Sunday’s ad is for La Bière de Luxe Phénix, from maybe the 1940s or early 50s. From the late 1800s until the 1980s, poster art really came into its own, and in Europe a lot of really cool posters, many of them for breweries, were produced. I’ve been posting vintage European posters all last year and will continue to do so in 2020. This poster was created for Brasserie du Phénix, which was founded in 1886 in Marseille, which is located in the Bouches-du-Rhône area in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region of southern France. A brewery had been on the same site since 1821, and a new one was rebuilt in 1872, and 14 years later it was bought by a new owner, who called it the Brasserie et Malterie du Phénix. They later changed their name to the Brasserie de la Valentine, and today it is owned by the Heineken Group. This is another of the variation views of the poster, with the altered perspective of the waiter looking to his left rather than staring straight ahead. This one is also using “de Luxe” in the name and included the text “… en tête des meilleures!,” which Google translates as “… at the top of the best! I don’t know who the artist is who created this poster.
Today is the birthday of Franz Falk (August 9, 1823-August 5, 1882), though some accounts give August 9, and I’ve also seen both 1823 and 1825 given as the year, so it’s safe to say there’s no consensus about his actual birth date. What is more agreed upon is that he was born in Miltenberg, Germany, part of Bavaria. Although not completely, as one source says he was born in Munich (München), Münchener Stadtkreis. Falk became a master brewer when he was just 24, in 1848, and the same year emigrated to the U.S., working first in Cincinnati, working at various breweries, before settling permanently in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. In 1856, he founded the Bavarian Brewery in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, but changed the name to the Franz Falk Brewing Co. when he incorporated in 1882. In 1889, it became known as the Falk, Jung & Borchert Brewing Co. but closed three years later, in 1892.
This history is from “The Industrious Falk Family,” part of a documentary called “The Making of Milwaukee Stories:”
In 1848, at the age of 25, Franz Falk decided to leave his home in Bavaria, a state in southern Germany, and immigrate to the United States of America. Franz first traveled to Cincinnati, Ohio, but soon moved to Milwaukee. Franz felt very much at home in Milwaukee because approximately 35% of the people living there in the mid to late 1800’s were also German. There were German churches, schools, and gymnasiums.
Newspapers were printed in German and German operas were performed. The German immigrants in Milwaukee loved being able to speak the language of their mother country. They also honored other German traditions such as brewing beer.
Franz and his friend Frederick Goes decided to start their own brewery. Milwaukee was a great place to make and sell beer so Franz and Frederick set a challenging goal; to become the largest brewery in Milwaukee. The friends purchased land in the Menomonee Valley and named their business the Bavaria Brewery. Franz and Frederick had numerous competitors because many other German brewers had also settled in Milwaukee. Those other brewers included Valentine Blatz who developed the Blatz Brewery; Joseph Schlitz, who created the Schlitz Brewery and adopted the slogan, “Schlitz: The Beer that Made Milwaukee Famous”; and, Captain Frederick Pabst, who married the daughter of another successful brewer, Philip Best. Pabst beer won a blue ribbon in the 1870’s and so they called their beer Pabst Blue Ribbon. Another brewer, Frederick Miller, founded the Miller Brewing Company. Miller products are still produced in Milwaukee by the MillerCoors Company.
At one time in the mid 1800’s, there were over 20 breweries in Milwaukee, most of them owned by the Germans. There were so many successful breweries that Milwaukee became known as the “beer capitol of the world”.
Even though Franz Falk had a lot of competition, he was a hard worker and the Bavaria Brewery eventually became the fourth largest brewery in Milwaukee. Franz died in 1882 and two of his seven sons, Louis and Frank, continued the family brewing tradition. But on July 4th, 1889, disaster struck! A fire destroyed part of the Bavaria Brewery. Beer spewed out, ankle deep, into the Menomonee Valley. Despite this fire, Louis and Frank did not give up. They rebuilt and reopened the brewery just three months after the fire.
