcum College in Pennsylvania, before moving to new York City to pursue a modeling career. At the end of 1950, she married Edward Ory of Louisiana. The pair met on the television show “Blind Date.” As far as I can tell that marriage didn’t last very long because in her obituary, it only mentioned she later moved back to Miami and met and married Fatio O’Hearn Dunham, I think around 1964, and they had four children together, eventually settling in Lakeland in 1980. In this ad, from November, she’s leading the hunt, a fox hunt I believe, but afterwards is leading them all in drinking some beers.
Archives for August 2022
Today is the 73rd birthday of Theo Flissebaalje. Theo’s from the Netherlands, and co-founded StiBON, and he’s also active in the beer consumer organization PINT. He’s also on the international judging circuit. I first met him judging in Tokyo, Japan, but have also judged with him in Europe and America, as well. Join me in wishing Theo a very happy birthday.
Theo judging in Tokyo in
Today is the 69th birthday of Michael J. Ferguson, although I’m guessing at his age. I first met Michael when he was brewing in Las Vegas, but for over a decade brewed for the BJ’s brewpub chain as their Director of Brewery Operations. More recently he’s the Director International Marketing and Business Development for Aalberts Dispense Technologies and is also doing brewery consulting for his own firm, BrewerFX. Michael has one of the best laughs in all of brewing (only Lew Bryson gives him any competition) and is a great person, to boot. Join me in wishing Michael a very happy birthday.
Monday’s ad is for “Rheingold Beer,” from 1951. 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. Elise Gammon was elected Miss Rheingold for 1951. She was born in Miami, Florida in 1930, though I was unable to find her birthday, it’s not even mentioned in her obituary when she passed away in 2014. She attended Florida State and Harcum College in Pennsylvania, before moving to new York City to pursue a modeling career. At the end of 1950, she married Edward Ory of Louisiana. The pair met on the television show “Blind Date.” As far as I can tell that marriage didn’t last very long because in her obituary, it only mentioned she later moved back to Miami and met and married Fatio O’Hearn Dunham, I think around 1964, and they had four children together, eventually settling in Lakeland in 1980. In this ad, from October, she’s working the outdoor grill, cooking up what looks like some fried chicken.
Today is the birthday of Samuel Whitbread (August 30, 1720-June 11, 1796). He founded a brewery with a few partners in 1742, but was the largest investor and retained control of the venture. In 1799 his brewery was renamed Whitbread & Co. Ltd. He was also “appointed High Sheriff of Hertfordshire for 1767–68 and elected Member of Parliament for Bedford in 1768, and held the seat until 1790.” The portrait of Samuel Whitbread below was painted by Joshua Reynolds.
Here is Peter Mathias’ biography from the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography:
Whitbread, Samuel (1720–1796), brewer and landowner, was born on 30 August 1720 at Cardington, near Bedford, the seventh of eight children and the youngest of five sons of Henry Whitbread (d. 1727) and his second wife, Elizabeth Read. The Whitbread family were of prosperous nonconformist yeoman stock, farming their own land and closely associated with leading Bedfordshire puritans. Whitbread’s father was receiver of the land tax for Bedfordshire, and his first wife was the daughter of John Ive, a London merchant. This gave Whitbread the advantage, through a half-brother, of a connection in the City when his widowed mother apprenticed him at the age of sixteen to John Wightman of Gilport Street, a leading London brewer, for the large fee of £300. He set up in business himself in December 1742 with two partners, Godfrey and Thomas Shewell, buying a small brewery at the junction of Old Street and Upper Whitecross Street and another brewhouse for pale and amber beers in Brick Lane, Spitalfields. Whitbread brought an inheritance of £2000 to the firm, plus the proceeds of a small family holding in Gloucestershire, and loans from friends and kinsmen in Bedfordshire. He became free of the Brewers’ Company on 8 July 1743. The partnership was valued at £14,016, owning the leases of 14 public houses, with further loans to publicans, and deployed 18 horses and almost 18,000 casks. However, this was the prelude to a dramatic new venture.
