Today is the birthday of filmmaker Anat Baron, whose Beer Wars movie started people writing and talking about the beer business, from all sorts of angles, ten years ago, and while it’s slowed down, the discussion has yet to have completely gone away. Or as Alan from A Good Beer Blog puts it, “joined to the long-standing discussion about the beer business and added an interesting interpretation.” Love it or loathe it, it has certainly managed to capture people’s attention, and if that’s all it’s done, that’s still a huge positive to my way of thinking. But it’s also opened quite a few minds to what those of us who’ve been embedded in the beer business have known forever, which is how the business operates, where it’s fair and unfair, and what you can do as a consumer to support the beers and breweries you love. Join me in wishing Anat a very happy birthday.
Today is the 46th birthday of Jim Crooks, who is currently the Master Blender at Firestone Walker Barrelworks in Buellton. But before that, Jim was the QC manager, and was one of the original brewers there when it was still SLO Brewing when Adam Firestone and David Walker bought the brewery. When I wrote an Innovator’s Series piece for Beer Connoisseur magazine on Matt Brynildson, naturally, Jim came up when re-telling the story of the transition:
But Matt and another SLO brewer, Jim Crooks, weren’t ready to give up quite so easily. What happened next is local legend. The bank didn’t lock the doors or turn off the power. Maybe it was an oversight, maybe not. So Brynildson and Crooks came in and kept making beer while the brewery was still in receivership, and continued filling orders. The idea, they thought, was to just hang on. They both loved the area and the brewery that they’d poured so much of themselves into. The pair hoped that if they kept it alive, that someone would come to the rescue, buy the brewery and give them both jobs. The gamble paid off and their harebrained idea actually worked. Both Matt and Jim Crooks continue to work there to this day, with Jim leading the Barrelworks production in Buellton.
I’ve run to Jim several times over the years, and since heading up Barrelworks in 2013, he’s been knocking it out of the park. Join me in wishing Jim a very happy birthday.
At the 2008 GABF, Eric and Lauren Salazar, both from New Belgium Brewing, sandwiched by Jim, and Chris Swersey, Competition Manager for GABF judging.
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.”
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.
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.
Today is the birthday of Joseph A. Straub (March 22, 1880-1948). He was the son of Peter Straub, who founded the Straub Brewery in St. Mary’s, Pennsylvania in 1872. After his father passed away, Joseph became brewmaster and general manager. The brewery is still owned and operated today by the Straub family.
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.
Today is the birthday of Anton Dreher Jr. (March 21, 1849-August 7, 1888). He was the son of Anton Dreher, “an Austrian brewer of the Dreher family.” He exported their pale lager, invented by his father all over the world.
This is his biography, translated from his German Wikipedia page:
After the death of his father in 1863, the Viennese lawyer and later mayor of Vienna, Cajetan, was the guardian of the district of the young Anton Dreher, and also directed the building enterprises to his majority.
Dreher took over the brewery in 1870 and extended it considerably. He also began exporting the lager to overseas. This also bore him the title “Viennese Braukaiser”.
In the mild winter of 1872/1873, Anton Dreher had a cooling problem: he had to bring the ice necessary for cooling from the Styria and from Galicia to the railroad, which caused high costs. That is why he encouraged Carl von Linde to build his refrigeration machine. In 1877, the first prototype of a refrigeration machine was put into operation at the Dreher Brewery in Trieste . Anton Dreher was thus the first beer brewer to introduce the artificial cellar cooling system.
In 1897 Anton Dreher had increased beer production to 740,000 hectoliters, doubling the sales volume of his father. The further increase in production in the subsequent years led to Dreher’sche Brewery becoming one of the largest breweries in the world. In 1905, the brewery was converted into Anton Roter’s brewery.
Anton Dreher was from 1884 Member of the Lower Austrian provincial parliament and from 1902, by Emperor Franz Joseph I appointed, a member of the mansion of the Imperial Council and President of the Central Union of Industrialists of Austria ( CVIÖ ).
