Sunday’s ad is for the Munich Oktoberfest, from 1967. From the late 1800s until the 1970s, poster art really came into its own, and in Europe a lot of really cool posters, many of them for breweries, were produced. This poster is for the Munich Oktoberfest, which began September 21 and runs through October 6. So from now until then I figured I’d post posters from the German folk festival. From what I can tell, official Oktoberfest posters started being produced each year beginning in 1952. The poster was created by German artist Ernst Strom, who also created Oktoberfest posters in 1957 and 1958.
Today is the birthday of John Wieland (October 6, 1829-January 3, 1885). He was born in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, and emigrated to the U.S. when he was twenty, in 1849, eventually settling in the San Francisco area of California. In 1855, he founded (or bought into) the Philadelphia Brewery in San Francisco. After his death in 1885, the name was changed in 1887 to the John Wieland Brewery. In 1890, it became part of a ten-brewery British syndicate, and remained open until prohibition. It reopened in 1934, but closed for good the same year.
This obituary is from the Daily Alta California, January 3, 1885:
Founder of Philadelpha Brewery, Descended from one of oldest families in Wurtemberg, Germany. His father, John David Wieland was born in Wurtemberg in 1751 and married to Regina Hahn.
John Wieland went to school to age 13 and then worked in the vineyards. On 3/26/1849 he set sail to the United States, landing in New York and going directly to Philadelphia where he was apprenticed as a baker. In 1850, after hearing tales of gold in California, he sailed around Cape Horn on a 165-day voyage and arrived in San Francisco in early 1851. He mined on the South Fork of the Yuba river and Canon creek with great success and purchased a claim on Twist Flat, sold it and then returned to San Francisco as a baker at Union Bakery- later owning it. He married Sophia Fredrica Dorthea Schulthiess (native of Wurtemburg) in November 1853 and had eleven children. (Nine of them were surviving as of 1892). Tragically, on January 3, 1895, he and his 17-year-old daughter, Bertha, were killed in an accident when he brought a candle too close to oil stored in the basement and it exploded. His son Albert was also badly burnt and his son Hermann had severe burns on his right hand.
This obituary is from “The Bay of San Francisco,” published in 1892:
JOHN WIELAND, deceased, whose name was so well and favorably known as one of San Francisco’s most progressive business men, was the founder and proprietor of the Philadelphia Brewery, which grew from a small beginning to be one of the leading industries of the city. Mr. Wieland was descended from one of the oldest families of Wurtemberg, Germany. His father, John David Wieland, was born in the home of his ancestors in 1791, and followed the business of a wine grower and also did some farming. During his life he was a gallant soldier, and in recognition of his bravery he was decorated. He married Regina Hahn. Their son, John Wieland, was born October 6, 1829 in Wurtemberg, and attended school until he was thirteen years of age, when he went to Constadt and worked on farms and in vineyards. After seven pears [years] spent in this way he determined to go to American, and March 26, 1849, he bade farewell to his native land and set sail for the New World. After landing in New York he went direct to Philadelphia and apprenticed himself as a baker. In 1850 the stories of the gold discoveries of California reached the East, and he determined to see all that the United States could offer. He sailed from the port of New York on board the ship Botner, went around the Horn, and arrived in San Francisco early in 1851, after a voyage of 165 days. He at once went to work at his trade, but attracted by the gold mining reports he went to the south fork of the Yuba river and mined on Canon creek, meeting with great success. Later he purchased a claim on Twist Flat and continued there until the close of 1851, when the sold out and returned to San Francisco. For two months he was employed at the Union Bakery, and then bought an interest in the business, and in six months was the owner of the whole establishment. The following year he formed a partnership, the firm being known as John Wieland & Co., and this existed until 1855. When this relationship ceased he determined to embark in the business in which he was successful up to the time of his death. He first purchased an interest in the business of August Hoelscher; they were very prosperous, and in 1867 he purchased the interest of his partner, paying therefor the sum of $100,000. He continued to make improvements and to extend his patronage until the establishment became one of the great enterprises in the commerce of the city.
Mr. Wieland was married in November 1853, to Miss Sophia Frederica Dorothea Schulthiess, a native of Wurtemberg, and the union was blessed with eleven children; nine of whom still survive; three of the sons were associated with the father in business and rendered him valuable assistance. Mr. Wieland was a member of the Turn Verein, having joined in 1854; for a short time he was Treasurer of the society; he was a member of the San Francisco Schuetzen Verein. He was frequently urged to allow his name to be used as a candidate for public office, but he steadily declined the honor. Soon after his arrival in Philadelphia he made application for citizenship, and in 1853, in San Francisco, he accepted the obligations imposed upon an adopted citizen of the United States, and has ever been true to his vows.
On January 3, 1885, he met with a sad and painful accident, which resulted in his death on the following day. The cause of the disaster was a kerosene explosion, in which his son and daughter were badly burned, and in his efforts to save them he lost his own life. This affliction caused a deep gloom to settle over the city, and many sympathizing friends did all in human power for the bereaved and suffering family. Mr. Wieland was a kind and indulgent father and husband, and a stanch and trusted friend. Mrs. Wieland survived her husband until the year 1891, when she, too, passed to the other life. She was a women of unlimited generosity and of most gracious hospitality. The children are all natives of San Francisco, and are among her most worthy sons and daughters.
This account is from Bill Yenne’s “San Francisco Beer: A History of Brewing by the Bay:”
Saturday’s ad is for the Munich Oktoberfest, from 1966. From the late 1800s until the 1970s, poster art really came into its own, and in Europe a lot of really cool posters, many of them for breweries, were produced. This poster is for the Munich Oktoberfest, which began September 21 and runs through October 6. So from now until then I figured I’d post posters from the German folk festival. From what I can tell, official Oktoberfest posters started being produced each year beginning in 1952. The poster was created by German artist Roman Spiro, who also created Oktoberfest posters in 1968 and 1970.