Godfrey Shewell withdrew from the partnership as Thomas Shewell and Samuel Whitbread borrowed more to buy the large site of the derelict King’s Head brewery in Chiswell Street in 1750. The new brewery was specifically for the single product porter, the basis for the vast brewing enterprises then being developed in London by Henry Thrale and Sir Benjamin Truman. It was named the Hind’s Head brewery after the Whitbread family coat of arms. From the outset Whitbread was the leading partner financially, solely responsible for management, and Shewell withdrew completely in 1761, Whitbread buying out his share for £30,000. Great expansion ensued, with such notable innovations as vast underground cisterns containing 12,000 barrels of porter, designed by John Smeaton, and benefiting from installation of only the second Boulton and Watt steam engine in London (Henry Goodwyn, also a brewer, had beaten him by a matter of months). Public renown came on 27 May 1787 with a royal visit to Chiswell Street—by the king and queen, three princesses, and an assembly of aristocrats in train—with James Watt on hand to explain the mysteries of his engine. In the year of Whitbread’s death, 1796, the brewery produced an unprecedented total of 202,000 barrels (that is, almost 30 million quart pots of porter).
Great investment in the brewery did not preclude Whitbread’s amassing a personal fortune and large estates. On his marriage in July 1757 to Harriet, daughter of William Hayton of Ivinghoe, Buckinghamshire, a leading London attorney, Whitbread began buying land in Cardington, the locality of his birth. His wife died in 1764, leaving him with an only son, Samuel Whitbread (the couple also had two daughters). Whitbread went on to buy the Bedwell Park estate in Hertfordshire in 1765, and he also owned London houses, first at St Alban’s Street, Westminster, and then at Portman Square (from 1778), together with a large house in Chiswell Street by the brewery. In 1795 shortly before his death he bought Lord Torrington’s Southill Park estate in Bedfordshire and immediately engaged the architect Henry Holland to rebuild the existing house. Whitbread had by this time accumulated a landed estate worth some £400,000.
Affluence brought higher social status and also Whitbread’s second marriage on 18 August 1769 to Lady Mary Cornwallis, younger daughter of Earl Cornwallis; but she died in 1770, giving birth to a daughter, Mary Grey (1770–1858). Whitbread became MP for Bedford in 1768, mainly, but certainly not always, supporting the tory interest until his son took over the seat in 1790. He was regarded as completely independent of the administration and spoke mainly on matters pertaining to the brewing industry, save that he was a firm advocate of the abolition of the slave trade.
Whitbread died on 11 June 1796 at Bedwell Park. He appointed his three senior clerks as his executors because his son was ‘a perfect stranger to the whole’ (Mathias, 309). Whitbread not only had his own portrait painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds, but he also commissioned Thomas Gainsborough, Gainsborough Dupont, and George Romney to paint portraits to hang in the library at Southill of all nine of his senior clerks and brewers, in recognition of their importance in managing the business. Unfortunately, in their very rich gilt frames the pictures had to observe the dissipation of the great fortune by the younger Samuel Whitbread as he pursued a costly social and parliamentary career, neglecting the brewery which had been the source of the family’s wealth and prestige.
An early history of the company from Encyclopedia.com:
Samuel Whitbread, at the age of 14, was sent to London by his mother in 1734 to become an apprentice to a brewer. Whitbread, raised as a Puritan, proved to be an extremely hard worker. In 1742, eight years after coming to London, he established his own brewery with a £2,000 inheritance and additional underwriting from John Howard, the renowned prison reformer. As the brewery became successful, Howard’s investment became more lucrative—it even led to a reciprocation of financial support by Whitbread for Howard’s reform movement.
By 1750 Whitbread had acquired an additional brewery located on Chiswell Street. At this time there were more than 50 breweries in London, but, despite intense competition, the Whitbread brewery expanded rapidly. By 1760 its annual output had reached 64,000 barrels, second only to Calvert and Company.
Whitbread was enthusiastic about new brewing methods. He employed several well-known engineers who helped to improve the quality and increase the production volume of the company’s stout and porter (a sweeter, weaker stout).
The Whitbread family had a long history of involvement in English politics. Samuel Whitbread’s forefathers fought with Oliver Cromwell’s Roundheads during the English Civil War and later developed a connection with the Bedfordshire preacher and author John Bunyan. Samuel Whitbread himself was elected to Parliament in 1768 as a representative of Bedford. His son, Samuel II, succeeded him in Parliament in 1790, and Whitbread descendants served in Parliament almost continuously until 1910.
Samuel Whitbread died in 1796.
The Whitbread Brewery in Chiswell Street, 1792, painted by George Garrard.
Today is the 47th birthday of Johan Van Dyck, who founded Seef Beer in Antwerp, based on an old style that he worked hard to resurrect after it had died out, despite having been the most popular local beer for many years before two world wars. I first met Johan in San Francisco when he was here with his importer to launch the brand and I wrote about the beer for my newspaper column. The company is now called Antwerpse Brouwcompagnie. It was originally a contract brew, but Johan has opened a production facility in the Noorderpershuis, which was originally a power plant. I’ve since run into him a few times in Belgium, and I’m very glad to see his beer succeed. Join me in wishing Johan a very happy birthday.
Sunday’s ad is for “Rheingold Beer,” from 1951. 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. Elise Gammon was elected Miss Rheingold for 1951. She was born in Miami, Florida in 1930, though I was unable to find her birthday, it’s not even mentioned in her obituary when she passed away in 2014. She attended Florida State and Harcum College in Pennsylvania, before moving to new York City to pursue a modeling career. At the end of 1950, she married Edward Ory of Louisiana. The pair met on the television show “Blind Date.” As far as I can tell that marriage didn’t last very long because in her obituary, it only mentioned she later moved back to Miami and met and married Fatio O’Hearn Dunham, I think around 1964, and they had four children together, eventually settling in Lakeland in 1980. In this ad, from October, she’s working the outdoor grill, cooking some kind of bird. It’s a little early for a turkey, so it may be a chicken or some other game bird, who knows. But she does know it goes best with a beer.
Today in ancient Egypt was celebrated as the Nativity of Hathor. She “was a major goddess in ancient Egyptian religion who played a wide variety of roles. As a sky deity, she was the mother, or consort, of the sky god Horus and the sun god Ra, both of whom were connected with kingship, and thus she was the symbolic mother of their earthly representatives, the pharaohs. She was one of several goddesses who acted as the Eye of Ra, Ra’s feminine counterpart, and in this form she had a vengeful aspect that protected him from his enemies. Her beneficent side represented music, dance, joy, love, sexuality and maternal care, and she acted as the consort of several male deities and the mother of their sons. These two aspects of the goddess exemplified the Egyptian conception of femininity. Hathor crossed boundaries between worlds, helping deceased souls in the transition to the afterlife.” But she was also “called the mistress of music, dance, garlands, myrrh, and drunkenness.”
Here’s the initial part of her entry on her Wikipedia page:
Hathor was a major goddess in ancient Egyptian religion who played a wide variety of roles. As a sky deity, she was the mother or consort of the sky god Horus and the sun god Ra, both of whom were connected with kingship, and thus she was the symbolic mother of their earthly representatives, the pharaohs. She was one of several goddesses who acted as the Eye of Ra, Ra’s feminine counterpart, and in this form she had a vengeful aspect that protected him from his enemies. Her beneficent side represented music, dance, joy, love, sexuality and maternal care, and she acted as the consort of several male deities and the mother of their sons. These two aspects of the goddess exemplified the Egyptian conception of femininity. Hathor crossed boundaries between worlds, helping deceased souls in the transition to the afterlife.
Hathor was often depicted as a cow, symbolizing her maternal and celestial aspect, although her most common form was a woman wearing a headdress of cow horns and a sun disk. She could also be represented as a lioness, cobra, or sycamore tree.
Cattle goddesses similar to Hathor were portrayed in Egyptian art in the fourth millennium BC, but she may not have appeared until the Old Kingdom (c. 2686–2181 BC). With the patronage of Old Kingdom rulers she became one of Egypt’s most important deities. More temples were dedicated to her than to any other goddess; her most prominent temple was Dendera in Upper Egypt. She was also worshipped in the temples of her male consorts. The Egyptians connected her with foreign lands such as Nubia and Canaan and their valuable goods, such as incense and semiprecious stones, and some of the peoples in those lands adopted her worship. In Egypt, she was one of the deities commonly invoked in private prayers and votive offerings, particularly by women desiring children.
During the New Kingdom (c. 1550–1070 BC), goddesses such as Mut and Isis encroached on Hathor’s position in royal ideology, but she remained one of the most widely worshipped deities. After the end of the New Kingdom, Hathor was increasingly overshadowed by Isis, but she continued to be venerated until the extinction of ancient Egyptian religion in the early centuries AD.