After 1900, the brewery Mautner ( St. Marx ) and the brewery of his father-in-law, Meichl ( Simmering ), were able to win the competition for the Schwechat brewery . In 1913, the brewery Schwechat merged with the St. Marx brewery and also with the brewery Simmering to the United breweries Schwechat, St. Marx, Simmering – Dreher, Mautner, Meichl AG . During the First World War the brewery was drastically restricted, but not shut down.
And this is another translation, this one from the Austrian Biographical Dictionary:
Son of Anton Dreher the Elder.
After the early death of his father, a directorate under the superintendent of the later mayor of Vienna, Cajetan Felder, took over the management of the company and enlarged it by acquiring three other breweries.
After attending the Akademisches Gymnasium in Vienna, Dreher visited the Technical College and, from the day of his grandiaturity (March 21, 1870), to his father’s company. On 12 August 1870 he married in Simmering Katharina Meichl (14. 11. 1850 – 17. 2. 1937), the daughter of the owner of the brewery Simmering, Theodor Meichl.
Dreher extended the paternal enterprise and in 1892 he already employed 1000 workers. He owned 60 of his own railway wagons and also exported overseas. In the year 1891/92 the productions in Schwechat amounted to 550,000, in Steinbruch (Hungary) 400,000, in Micholoup (Bohemia) 40,000, and in Trieste 56,000 hectoliters of beer. His brewery had become the world’s largest.
After his three sons entered the company, he was converted into “Anton Drehers Brauerei AG”, a family-owned company. In 1913 the merger with the brewery Mautner Markhof was carried out to the “United breweries Schwechat, St. Marx, Simmering – Dreher Mautner, Meichl AG”.
Since 1884 Landtagsabgeordneter was Dreher 1902-18 also member of the Herrenhauses.
Dreher’s grandfather, Franz Anton Greher, bought the Brau-Klein-Schwechat brewery in 1796, and today it’s known as Brauerei Schwechat. According to the brewery website, “the brewery Schwechat became the largest of the European mainland and the “Klein Schwechaterlager” consignments went far beyond Austria’s borders. Among other things, Dreher purchased the Michelob brewery near Saaz in 1859, the Steinbruch brewery in Budapest in 1862, and the Trieste brewery in 1869.”
Here the official story of the brewery picks up when Anton Dreher Jr. take over:
After 1863 Anton Dreher sen. Dies, takes over 1870 Anton Dreher jun. (Born 1849), after the completion of the academic high school in Vienna, the management of the Brauereikon Group.
In the “ice-free winter” of 1872, ice needed for cooling, about 100 million kilograms, had to be taken from Poland by rail. These experiences prompted Anton Dreher to deal with artificial cooling and ice-making. Professor Carl von Linde was commissioned to design a cooling machine, which Dreher set up in Brauhaus Trieste in 1877 and then in Schwechat. Dreher was thus the first brewer to introduce the artificial cellar cooling system. This breakthrough invention is still essential today.
On June 4, 1883, Emperor Franz Josef visited the brewery for the second time and gave Anton Dreher jun. The Knights Cross of the Order of Franz Joseph. In 1897 Dreher received the Commander’s Cross, later the Grand Cross of this Order, and in 1902 the Order of the Iron Crown II Class.
1897 produced the brewery Schwechat under Anton Dreher jun. The huge volume of 739,639 hectoliters of beer, which was more than double since the takeover of the brewery by his father. In the following years, the “rotary” breweries with a total production of approximately 1.25 million hectoliters developed into the world’s largest brewery, managed by an owner. In 1905 the brewery was renamed “Anton Drehers Breweries Aktiengesellschaft”.
And this is the portion of the brewery’s Wikipedia page that discusses Anton Drehrer Jr.:
In 1837, his son, Anton Dreher, took over the company from his mother and inaugurated a new era in the brewery’s history. In 1839 he turned to Untergärung , which marked the beginning of the lager beer. The breakthrough was made by Dreher in 1841, when he realized that for his under-fermented beer, the “lager” or “Viennese type”, one thing was decisive: cooling. Dreher laid huge cellars and stored ice.
As a result, the brewery’s brewery expanded through the acquisition of existing breweries to the entire Austro-Hungarian monarchy . These included the brewery Michelob near Saaz, acquired in 1859, the brewery quarry (founded 1854) in Budapest, acquired in 1862, as well as the brewery of Trieste, acquired in 1869.