However, their dreams were dashed again when another fire devastated their business. This time the sons of Franz Falk did not rebuild. In 1893, they sold the Bavaria Brewery to Captain Frederick Pabst. As a result of this acquisition, the Pabst Brewery Company became not only the largest brewery in Milwaukee but also in the entire United States.
This is a history of the early Falk Brewing Co. from Wisconsin Breweriana:
The founding grandfather of the Falk Corporation was born in August 9,1823 in Miltenberg, Bavaria Germany. (Also the birthplace of August Krug and Val Blatz) Entrepreneurial drive was not the only skill Franz Falk brought with him to make his niche in the New World. After 6 years spent mastering his father’s trade, coopering, Falk added the “art and mastery” of brewing while employed by a Miltenberg brewery. In 1848, Franz Falk decided to make a new life for himself in America. Falk departed for the United States, reaching New York in June 1848. In October of 1848, after three months in Cincinnati, Falk relocated again to Milwaukee. With one third of the population German, Milwaukee was a favorable environment for brewers. All of Milwaukee’s famous breweries- Pabst, Schlitz, Miller, and Blatz – were established in the 1840s. Franz Falk’s timing could not have be better to find a brewing position. In the Cream City he was soon employed as a general brewery workman by August Krug, who founded the brewery eventually operated by Joseph Schlitz. After approximately six months Falk moved on to the Menomonee Brewery, working with Charles T. Melms for a seven year career as the brewery foreman, or brewmaster. The 1857-1858 Milwaukee City directory lists Falk as the brewery foreman of Melms & Co. This time frame is approximately when Melms took full control of the former Menomonee brewery, Franz Falk was ready to set out on his own.
In mid to late 1855 Frederick Goes and Franz Falk formed a partnership and began to build a malting and brewing enterprise. The brewery portion was called the Bavaria Brewery, no doubt Falk’s influence in the name. Goes was a successful dry goods businessman, the 1857-1858 Milwaukee City directory lists Goes as a variety store owner. If we read into the Goes & Falk name under which they did business, it’s possible that Goes may have supplied the venture capitol, or perhaps an important asset for the venture. The record indicates that in 1856 Frederick Goes assumed ownership of the Middlewood & Gibson malt-house (3), originally established in Milwaukee in 1849 as the Eagle Brewery. (Later operated as the Sands Spring Brewery.) Goes and Falk leveraged the malting operation with their new brewery venture. The first Goes & Falk enterprise was located on 8th and Chestnut, now Juneau and Highland. The address is near the Eagle brewery, and although the final relationship between the properties and owners is unclear, it is possible that assuming part of the former Eagle Brewery and malt house facilities launched Goes and Falk’s enterprise. In brewing history, 1856 was a year of turn over. Krug, Falk’s former employer also died in 1856 allowing Schlitz to step up. During Falk’s initial year, 1857, Goes & Falk employed five men and produced 1000 barrels.
A rare 1863 Goes & Falk civil war token is one of the few breweriana references to the earliest years of the brewery and malt house. A known pre-pro glass is another, later breweriana reference illustrating the A. Gunther & Falk partnership, Gunther being the sole bottler of Falks Lager. The embossed emblem referencing Falk’s Milwaukee Lager, lager being the specialty brew of the Bavaria Brewery. “Falk” means “falcon” in German, and the embossed crest clearly shows a falcon perched on a letter G, presumably in reference to A. Gunther.
The Bavaria Brewery was conducted by the firm Goes & Falk until 1866 when Franz became the sole proprietor, buying out Goes and forming the Franz Falk & Company business name. When Franz Falk took the reins in 1866 the production had increased to 5468 barrels. In 1867 Falk also acquired a partial interest in Goes malting business, the business being successively conducted by Goes & Falk and then Franz Falk & Co. In 1870 the Goes sold his remaining malting interests to William Gerlach & Co. who eventually bought out Falk’s holdings at the original site in 1872. In 1870, Falk chose a new Menomonee Valley site just west of C.T. Melm’s for a more extensive, modern brewery. In 1872 the original Bavaria Brewing operation was closed and the Menomonee Valley operation was in high gear, dramatically increasing production nearly two fold.