Music, Dance, and Joy
Egyptian religion celebrated the sensory pleasures of life, believed to be among the gods’ gifts to humanity. Egyptians ate, drank, danced, and played music at their religious festivals. They perfumed the air with flowers and incense. Many of Hathor’s epithets link her to celebration; she is called the mistress of music, dance, garlands, myrrh, and drunkenness. In hymns and temple reliefs, musicians play tambourines, harps, lyres, and sistra in Hathor’s honor. The sistrum, a rattle-like instrument, was particularly important in Hathor’s worship. Sistra had erotic connotations and, by extension, alluded to the creation of new life.
These aspects of Hathor were linked with the myth of the Eye of Ra. The Eye was pacified by beer in the story of the Destruction of Mankind. In some versions of the Distant Goddess myth, the wandering Eye’s wildness abated when she was appeased with products of civilization like music, dance, and wine. The water of the annual flooding of the Nile, colored red by sediment, was likened to wine, and to the red-dyed beer in the Destruction of Mankind. Festivals during the inundation therefore incorporated drink, music, and dance as a way to appease the returning goddess. A text from the Temple of Edfu says of Hathor, “the gods play the sistrum for her, the goddesses dance for her to dispel her bad temper.” A hymn to the goddess Raet-Tawy as a form of Hathor at the temple of Medamud describes the Festival of Drunkenness as part of her mythic return to Egypt. Women carry bouquets of flowers, drunken revelers play drums, and people and animals from foreign lands dance for her as she enters the temple’s festival booth. The noise of the celebration drives away hostile powers and ensures the goddess will remain in her joyful form as she awaits the male god of the temple, her mythological consort Montu, whose son she will bear.
Many of Hathor’s annual festivals were celebrated with drinking and dancing that served a ritual purpose. Revelers at these festivals may have aimed to reach a state of religious ecstasy, which was otherwise rare or nonexistent in ancient Egyptian religion. Graves-Brown suggests that celebrants in Hathor’s festivals aimed to reach an altered state of consciousness to allow them interact with the divine realm. An example is the Festival of Drunkenness, commemorating the return of the Eye of Ra, which was celebrated on the twentieth day of the month of Thout at temples to Hathor and to other Eye goddesses. It was celebrated as early as the Middle Kingdom, but it is best known from Ptolemaic and Roman times. The dancing, eating and drinking that took place during the Festival of Drunkenness represented the opposite of the sorrow, hunger, and thirst that the Egyptians associated with death. Whereas the rampages of the Eye of Ra brought death to humans, the Festival of Drunkenness celebrated life, abundance, and joy.
In a local Theban festival known as the Beautiful Festival of the Valley, which began to be celebrated in the Middle Kingdom, the cult image of Amun from the Temple of Karnak visited the temples in the Theban Necropolis while members of the community went to the tombs of their deceased relatives to drink, eat, and celebrate. Hathor was not involved in this festival until the early New Kingdom, after which Amun’s overnight stay in the temples at Deir el-Bahari came to be seen as his sexual union with her.
Several temples in Ptolemaic times, including that of Dendera, observed the Egyptian new year with a series of ceremonies in which images of the temple deity were supposed to be revitalized by contact with the sun god. On the days leading up to the new year, Dendera’s statue of Hathor was taken to the wabet, a specialized room in the temple, and placed under a ceiling decorated with images of the sky and sun. On the first day of the new year, the first day of the month of Thoth, the Hathor image was carried up to the roof to be bathed in genuine sunlight.
The best-documented festival focused on Hathor is another Ptolemaic celebration, the Festival of the Beautiful Reunion. It took place over fourteen days in the month of Epiphi. Hathor’s cult image from Dendera was carried by boat to several temple sites to visit the gods of those temples. The endpoint of the journey was the Temple of Horus at Edfu, where the Hathor statue from Dendera met that of Horus of Edfu and the two were placed together. On one day of the festival, these images were carried out to a shrine where primordial deities such as the sun god and the Ennead were said to be buried. The texts say the divine couple performed offering rites for these entombed gods.Many Egyptologists regard this festival as a ritual marriage between Horus and Hathor, although Martin Stadler challenges this view, arguing that it instead represented the rejuvenation of the buried creator gods. Bleeker thought the Beautiful Reunion was another celebration of the return of the Distant Goddess, citing allusions in the temple’s festival texts to the myth of the solar eye. Barbara Richter argues that the festival represented all three things at once. She points out that the birth of Horus and Hathor’s son Ihy was celebrated at Dendera nine months after the Festival of the Beautiful Reunion, implying that Hathor’s visit to Horus represented Ihy’s conception.
The third month of the Egyptian calendar, Hathor or Athyr, was named for the goddess. Festivities in her honor took place throughout the month, although they are not recorded in the texts from Dendera.
And here’s another account of the Festival of Drunkenness, from Just History:
There was an importance placed on beer in Egyptian culture as well. The source of this festival is a mythological story of how beer saved the world.
The story goes that Re, the sun god, was frankly salty about the “duplicitousness” of mankind and called his children together to discuss it. A Council of the Gods is called, and they decide to punish the rebellious men by letting loose the goddess Hathor. She stormed out in the form of Sakhnet, which literally means female magical power. In some stories this is the form of a great flood, and in others it is the form of a lion. Whatever this form is, Hathor went to town killing everyone up and down the Nile Valley. Re and the other gods started to feel bad about what they let loose, and tried to get her to stop, but at this point Hathor was in a blood rage and would not and could not stop. In order to stop her murderous rampage, the Council of the Gods flooded the fields with beer that had been tinted red with ocher to look like blood. Hathor greedily lapped it up and got drunk and passed out. Mankind was saved by drunkenness.
Originally, it was thought these rituals took place in later in Egyptian history when they were ruled the Greeks and Romans. However, recent discoveries from the excavations of the Temple of Mut complex in Luxor show they took place much earlier- around 1470 BCE. Dr. Betsy Bryan’s research has found the Festival of Drunkenness was celebrated by people at least once a year, sometimes twice, in homes, temples and makeshift desert shrines. It was different than many other temple ceremonies as the priests or pharaoh would act on behalf of the people. In this ritual, everyone participated together- the elites and the peasants. The scene is described in a hymn to Sakhnet as young women with flowing garlands in their hair serving alcohol to everyone They all drink to the point of passing out, then are awoken to the beating of drums and the priests carried out a likeness of the goddess Hathor and they present their petitions to her. It wasn’t just drinking going on either. Graffiti was found discussing “traveling the marshes”, which is a euphemism for having sex. These festivals took place at the beginning of the Nile floods in mid-August, which hearkened to the fertility and renewal of the land by the floods.
The excavations have found what is termed a “porch of drunkenness” associated with Hatshepsut, the woman who became pharaoh. The porch was constructed at the height of her reign. It has been theorized that Hatshepsut was instrumental in popularizing the festival to justify her assumption of pharaonic powers by association with a Great Goddess. There is also a tantalizing discussion of Hatshepsut driving off enemies of Egypt termed the “shemau”, which at least one historian believes was the Jewish people. Then the festivals would be a time to celebrate the fertility of the remaining Egyptians and to replenish their population. This would place the Biblical exodus much earlier than theorized. There is no additional corroboration for this theory however.
No one knows why the porch of drunkenness was taken down. Hatsheput’s name was stricken by her successor, Thutmose III, so it could have been part of that campaign. The ritual fell out of favor as well, and according to Bryan it had lost favor completely by the reign of Amenhotep III. She observed that Egyptians did not like the alcohol making them lose control, and that was what this ritual was about- taking them to the edge of chaos. However, in the time of the fun loving Greeks and Romans it regained popularity. Herodotus reported in 440 BCE that the festivals drew as many as 700,000 participants and drunkenness and sexual permissiveness was the rule. There are also mentions of the festival as late as 200 CE. Although the significance of it had gone, there’s nothing better than a good party.
The Ancient Egyptian Festival of Drunkenness
The Festival of Drunkenness is a religiously significant celebration that was held annually (said to be biannually in some places) by the ancient Egyptians. The background story for the celebration of this festival can be found in a text known as The Book of the Heavenly Cow . In this text, there is an ancient Egyptian myth involving the destruction of mankind. According to the myth, human beings were saved from extinction thanks, in part, to alcohol.
The Destruction of Mankind
In The Book of the Heavenly Cow , there is a myth known as the ‘Destruction of Mankind’. This story begins by stating that once upon a time, human beings lived together with the gods, and were ruled over by Ra (Re). It goes on to say that when Ra had grown old, mankind began to conspire against him. Ra became aware of mankind’s scheming, and decided to summon the other gods to his palace, in order to obtain counsel from them.
After explaining his dilemma to the gods, it was suggested to Ra that he ought to release his Eye, so that it might smite down humanity. He agreed with this suggestion, and sent his Eye in the form of the goddess Hathor to punish mankind. In the meantime, the humans fled to the desert, as they became fearful of Ra.