In 1848, Dreher introduced a steam machine to the Bierbrauen, he was supposed to be the first brewer in Austria. The steam engine is now exhibited at the Technical Museum in Vienna. The first cooling machine, which was also the second machine from Linde AG , was installed in the brewery in Trieste in 1877. After the death of Anton Dreher in 1863, his son Anton Dreher junior took over the company of the brewery Schwechat in 1870 and converted it in 1905 into the Anton Drehers brewery stock company . In the face of the beginning of the 20th century mutually growing competition with the brewery St. Marx of Adolf Ignaz Mautner of Markhof and the brewery Simmering of his father – in – law Meichl, the fusion of the three breweries to the United Breweries Schwechat, St. Marx, Simmering – Dreher, Mautner, Meichl AG took place in 1913 . Due to the high quality of the products, the company was awarded the title of a kuk chamber supplier.
Dreher around 1900.
Today is the birthday of Gabriel Sedlmayr (March 21, 1772-November 19, 1839). He is sometimes referred to as Gabriel Sedlmayr I or Gabriel Sedlmayr the Elder to avoid confusion with his arguably more historically important son, Gabriel Sedlmayr II. In 1807, Gabriel Sedlmayr the Elder acquired the Spaten brewery, when “at the time was the smallest brewery in Munich.” All his Find-a-Grave page says is “Beer brewer, brandy and vinegar manufacturer, bought the location and building of the later founded Spaten Brewery.”
This is his entry in the Oxford Encyclopedia of Beer, written by Ian Horsey:
Sedlmayr, Gabriel the Elder
[He] purchased a rather unremarkable brewery in Munich, in 1807. Nobody could have imagined then that this commonplace transaction, conducted by an erstwhile brewmaster to the Bavarian Royal Court, would herald the birth of one of the greatest brewing dynasties on earth, and help change the world of brewing forever. The brewery in question was Spaten, which had started life as a Munich brewpub in 1397. Between 1622 and 1704 it was owned by the Späth family, from which the brewery took its name of Spaten (the German word for “spade”). Subsequently, the brewery changed hands a few times, until it was acquired by the Siesmayr family, who sold it to Sedlmayr. The new owner’s brewing acumen was to serve the company well, and, coupled with his energy and enterprise, was to transform Spaten from virtual obscurity—ranking last in terms of malt consumption among Munich’s 52 brewers at the time—to a position of prominence, having become the third-largest brewery in Munich, after Hacker and Pschorr, by 1820. A decade later, Spaten beer was even respectable enough to be served in Munich’s world-renowned Hofbräuhaus, the 1589 former private, now public, watering hole of the Dukes of Wittelsbach, the ruling Bavarian Dynasty between 1180 and 1918. See wittelsbacher family. Much of Sedlmayr’s success stemmed from his readiness to embrace the new brewing technologies that were being developed in Europe in the course of the Industrial Revolution. It was under his stewardship, with direction from his son Gabriel the Younger, for instance, that Spaten experimented with new malting techniques in the 1830s. See sedlmayr, gabriel the younger. In the process, Spaten developed a highly aromatic, deep amber malt now known as Munich malt. The brewery used this malt as the foundation grist of a new lager style, the märzen, which it introduced in 1841. See märzenbier and munich malt. Gabriel Sedlmayr was fortunate in that he had two sons, Gabriel and Josef, who followed in his footsteps as gifted brewers. They assumed the Spaten reins upon Gabriel the Elder’s death in 1839, and immediately began to write their own part of brewing history by turning Spaten into Munich’s leading brewery by the end of the 19th century.
And here’s a part of a timeline from the Munich Beer Gardens website:
- 1397: A brewer named Hans Welser of the Welser Prew at Neuhausergasse 4 is recorded in the Munich tax records. Several ownership changes of the brewery occurred over the following 125 years.
- 1522: The Welser brewery is bought by the Starnberger family.
- 1622: The brewery is acquired by the Spatt family, who begin to produce a brew by the name Oberspathbräu, eventually changing the name to Spaten, which refers to the spade.
- 1704: The Sießmayr family takes over the brewery while retaining the Spaten brand name.