Falk built his own on-site malting house as part of the new Bavaria Brewery, one of the first owned and operated by a brewery, which allowed him to sell his previous malt holdings to Gerlach. By 1872 Falk was the 4th largest Milwaukee brewery behind Best, Schlitz and Blatz. In 1880 the Bavaria brewery consisted of five brick and stone buildings, including the yards, outbuildings, and side track to the Milwaukee & St. Paul Railway. The site occupied about 5 acres, operating with eight icehouses and on-site malting production of approximately 100,000 bushels annually. Falk employed 100 men, twelve teams of horses and operated it’s own cooperage. In addition Falk owned their own rail cars for shipping beer.
Older sons, Louis and Frank eventually joined the brewery and incorporation papers from 1881 show the Franz Falk Brewing Corporation, as a limited family partnership with Franz as President, Louis and Franz as the Vice President and Secretary Treasurer respectively. If one examines the Trade Cards of the Falk’s Milwaukee and Franz Falk Brewing Co. you notice the evolution of the company name as well as the colorful and more detailed illustrations which reflect the growing, prosperous company in its later years. In 1877 Falk established one of Milwaukee’s first bottling facilities. Every bottle bore the Bavaria Brewery’s trademark: a falcon perched atop a mountain peak.
Falk later out-sourced this activity to A.Gunther who became the only bottler of Falk’s Milwaukee Export Lager. A look on the back side of the trade cards also shows the assumption of bottling duties by the A. Gunther company. The Gunther operated plant was located at 20 Grand Avenue, Wauwatosa and was in operation from approximately 1878-1884. Falk’s Milwaukee Bottled Beer, and Milwaukee Export Lager trade cards indicate the early adoption of shipping bottled beer allowed Falk’s to expand their market to Chicago, Kansas City, Denver, Mexico, New Orleans, Pittsburg, San Francisco St. Louis, and more. With the main storage vaults only about 20 yards from the rail siding, Falk’s fleet of rail cars leveraged their strategic location near the Chicago, Milwaukee and St. Paul Railroad, also operating out of the Menomonee Valley. Warranted to keep in any climate, Falk’s Export Beer was an award winning premium beer. Falk won domestic and international awards, including medals from the San Francisco Mechanics Institute Exhibition of 1880 and the Advance Austrailia International exhibition. Over the years of operation the brewery’s output climbed quickly while other breweries which ignored the idea of a national market were left behind, or failed.
On March 24th, 1882 Franz Falk opted to incorporate as the Franz Falk Brewing Company, proceeding with $400,000 of capital stock. Only a few months later, August of 1882, the death of their father Franz to a stroke required the elder brothers to take over the family business. After William Gerlach’s death in 1884 his estate would briefly run Gerlach’s malting business before Goes’ sons George W. and Fred E. Goes regained ownership the malt business in 1901. Frederick Goes died in 1894.
By 1886 the Falk operation was consuming 200,000 bushels of barley, 160,00 bushels hops, and 25,000 tons of ice annually. The facilities had added a carpenter shop, machine shop, and shipped beer extensively throughout the Union, the East Indies, Sandwich Islands, Mexico and South America. About 125 Falk agencies were in operation as of 1886 and roughly 25,000 barrels of beer where being bottled annually. The business also maintained an office in Milwaukee proper at the southwest corner of East Water and Mason, directly linked by telephone to the brewery. Falk’s beer held a reputation for purity and quality and their manner of conducting business was held in high regard. During the spring of 1886 the Milwaukee brewery workers and maltsters began to form the Local 7953 chapter of the Gambrinus Assembly of the Knights of Labor. The new union drafted a letter to the nine Milwaukee breweries demanding, among other things an eight hour work day, better pay and installation of the union in the breweries. Collectively the breweries, including Falk, penned a response proposing a 10 hour day, including over time pay after 10 hour, but lesser pay increases than requested. Additionally the brewers balked at the proposed union controlled hire of employees. By early May of 1886 most non-office brewery workers, except Falk’s, had walked out on strike idling all the major Milwaukee breweries. May 3, 1000 brewery workers marched to Falk convincing the workers it was their duty to strike, and they did, joining the others as well as the larger, city wide labor protests. By May 5 the Governor sent the State Militia to keep order over the growing protests, and they ended up firing on some protestors, killing six and wounding three. Collectively, the brewers then decided to concede on increases in pay, including an advance of 120 dollars per year for each worker. The advance sum of $162,000 was split among the brewers, based on their size. Falk’s share being $12,000. Thus we may confirm that Falk had just over 120 employees in 1886, including office executives.
In 1888 sons Otto and Herman joined the brewery, Otto becoming the general manager and Herman the Superintendent and brewery mechanic. A mechanical genius since childhood, Herman’s mechanical prowess would lead the Falk name down its future path. November 1st, 1888 the Franz Falk Brewing Company Limited merged with the Jung and Borchert brewery operated by Philipp Jung (a former Pabst brewmaster) and Ernst Borchert (a local maltster’s son). Together they formed the Falk, Jung and Borchert Brewery Corporation in 1889. Frank Falk fulfilled the duties of President, Phillip Young the Vice President and Superintendent of Brewing, Ernst Borchert as Treasurer, Louis Falk as Secretary, Otto Falk as Assistant Secretary and Herman the Assistant Superintendent.
The old Jung and Borchert brewery was converted to storage while all operations were consolidated into the Menomonee Valley location. After a large investment in new buildings and expansion up and down the hill, the new facilities were producing 120,000 barrels by 1888, with capability of 200,000 barrels. Closing in on Val Blatz’s position at third place in town seemed within reach when an extensive fire ravaged the brewery in July of 1889. Breaking out in the malt house, the fire consumed the bottling house and main brewery buildings. During the fire it was noted that Herman and Otto were seen rolling barrels out harms way to try and save some of their valued product. Holiday crowds at the neighboring beer gardens watched the blaze from the nearby bluffs. Ultimately only the stables and icehouse survived. Milwaukee’s Sentinel reported that the rebuild would include a new “fireproof” design and within a few months the brewery was back in operation.
Franz Falk commented at the time that “we haven’t lost a single customer since the fire”. The new improved site stretched further into the Menomonee valley. Within a years time production swelled to 200,000 barrels. Unfortunately, in 1892 another unexpected fire occurred, starting again in the malt house due to a overheated motor. The malt house was destroyed as were a large portion of the brew house, grain elevator, and refrigeration house. Pledging to rebuild again, the partners purchased raw beer from Pabst to finish and supply their customers. Captain Pabst, seeing the opportunity for an acquisition offered to buy out the beleaguered partners holdings for $1 and approximately $500,000 in Pabst Stock, including positions for the top executives. The acquisition attributed as one of the main factors in the increase of Pabst’s 180,000 barrel increase in sales in 1893, pushing their output over 1 million barrels for the first time.
Interestingly, Frank Falk’s duties from 1893 until his 1902 resignation from Pabst included Treasurer, management of Purchasing, Rents, City Bottled Beer Sales, General Finance, and Labor. The Falk family’s holdings of nearly 500 shares were purchased by semiannual payments of $11,500 from the time of Frank Falk’s retirement until 1910, plus a final lump-sum payment of $395,520 on January 1, 1911.
Louis and Otto Falk both accepted positions with Pabst as did Ernst Borchert. Phillip Jung went into the malting business, however after the three-year period of abstention specified in the sale contract of 1892 Jung returned to brewing, purchasing the Oberman plant and reorganizing as the Jung Brewing Company. By 1910 Jung grew to 100,000 barrels, ranking fifth in Milwaukee, never quite achieving the same earlier success of Falk, Jung and Borchert.
Herman Falk was not content with, or perhaps offered a position at Pabst and decided to start a new business. Striking out on his own, Herman rented a surplus wagon shop from Pabst to build wagon couplings. At first unsuccessful, despite patenting a new wagon brake, Herman eventually channeled his mechanical genius into the creation of a “foundry on wheels” to facilitate joining of trolley tracks with molten iron. Herman Falk’s inventive equipment eventually serviced over one third of the nations electric street railways. As entrepreneurial as his Father, it was his company that has now evolved into the Falk Corporation, which is still operating within sight of and includes a portion of the original Menomonee Valley Bavaria Brewery grounds.
Saturday’s ad is for La Bière Phénix, from maybe the 1940s or early 50s. From the late 1800s until the 1980s, poster art really came into its own, and in Europe a lot of really cool posters, many of them for breweries, were produced. I’ve been posting vintage European posters all last year and will continue to do so in 2020. This poster was created for Brasserie du Phénix, which was founded in 1886 in Marseille, which is located in the Bouches-du-Rhône area in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region of southern France. A brewery had been on the same site since 1821, and a new one was rebuilt in 1872, and 14 years later it was bought by a new owner, who called it the Brasserie et Malterie du Phénix. They later changed their name to the Brasserie de la Valentine, and today it is owned by the Heineken Group. I believe this version may be the original, because unlike the previous ones, there is no logo on the glass (There are at least two different Phénix logos I’ve seen used) and there’s no text on the tray (which is used on at least one version). Also, in the first image, it appears to be signed by an artist although unfortunately I still can’t make it out. In the image at the bottom, from an exhibition at the Musée Européen de la Bière, may also be the first version used as an ad or poster, since it also has no embellishments.
Today is the birthday of Gretchen Schmidhausler. She recently opened her own small brewery, Little Dog Brewing in Neptune City, New Jersey. I first met Gretchen, I believe, when she was brewing at Basil T’s Brewery & Italian Grill, where she brewed for over a dozen years, although she’s been in the industry longer than that. Gretchen also is a beer writer, and wrote the book Making Craft Beer at Home, which was published in 2014. Join me wishing Gretchen a very happy birthday.
[Note: photos purloined from Facebook and her brewery website.]
Friday’s ad is for La Bière Phénix, from maybe the 1940s or early 50s. From the late 1800s until the 1980s, poster art really came into its own, and in Europe a lot of really cool posters, many of them for breweries, were produced. I’ve been posting vintage European posters all last year and will continue to do so in 2020. This poster was created for Brasserie du Phénix, which was founded in 1886 in Marseille, which is located in the Bouches-du-Rhône area in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region of southern France. A brewery had been on the same site since 1821, and a new one was rebuilt in 1872, and 14 years later it was bought by a new owner, who called it the Brasserie et Malterie du Phénix. They later changed their name to the Brasserie de la Valentine, and today it is owned by the Heineken Group. This sign is yet another variation on the posters from the past two days, although the perspective is slightly altered, with the waiter looking to his left rather than staring straight ahead. I don’t know who the artist is who created this poster.
Today is the birthday of Henry J. Schreihart (August 7, 1876-August 7, 1931). He was the son of John Schreihart, and the grandson of Peter Schreihart, both of whom he founded with a partner, Frederick Pautz, bought the William Fricke Brewery, which had been founded in 1862. In 1879, John become soler proprietor, 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.
Here’s his obituary from the Manitowoc Herald News, Wednesday, August 5, 1931:
Former Head of Brewing Co. Here Passes – Illness Forced Retirement 14 Years Ago
Henry J. Schreihart, 55, lifelong resident of Manitowoc, former president of the Schreihart Brewing Co. founded by his father, the late John Schreihart, but who, for the past several years has been forced to live a retired life on account of illness, passed away at the family home, 1111 Marshall street, this morning. He was taken seriously ill last Friday and failed rapidly until the end came today.
Funeral services for the deceased will be held from the home on Saturday afternoon at 2:30 in charge of the Manitowoc lodge of Elks, of which Mr. Schreihart was a member. The Rev. Hood of the St. James church will be in charge and interment will be at Evergreen.
Mr. Schreihart was educated in the schools of the city and at the conclusion of his schooling entered the Hanthe Brewing school at Milwaukee. After completing his course there he returned to become brewmaster in the Schreihart brewery here, operated by his father, John Schreihart, a pioneer brewer in Manitowoc, and before that time in Germany.
When reorganization of the brewery was perfected in 1911, and John Schreihart retired from active head of the company, Henry Schreihart was elected president of the company, which position he filled until a merger was effected with other interests here, and the new company became the Manitowoc Products Co. Mr. Schreihart continued with that company in an official capacity until failing health fourteen years ago forced his retirement.
Great Lover of Books
In late years Mr. Schreihart has been a great lover of books and took pride in his library at the home, where he spent many hours daily in reading. Just one month ago today his mother, Mrs. John Schreihart passed away and it is believed that the shock of her death brought about a sudden relapse in his condition that forced him to bed at the end of last week and brought about his death this morning.
Mr. Schreihart was married to Miss Hattie Hartwig of this city, on June 29, 1904 and she survives him with two sisters, Miss Helen of this city, and Mrs. Charles Kulnick of Berlin, Wis., and two brothers, Edward of this city and Dr. Adolph Schreihart of Chicago.
While not inclined to take part in public life the deceased was prevailed on by his constituents to represent the third ward on the county board of supervisors, serving for two years. In addition to the Elks the deceased was a member of the United Commercial Travelers. The remains have been removed to the home from the Pfeffer parlors, where they may be viewed up to the time of the funeral.
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 Allen Young (August 7, 1921-September 17, 2006). Young was the great-great-grandson of Charles Young, who co-founded Young’s brewery in 1831. “He joined the family firm in 1954 after serving as a fighter pilot and a merchant seaman. He became chairman and chief executive in 1962 when his father retired and reverted to executive chairman in 1999.”
Here’s his obituary, written by Roger Protz, from the Guardian in 2006.
John Young, who has died aged 85, will have a prominent place in the Brewers’ Hall of Fame, revered as the father of the “real ale revolution”, an iconoclast who believed in good traditional beer drunk in good traditional pubs. Young, chairman of Young’s of Wandsworth in south London for 44 years, steered the family brewery on a different course from the rest of the industry in the 1970s. It was a course that was derided at the time: however, it proved not only successful for Young’s but also encouraged other regional brewers to follow suit.
A spate of mergers in the 1960s had created six national brewers who attempted to transform the way beer was made by switching from cask ale to keg beer – filtered, pasteurised and artificially carbonated. Panic ensued as such brands as Watney’s Red Barrel, Worthington E and Whitbread Tankard rapidly dominated the market. Smaller regional brewers rushed to emulate the “Big Six”, as they were known.
In Wandsworth, John Young raised his standard above the Ram Brewery, on the oldest brewing site in Britain, and declared he would remain faithful to beer that matured naturally in its cask. He was laughed to scorn by directors of other breweries. Among the legion of stories about him, one is told of a meeting of the Brewers’ Society in London where, during a break for coffee, one member saw a funeral hearse passing by outside. “There goes another of your customers, John,” he told Young, to roars of laughter from his colleagues. John Young had the last laugh.
He was born in Winchester, the eldest of four sons of William Allen Young. The family was steeped in brewing. John was the great-great-grandson of Charles Allen Young, one of two businessmen who took over the 16th-century Ram Brewery in 1831. John’s mother was Joan Barrow Simonds, a member of the family that owned Simonds Brewery in Reading.
But John’s first love was sailing: he was educated at the Nautical College in Pangbourne. Sailing holidays in the late 1930s on the river Orwell in Suffolk brought John and his brothers into contact with Arthur Ransome at Pin Mill, the setting for We Didn’t Mean to Go to Sea. Ransome claimed that he, rather than the brothers’ father, introduced the boys to the pleasures of beer and darts.
Either side of the second world war, John went to Corpus Christi College, Cambridge, where he graduated with an honours degree in economics. During the war he served with distinction as a fighter pilot on aircraft carriers. He left the Fleet Air Arm as a lieutenant commander in 1947 and launched a career in shipping. For a while he was based in Antwerp, where he met his Belgian wife Yvonne. They married in 1951 and settled in West Sussex, from where John, with his brothers, was summoned to work at the Ram Brewery in 1954.
He succeeded his father as chairman in 1962 and set about refashioning the company to meet the challenges of the time. Improving the pub estate and offering children’s rooms – a daring move at the time – did not mean a move away from traditional values. The brewery retained a fierce commitment to cask beer and delivered it to local pubs by horse-drawn drays, while a live ram mascot, along with ducks and geese, were familiar if bizarre sights at Wandsworth.
The energetic new chairman visited every pub in his estate. He was on first name terms with his landlords and became friendly with regular customers. Company annual general meetings became lavish affairs where a white-suited John Young would proclaim his belief in traditional brewing values. He was so horrified by the way some London pubs were being remodeled in the 1970s – as wild west saloons or sputniks – that he once threatened to enter one pub armed with a packet of soap flakes to throw into a large fountain that had been installed there.
The commitment to cask beer paid off. Sales of Young’s ales rocketed and their success was instrumental in helping the Campaign for Real Ale to make its mark in the early 1970s. In 1975 John Young was made a CBE to mark his work in brewing and for charity: he was chairman of the National Hospital for Nervous Diseases in Bloomsbury and raised millions of pounds to build new wards and install modern equipment.
His passion for brewing remained unabated, and John continued to work and chair company AGMs up to this year, though he was visibly ill with cancer. His last few months in office were dogged by controversy: a redevelopment scheme in Wandsworth meant the brewery had to close. When a suitable alternative site could not be found in London, Young’s agreed to merge its brewing operations with Charles Wells of Bedford, a move that has not pleased all lovers of Young’s distinctive beers.
But 200 Young’s pubs will remain in London and the south-east, bricks and mortar reminders of the man who guided their fortunes with undiminished fervour for more than 40 years.
He is survived by a son, James, who is deputy chairman of Young’s, and a daughter, Ilse.
A portrait of John Young that used to be in the brewery tasting room.
And here’s another obit, this one from the Telegraph:
The brewing industry is mourning the loss of one of its most passionate and colourful characters, Young & Co’s chairman, John Young. He died at the age of 85 after a long battle against cancer. The timing is particularly poignant as Young’s will this week cease production at the historic Ram Brewery in Wandsworth, south London, where ales were first brewed in 1581.
Mr Young – known affectionately as Mr John by staff – was a staunch opponent of red tape. Last year, he complained in the annual report: “At the brewery, we can no longer walk down the yard to the offices because of health and safety regulations. Our horses need passports. Since they cannot fit into a photo-booth, a vet must be employed to sketch the animal.”
Mr Young will also be remembered for his eccentric annual shareholder meetings. In what became a tradition as he fended off attempts at reform by activist shareholder Guinness Peat Group, he started bringing props to the event.
One year, he wore a bee-keeper’s hat to show his resolve to keep the group’s preferential B shares for family members. On other occasions, he brandished a megaphone to make sure “certain people, who seemed to be ignoring what I have to say” could hear him, and sported oversized boxing gloves.
Today is the 40th birthday — the Big 4-O — of Patrick Rue, founder of The Bruery in Orange County, California. I first became aware of Patrick when he started writing his blog about the travails of opening a brewery. We began corresponding, becoming friends and eventually meeting in person. I’ve since written several articles about Patrick and the Bruery as he’s become very successful in a very short period of time. Join me in wishing Patrick a very happy birthday.
Patrick with then assistant brewer Travis Smith (who recently opened his own place, Societe Brewing) at GABF in 2009.
Today is the birthday of Nicholas Fitzgerald (August 7, 1829-August 17, 1908). He “was an Australian politician, a member of the Victorian Legislative Council from 1864 until 1908,” and co-founded the Castlemaine Brewery, along with his brother Edward Fitzgerald.
Born in Galway, Ireland to Francis Fitzgerald and Eleanor Joyes, Fitzgerald attended Trinity College, Dublin from 1845 until he entered King’s Inns in 1848 and Queen’s College, Galway in 1849. After travelling in Ceylon and India he moved to Victoria in 1859 and established a family brewery at Castlemaine with his brother Edward. The business had soon expanded and Fitzgerald owned property in New South Wales and Queensland. He was a member of the Victorian Legislative Council for North Western Province from 1864 to 1882 and for North Central Province 1882 to 1904, Southern Province June 1904. until his death on 17 August 1908. He also represented Victoria at the Federal Convention in Sydney in 1891 and the Colonial Conference of 1894 in Ottawa where he represented both Victoria and Tasmania. In 1863 he had married Marianne O’Shanassy, with whom he had seven sons. Fitzgerald died at St Kilda on 17 August 1908.
His brother Edward started the brewery, and Nicholas emigrated to Australia in 1859 and joined him in the brewery business. By 1871 the name Castlemaine Brewery had been adopted, in 1875 the brothers opened a brewery in South Melbourne, and in 1885 the enterprise was turned into a public company. Breweries were opened right across the country and the brothers were involved in the establishment of the Castlemaine Perkins brewery in Brisbane which is home of the XXXX brand and is still brewing to this day.”
And this short history is from the Castlemaine Perkins Wikipedia page:
In 1877, brothers Nicholas Fitzgerald and Edward Fitzgerald bought the site of a failing distillery and created a brewery, which they named after an existing brewery that they owned in Castlemaine, Victoria in the Victorian goldfields. They began to brew beer there in the following year and the brewery continues production to this day. The first beverage was called XXX Sparkling Ale.
In 1866, Patrick Perkins started the Perkins Brewery in Toowoomba. In 1872, he later extended his operations to Brisbane with the purchase of the City Brewery in 1872.
The company restricted its operations entirely to brewing by 1916. XXXX was introduced with new advertising campaign in 1924 after the brewery employed German brewer, Alhois William Leitner. The advertising included a depiction of a little man wearing a suit with a smile, a wink and a boater hat. The so-called ‘Fourex Man’ soon became one of the most recognised symbols in Queensland.
In 1928 (long after the death of Patrick Perkins in 1901), the Perkins brewing company was bought by the Castlemaine Brewery with new company being known as Castlemaine Perkins Limited.
Castlemaine Perkins was acquired in 1992 by drinks conglomerate Lion Nathan.
The Castlemaine or Milton Brewery was established at Milton, Brisbane, in 1878 by Fitzgerald Quinlan & Co. The brothers Nicholas and Edward Fitzgerald had established brewing interests at Castlemaine in Victoria, and then in Adelaide, Perth, Sydney and Newcastle. In Brisbane, Quinlan Gray & Co. had taken over the interests of the Milton Distillery that was established on the site at Milton in 1870. The first brew by the new Milton Brewery was called Castlemaine XXX Sparkling Ale and was made to the same formula as the beer brewed by Castlemaine Brewery in Victoria. (Information taken from: Public Affairs Department, Castlemaine Perkins Limited, comp., History of the Castlemaine Perkins Brewery, 1877 – 1993, 1993).
This drawing of the brewery depicts some laden wagons in the street in front of the three-storey building. A worker stands alongside. The signage reads: Castlemaine Brewery, Fitzgerald, Quinlan & Co.
Today is the 47th birthday of beer writer Tara Nurin. She’s originally from Annapolis, but now calls Camden, New Jersey her home, where she writes for Forbes, USA Today, Food & Wine, Wine Enthusiast, VinePair, and many others. She’s currently working on a book about the history of women in beer, tentatively titled “Don’t Worry, Darling, You Didn’t Burn the Beer,” which comes from an infamous 1952 Schlitz beer ad. It’s due in Spring of next year (no pressure). She also founded Beer for Babes (f.k.a. Barley’s Angels New Jersey). I don’t remember when I first met Tara, possibly at a North American Guild of Beer Writer events, but she’s been a great addition to the beer writer’s cadre, and earlier this year I worked with Tara on her media panel for the Craft Brewers Conference. Join me in wishing Tara a very happy birthday.
NOTE: All photos purloined from Facebook.