Nevertheless, Hathor, who was transformed into a lion (or the warlike goddess Sekhmet), descended and slew mankind in the desert. In one version of the story, the goddess went on a rampage, and was about to wipe out all of humanity when Ra took pity on mankind. It was through Ra’s subsequent intervention that mankind was saved. In an alternate version of the myth, it seems that Ra had planned the event to save mankind, so that he could be the savior of humanity.
Thus, Ra summoned his messengers, and ordered them to bring him a great amount of haematite from Elephantine. He then ordered the haematite to be ground. In the meantime, barley was also being ground to produce beer. When both substances were ready, Ra had the haematite put into the beer, so that it resembled human blood. It is written that 7,000 jars of this beer were made.
One night, Ra poured out the blood-like beer, which flooded the fields “three palms high.” On the morning of the next day, the goddess saw that the fields were flooded with what seemed to be human blood, and was delighted at the sight. She began drinking the liquid without knowing that it was actually beer, and soon became intoxicated, then fell asleep. As a result, mankind was saved from destruction.
The Day of Celebration
The Festival of Drunkenness is celebrated on the 20th day of Thoth, the 1st month of the ancient Egyptian calendar. The festival of drunkenness was a communal affair and on one level, the celebrations took place in temples. On another level, this festival took place in peoples’ houses and shrines.
Typically, the participants of this festival would be served lots of alcohol, get drunk, and fall asleep. It was not regarded, however, as a social drinking session, but was sacred event. In the temples, the celebrants would be awoken by the sound of drums and music. Upon waking up, they would worship the goddess Hathor.
Other aspects of the ritual celebration included dancing and the lighting of torches, which was performed in the hopes that the devotees of the goddess would receive an epiphany from her. Another activity believed to have been undertaken during the festival was sex. In a hymn regarding the festival, there is a phrase “traveling through the marshes”, and it has been speculated that this is an ancient Egyptian euphemism for having sex.
One explanation for this activity is provided by regarding Hathor in her role as a goddess of love. Alternatively, it may have been linked to the fertility of the land as well. The Festival of Drunkenness was typically celebrated around the middle of August, the period when the Nile began to rise. Therefore, sexual activity during the festival may have also been perceived as a means of bringing the Nile floods back, and thus ensuring the fertility of the land.
And apparently Hathor and drunkenness, too, played a role in Ancient Egyptian funerals.
As an afterlife deity, Hathor appeared frequently in funerary texts and art. In the early New Kingdom, for instance, Osiris, Anubis, and Hathor were the three deities most commonly found in royal tomb decoration. In that period she often appeared as the goddess welcoming the dead into the afterlife. Other images referred to her more obliquely. Reliefs in Old Kingdom tombs show men and women performing a ritual called “shaking the papyrus”. The significance of this rite is not known, but inscriptions sometimes say it was performed “for Hathor”, and shaking papyrus stalks produces a rustling sound that may have been likened to the rattling of a sistrum. Other Hathoric imagery in tombs included the cow emerging from the mountain of the necropolis and the seated figure of the goddess presiding over a garden in the afterlife. Images of Nut were often painted or incised inside coffins, indicating the coffin was her womb, from which the occupant would be reborn in the afterlife. In the Third Intermediate Period, Hathor began to be placed on the floor of the coffin, with Nut on the interior of the lid.
Tomb art from the Eighteenth Dynasty often shows people drinking, dancing, and playing music, as well as holding menat necklaces and sistra—all imagery that alluded to Hathor. These images may represent private feasts that were celebrated in front of tombs to commemorate the people buried there, or they may show gatherings at temple festivals such as the Beautiful Festival of the Valley. Festivals were thought to allow contact between the human and divine realms, and by extension, between the living and the dead. Thus, texts from tombs often expressed a wish that the deceased would be able to participate in festivals, primarily those dedicated to Osiris. Tombs’ festival imagery, however, may refer to festivals involving Hathor, such as the Festival of Drunkenness, or to the private feasts, which were also closely connected with her. Drinking and dancing at these feasts may have been meant to intoxicate the celebrants, as at the Festival of Drunkenness, allowing them to commune with the spirits of the deceased.
Hathor was said to supply offerings to deceased people as early as the Old Kingdom, and spells to enable both men and women to join her retinue in the afterlife appeared as early as the Coffin Texts in the Middle Kingdom. Some burial goods that portray deceased women as goddesses may depict these women as followers of Hathor, although whether the imagery refers to Hathor or Isis is not known. The link between Hathor and deceased women was maintained into the Roman Period, the last stage of ancient Egyptian religion before its extinction.