- 1807: The Königliche Hofbräumeister, the brewmaster for the royal court, Gabriel Sedlmayr acquires the Spaten brewery, which at the time was the smallest brewery in Munich.
- 1817: Spaten purchases the Filserbräukeller in Bayerstrasse, later to became known as the Spaten Keller.
- 1839: Following the death of Gabriel Sedlmayr, his sons Gabriel and Joseph take over the brewery business.
- 1842: Joseph Sedlmayr withdraws his partnership from Spaten Brauerei and buys the Leistbrauerei.
- 1851: Spaten purchases the current property location in Marsstrasse which includes the Silberbauer Keller. Many more acquisitions followed.
- 1854: The move of the entire brewery to Marsstrasse is completed.
- 1861: Joseph Sedlmayr buys the shares of August Deiglmayr, with whom he ran the Franziskaner Brauerei (Franziskaner Leistbräu) since 1858.
- 1867: Spaten Brauerei becomes the largest brewery in Munich and maintains its top position until 1890s. Spaten Brauerei receives a golden medal for their German beer at the World Exposition in Paris.
- 1874: Johann, Carl and Anton Sedlmayr takes the brewery over from their father Gabriel Sedlmayr.
- 1884: The artist Otto Hubb designs the Spaten logo with the familiar spade which symbolise a malt shovel and the initials GS in honor of the elder Gabriel Sedlmayr. A similar version of this logo is still in use today.
- 1891: Spaten Brauerei founded a branch in London selling the “Spaten Munich Lager” brand.
- 1894: Spaten becomes the first Munich brewery to brew lager in Pilsener style, the “Spaten Münchner Hell”, intended for sale in northern Germany.
- 1895: Spaten is the first brewery to introduce the Hell (lager) in Munich. Other Munich breweries follow their example.
- 1909: Spaten begins to export its beer to America on a regular basis.
A true brewing legend, who was treated like a rock star in Belgium where they care about their national beers, Pierre Celis would have been 94 today. Celis single-handedly revived the style witbier in the 1960s when he was a brewer at Hoegaarden. He later moved to Texas to start a microbrewery with his daughter Christine, which was sold to Miller in 1995. More recently, he was making three cave-aged beers under the label Grottenbier at St. Bernardus in Belgium. Unfortunately, Pierre passed away almost seven years ago in April. Pierre was a terrific person and his absence is still deeply felt. The last I heard, his daughter Christine was working on a great-sounding project that will honor her father’s memory and also produce some terrific beers, too. That project, originally was going to be called Flemish Fox Brewery, and was announced as being open, but it appears Christine instead opened a new Celis Brewery. Join me in drinking a toast to the memory of Pierre Celis.
Today is the birthday of Sampson Salter (March 21, 1692-April 6, 1778) who in the early 18th century operated one of the most popular breweries in Boston. Considering it was apparently so popular, there’s very little specific information about either Salter or his brewery. Most histories seem to only mention him in passing. For example, “Historic Taverns of Boston” by Gavin Nathan, says only this:
Today is the birthday of Frederick August Poth (March 20, 1841-January 21, 1905). Some accounts give his birth date as March 15, and others say the year was 1840. It’s hard to know which is correct, so I’m going with the account that appears to be the most reasonably accurate, one that was provided by his family. He was born in Walhaben, part of the Rheinpfalz region of what today is the Rhenish Palatinate or Palatinate in modern Germany. He came to American when he was 20, in 1861, started working in Philadelphia breweries and by 1870 had bought the Jacob Bentz Brewery, renaming it the Frederick A. Poth Brewery. When he later incorporated in 1893, and his sons were working with him, it became known as the F. A. Poth & Sons Brewery. It reopened after prohibition briefly as the Poth Brewing Co. Inc., but closed for good three years later, in 1936.
While not too surprising from the 19th century, I couldn’t find any photographs of him, and even many websites use the photo of his son, Frederick J. Poth,
His really short biography at Find-a-Grave consists of three sentences, one of them one word long.”Brewer. By 1875, F. A. Poth and Sons was the largest brewery in the US. Poth was also active in real estate.”
This lengthy biography is from the “Encyclopedia of Pennsylvania Biography,” published in 1921:
From a Poth family biography pamphlet: