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Historic Beer Birthday: Henry Rahr

Today is the birthday of Henry Rahr (December 24, 1834-April 14, 1891). He was born in Wesel, Germany, but came the U.S. in 1853, when he was 19. He worked in his uncle’s brewery in Manitowoc, and then opened his own brewery near Green Bay with a partner, August Hochgreve, which they called the Bellvue Brewery. They later had a falling out, and in 1866 Rahr left to start his own brewery in Green Bay, which was initially called the East Rivery Brewery. When he died in 1891, his sons continued the business, but renamed it the Henry Rahr Sons Co. Brewery, later shortening it to Rahr Brewing Co. It survived prohibition, and was known as the Rahr Green Bay Brewing Co. until closing for good in 1966.

History of Brown County, Wisconsin: Past and Present

Note: This biography gives his birth date as December 25, but a photo of his tombstone clearly shows it as December 24.

This short history of the brewery is from The Neville Public Museum:

One hundred fifty years ago, Henry Rahr established a brew house on the corner of Main Street and N. Irwin Avenue in Green Bay known as the East River Brewery. It would become the largest and most well-known historic brewery in Green Bay. Following the death of Henry Rahr in 1891 the business was passed to his sons Henry Jr. and Frederick and became Henry Rahr & Sons Co. Prior to Prohibition (pre 1920) Rahr’s was producing 60,000 barrels of beer per year. After Prohibition was repealed in 1933, the brewery was back in business and began pumping out “Standard,” “Special,” “Belgian” and “Old Imperial Pale Beer.” In 1966 the company was sold to Oshkosh Brewing Co. Exactly 100 years after opening, Rahr’s Brewery was shut down. The brewery buildings were demolished, leaving no trace behind except for Rahr’s merchandise, barrels, and bottles.

And this brewery history is from “Breweries of Wisconsin,” by Jerold W. Apps and Jerry Apps:

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