Today is the birthday of Rudolph J. Schaefer III (August 29, 1930-June 10, 2011). Also nicknamed “Rudie” — he was the great-great-grandson of Rudolph J. Schaefer, who was the son of Maximilian Schaefer, and he, along with his brother Frederick, founded the F&M Schaefer Brewing Company in 1842. Rudie’s great-grandfather Rudolph became the president of F&M Schaefer Brewing in 1912, and continued in that position until his death. He also bought out his uncles and their heirs, and controlled the entire company, which allowed his father Rudie to become president in 1927, a position he held until retiring in 1969. Rudie III then became president, and held that position until 1975. “In 1981 Schaefer was acquired by Stroh Brewing Company which, in turn, was acquired by Pabst Brewing Company in 1999.”
Here’s his obituary from Find-a-Grave:
Rudolph J. Schaefer III, of Stonington and Key Largo, Fla., died Friday, June 10, 2011, in his home, surrounded by his loving family.
Mr. Schaefer was born on Aug. 29, 1930 in New York City to Rudolph Jay Schaefer Jr. and Lucia (Moran) Schaefer.
Rudie attended the Rye Country Day School, Choate, Washington and Lee and graduated from Hofstra University with a bachelor of business administration. Rudie also attended the Harvard Business School PMD Management Program.
After graduation, Rudie enlisted in the Navy in June, 1952. He served active duty aboard the USS MacGowen DD678 from 1953 to 1957 in the Middle East, attaining the rank of lieutenant JG. He remained in the Naval Reserves until 1969.
Rudie married Jane A. Isdale of New Rochelle, N.Y. at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Larchmont, N.Y. in 1956.
Joining the F&M Schaefer Brewing Co. in 1957, he later served as president of the brewery from 1972 to 1975. His great-grandfather founded the F&M Schaefer Brewing Company in 1842.
Mr. Schaefer was involved, and worked on many boards throughout his life. He was vice president and board member of the New York School For The Deaf, board member of the United Hospital in Port Chester N.Y., the New Rochelle Hospital as well as L&M Hospital in New London. Rudie was also a board member of the Lincoln Savings Bank and the New London Savings Bank.
A philanthropist throughout his life, Rudie was especially proud of his work with the Mystic Seaport, serving as a trustee in 1975 and later president and chairman of the board from 1983 to 1989.
His love of the sea and yachting, sparked a life long interest in marine art. He was very proactive in supporting many aspiring marine artists. Rudie was instrumental in building the Mystic Maritime Art Gallery at the Mystic Seaport in honor of his father, Rudolph J. Schaefer Jr.
Mr. Schaefer was actively involved in many clubs and organizations including the Cruising Club of America, founder of the Stonington Country Club, Stonington Harbor Yacht Club, Ocean Reef Club, member and commodore of the Key Largo Anglers Club, New York Yacht Club. Former memberships include the American Yacht Club, Larchmont Yacht Club and the Shelter Island Yacht Club.
And here’s another obituary from the Hartford Courant, published September 18, 2011:
Extraordinary Life: Rudolph J. Schaefer III of Stonington, was a successful businessman and a generous philanthropist, but the sea was his passion. He also was an heir to the F&M Schaefer Brewing Co., New York’s longest operating brewery.
Rudie Schaefer was a successful businessman and a generous philanthropist, but the sea was his passion. He enjoyed being on the water, collecting modern marine art and working for Mystic Seaport, where he served as president of the board of trustees.
He also was an heir to the F&M Schaefer Brewing Co., New York’s longest operating brewery.
Rudie Schaefer III was born Aug. 29, 1930, and grew up in Larchmont, N.Y., outside Manhattan. His mother, Lucia, was a homemaker and his father was commodore of the Larchmont Yacht Club. Rudie grew up on the water, sailing small and large boats. He graduated from Rye Country Day School and Choate, then attended Washington and Lee University for two years. He obtained his bachelor’s degree in business from Hofstra University in 1952.
After graduation, he enlisted in the Navy and served in the Middle East from 1953 to 1957. He was en route to the Suez Canal during the Middle East crisis of 1956, when many people thought war was imminent. His ship was the last to go through the canal before it closed, but the issues were resolved and he did not see combat.
