Thursday’s ad is for “Rheingold Beer,” from 1956. 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 these newspaper items, from August through October, the six finalists for Miss Rheingold 1957 are shown in a variety of photographs and captions that ran in newspapers throughout the United States, at least in markets that sold Rheingold beer.
Archives for March 23, 2023
Historic Beer Birthday: Michael Brand
Today is the birthday of Michael Brand (March 23, 1826-October 26, 1897). Born in Gau-Odernheim, Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany, he was trained as a brewer and came to America and became a partner with Valentine Busch in 1852 and Busch and Brand Brewery continued until Busch passed away in 1872, when in became the Michael Brand Brewery in Chicago, Illinois, though many sources say that it was 1878 when the name change took place. In 1889, in became the United States Brewing Co., which it remained until in closed in 1955.
Here’s a short biography from the “History of Chicago.”
Here’s another short history of his brewery for “One Hundred Years of Brewing.”
Historic Beer Birthday: Maximilian Schaefer
Today is the anniversary of the death of Maximilian Schaefer, whose exact birth date is not known (1819-March 23, 1904). He was born in Wetzlar, which is part of Hesse, in what today is Germany. He arrived in New York in 1839, a year after his brother Frederick came to America, and the two co-founded F&M Schaefer Brewing Co. in 1842. It was Max who brought with him a recipe for what would become their lager beer.
This is his obituary from Find a Grave:
Beer Magnate. In 1839 he emigrated to the United States, carrying with him the recipe for lager, a popular brew in Germany that was then unknown in America. He joined his brother Frederick in the employ of a local brewer, and in 1842 the Schaefer brothers bought out the owner, establishing F & M Schaefer Brewing. Lager proved popular and the Schaefer company became one of the country’s largest beer producers, with Maximilian Schaefer remaining active in the company until failing health caused him to retire in the late 1890s. By the early 1900s, its customer base in the Northeastern United States made Schaefer the most popular beer in the country, a position it maintained until ceding it to Budweiser in the 1970s. The Schaefer brand continued to decline, and as of 1999 is owned by Pabst Brewing, a holding company that contracts for the brewing of formerly popular regional brands.
This is what the brewery looked like in 1842, when Maximilian and his brother opened the brewery.
Below is part of a chapter on the history of F&M Schaefer Brewing Co., from Will Anderson’s hard-to-find Breweries in Brooklyn.
Longest operating brewery in New York City, last operating brewery in New York City [as of 1976], and America’s oldest lager beer brewing company — these honors, plus many others, all belong to The F. & M. Schaefer Brewing Co.
“F. & M.”, as most breweriana buffs know, stands for Frederick and Maximilian, the brothers who founded Schaefer. Frederick Schaefer, a native of Wetzlar, Prussia, Germany, emigrated to the U.S. in 1838. When he arrived in New York City on October 23rd he was 21 years old and had exactly $1.00 to his name. There is some doubt as to whether or not he had been a practicing brewer in Germany, but there is no doubt that he was soon a practicing brewer in his adopted city. Within two weeks of his landing, Frederick took a job with Sebastian Sommers, who operated a small brewhouse on Broadway, between 18th and 19th Streets. Frederick obviously enjoyed both his job and life in America, and the next year his younger brother, Maximilian, decided to make the arduous trip across the Atlantic also. He arrived in June of 1839 and brought with him a formula for lager, a type of beer popular in Germany but unheard of in the United States. The brothers dreamed, and planned, and saved – and in the late summer of 1842 they were able to buy the small brewery from Sommers. The official, and historic, starting date was September, 1842.
The new brewery they built in 1849.
Sommers’ former facility was a start, but that’s all it was, as it was much too small. New York beer drinkers immediately took a liking to “the different beer” the brothers brewed, and in 1845 Frederick and Maximilian developed a new plant several blocks away, on 7th Avenue, between 16th and 17th Streets (7th Avenue and 17th Street is today, of course, well known as the home of Barney’s, the giant men’s clothing store). This, too, proved to be just a temporary move; the plant was almost immediately inadequate to meet demands and the brothers wisely decided to build yet another new plant, and to locate it in an area where they could expand as needed. Their search took them to what were then the “wilds” of uptown Manhattan. In 1849 the brewery, lock, stock and many barrels, was moved to Fourth Ave. (now Park Avenue) and 51st Street. Here, just north of Grand Central Station, the Schaefers brewed for the next 67 years, ever-expanding their plant. The only problem was that the brothers were not the only ones to locate “uptown.” The area in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s grew rapidly all during the last half of the 19th century, and especially after the opening of the original Grand Central Terminal in 1871. Frederick and Maximilian had wisely purchased numerous lots between 50th and 52nd Streets, and by the time they passed away (Frederick in 1897 and Maximilian in 1904) the brewery was, literally, sitting atop a small fortune. Maximilian’s son, Rudolph J. Schaefer, fully realized this when he assumed the Presidency of the brewery in 1912. In that same year Rudolph purchased the 50% of the company owned by his uncle Frederick’s heirs. He thus had complete control of the brewery, and one of the first matters he turned to was the suitable location for a new, and presumably everlasting, plant. In 1914, in anticipation of its move, Schaefer sold part of the Park Ave. site to St. Bartholomew’s Church. This sale, for a reputed $1,500,000, forced Rudolph to intensify his search for a new location. Finally, in June of 1915, it was announced that the brewery had decided on a large tract in Brooklyn, directly on the East River and bounded by Kent Avenue and South 9th and 10th Streets. Here, starting in 1915, Rudolph constructed the very best in pre-Prohibition breweries. The move across the river to their ultra-new and modern plant was made in 1916, just four years before the Volstead Act crimped the sails (and sales!) of all United States breweries, new or old alike.
The Schaefers around 1895, with Maximilian Schaefer sitting down, his son Rudolph Schaefer standing behind him, Maximilian holding F.M. Emile Schaefer, his grandson and Rudolph’s son on his lap.
Three generations of Schaefers.