In the fall of 1956, he married Jane Isdale, a fellow sailor from Larchmont. They had six children; one daughter Anne, predeceased him.
F&M Schaefer, the family beer company, was founded by Schaefer’s great-grandfather Max Schaefer and Max’s brother, Frederick Schaefer, who came to New York in the late 1830s. They worked for a small brewery, owned by Sebastian Summers, but Max introduced the formula for lager beer, popular in Germany but unknown in the United States. Lager became extremely popular, and in 1842 the brothers bought the company. It was a family company for nearly 150 years, and its memorable slogan was “Schaefer: The one beer to have when you are having more than one.”
After his Navy servicer, Schaefer joined the family company in 1957, and went first to Albany to run a plant. The family moved several times as Schaefer rose in the company, and he lived in Rye while he served as president from 1972 until 1975. He retired in 1976.
In 1981, the Stroh Brewery bought the company, and Pabst Brewery bought Stroh in 1999, but Schaefer beer continues to be brewed and distributed in the Northeast and Puerto Rico.
For about five years, Schaefer was a partner in Aquasport, a company that manufactured small fishing boats in Florida.
He also was an outdoorsman who loved trap shooting, hunting and fishing. He once hooked a “grander,” a 1,000 pound black marlin, in Australia, which took 3-1/2 hours to reel in. Broken eardrums kept him from deep sea diving, but he loved going out on his 46-foot yacht built from the hull of a lobster boat.
In the early 1980s, Schaefer became one of the founders of the Stonington Country Club. A perfectionist, he would go around the course picking up rocks, or take a dinghy out to retrieve balls lost in the pond.
The high spirits that led him to dress up in crazy costumes for clown dives at the country club as a teenager never faded. He was a storyteller and had a sense of humor about himself. He liked to tell the story of how he once took a golf swing and missed, then knocked the ball into the clubhouse on the way back.
In 1982, the Schaefers moved to Stonington.
“Mystic Seaport brought us here,” said Jane Schaefer who like her husband, became an active volunteer at the seaport. Like his father, he became a trustee and served as president and chairman of the board from 1983 to 1989.
Schaefer was one of the early Pilots, a group of seaport volunteers who spend two weekends a year doing odd jobs, including painting and maintenance at the port. Schaefer’s preferred activity was shingling, and he would suit up in his tool belt and repair roofs wherever it was needed.
Schaefer had an encyclopedic knowledge of boating.
“He just knew every boat yard up and down the East Coast,” said Russell Burgess, a sailing friend. To make sure that old-boat-building techniques and sailing yarns weren’t forgotten, Schaefer funded a position for an oral historian at Mystic who interviewed boat builders, architects and famous sailors. He supported the library and was active in finding collections and boats for the museum.
Always interested in art, Schaefer was instrumental in establishing the Maritime Gallery at Mystic Seaport, a showcase for modern, international marine art and donated a building in honor of his father. Some of the younger artists whom Schaefer collected and promoted became well-known, such as Don Demers, a Maine painter whose work he first encountered at the gallery.
“Rudie took note of the paintings, introduced himself and made a point of complimenting me,” recalled Demers. Schaefer began buying Demers’ work, and in 1988, Demers had a one-man show at Mystic that sold out.
“He had a lot of influence,” Demers said. “If you got Rudie’s stamp of approval, you were validated, and that certainly happened to me.”
Schaefer’s approach to art mirrored his approach to life: He was gregarious and effusive.
“He’d pull people over and say, look at this. We’d talk and talk and talk about it,” said Demers. “It was really a joy to show him a painting.”
“He was a rare trustee,” said Paul O’Pecko, the reference librarian. “He really did give freely of his time, talent and treasure.”
“He had a motto,” said his wife. “Make one person smile every day.”
Today is maybe the 42nd birthday of Jim Woods, founder of MateVeza, an organic brewer headquartered in San Francisco. I first met Jim when we were classmates at U.C. Davis for the brewing short course before he launched his unique business. All Jim’s beers are made with Yerba Mate, a South American herb that’s similar to tea. Technically, it’s part of the holly family, but contains caffeine and the leaves are used like tea. It works surprisingly well as a spice in beer. Several years ago now, Jim opened the Cervecería de MateVeza, a small brewpub in San Francisco, right next to a corner of Dolores Park. Rebranded as Woods Beer, there are now five locations in San Francisco and Oakland.
Jim at his Beerunch during SF Beer Week in 2010.