Today is the birthday of Anthony Yoerg (October 5, 1816-July 5, 1896). He was born in Bavaria, was trained there as a brewer, and came to America when he was 29, settling first in Pittsburgh, then Illinois, before settling in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1848. In 1869, Anthony and his son built Minnesota’s first brewery, and began selling beer the following year, in 1870.
Here’s a short biography of Anthony Yoerg:
Anthony Yoerg, born in Bavaria in 1816, arrived in St. Paul in 1848. After a failed attempt at running a butcher shop, he and his son, Anthony Yoerg, Jr., began construction of Minnesota’s first brewery that winter near where Washington and Eagle once met (just bellow the current civic center parking lot). Their first beer was sold the following spring. In 1870 the Yoergs moved their operation across the river to Commercial (Ethel) & Ohio St. This new location was equipped with the latest in steam-powered equipment as well as five cellars excavated into the sandstone bluffs to serve as fermentation and storage holds for the popular lager beer.
Anthony Yoerg died July 5, 1896, leaving his family to operate the brewery as the Yoerg Brewing Co., which they did successfully even through Prohibition, when they produced soft drinks. Beer began flowing again after Repeal and the Yoerg Brewing Co. continued operation up until 1952.
The brewery buildings were eventually occupied by the Harris Plumbing Company. On September 26, 1958, the main building caught fire and was eventually razed.
This account is by Dave C. of the Minnesota Beer Activists:
Anthony Yoerg was “Minnesota’s first commercial brewer. Born in 1816, Yoerg was born in real beer country, Bavaria Germany. He was trained as a brewer in Bavaria and moved to the United States when he was 29. He jumped around the country a little before landing in St Paul in 1848.
By the following year, Yoerg was already up and brewing in the area behind the Eagle Street Grille where he could use the bluffs to store his beer in which it was famously referred to as “Cave-Aged”. By the time 1871 came around his beer was in such demand that the brewery was getting too cramped and he needed to relocate. Finding a new location was as simple as looking across the river.
The new brewery was built on the corner of St. Paul’s Ohio and Ethel streets. Here Yoerg had the perfect 47-degree climate for the storage and aging of the beer and more than enough room if needed for any future expansion of the brewery. Soon his new brewery was producing up to 50 barrels of beer a day and things were looking up for Yoerg and his crew.
By 1880 the brewery had entered “the modern age” and installed steam power. The work crew consisted of around 20 workers including the brewmaster Joseph Slappi… (I could make a joke here but I won’t). In the next decade the styles were expanded by offering Pilsner (of course), Lager and Culmbacher, (not exactly sure what style that is but Kulmbacher is currently a beer in Germany which is made in…Kulmbach). On a side note Yoerg had a slogan for their Royal Export beer and that was “The Queen of beers”…yeah I’m not sure what was going on in those caves but those guys spent way too much time together haha. Also, is this where Budweiser got the inspiration for their slogan?
Sadly, in July of 1896 Anthony Yoerg died. After which Yoerg’s five sons took over the business and continued on.
By far, the most and best information about Anthony Yoerg, the Yoerg Brewing Co., and the entire family, can be found at Yoerg’s Beer, a contemporary effort to bring back the Yoerg beer brand to Saint Paul. They also have a lot of history and images of all things Yoerg Beer.
Saint Paul has a rich and storied brewing history, and it all started with the opening of Minnesota’s first brewery in 1848; The Anthony Yoerg Brewing Company. Minnesota, and in particular Saint Paul, had one of the largest German populations in the country back then, and these immigrants brought with them the great art of brewing. The German technology was much more advanced than the British influences that were prevalent at the time, and Minnesota had all the required ingredients to brew great beer; terrific water sources and lots of farmland to grow barley and hops.
Anthony Yoerg was born into a brewing family on October 5th, 1816 in the Bavarian village of Gundelfingen. At 19 years of age, he immigrated to the United States and first settled in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania. Soon after he relocated to Galena Illinois and finally moved to a new Minnesota settlement on the Mississippi River called Saint Paul. For a very short time Anthony ran a butcher shop in a German neighborhood on the West Side but he quickly decided to change careers and opened a small brewery in the German ‘Uppertown’ neighborhood not far from today’s seven corners.
For 21 years Yoerg ran this little brewery with great success and Saint Paul was a becoming quite popular in the Midwest with up to 12 breweries operation at one time. But the Yoerg Brewery was the most revered of them all, and produced hearty, Bavarian styled beers that were the standard bearers of the state and the benchmark that every new Minnesota brewery would try to recreate. In 1871, Anthony built a great stone brewery across the river on Ohio Street on the West Side, just two blocks from Water Street. A mile of underground cooling caves were created and this new operation was a true, fully automated brewery that was the envy of breweries nationwide. Production was now up to 50 barrels of beer a day, and by 1881, they were producing over 20,000 barrels of beer a year. Ten years later and production has almost doubled with the brewery now producing over 35,000 barrels a year and they were one of the biggest breweries in the state (With Theodore Hamms and Jacob Schmidt far behind him).
Yoerg’s ‘Cave Aged’ beers were produced exclusively from Minnesota grown Barley and 100% Washington State Hops. The water source was a deep well dug on the Brewery property and the Yoerg’s had their own Bavarian cooper on staff that made and designed all their own oak cooperage. The bottling line was the finest available and the family was constantly upgrading their equipment. The Yoerg Lagers were produced utilizing the steam process, this meant that the beers were brewed at warm temperatures using lager yeasts, and the finished products were the richest and most lavish beers on the market. The family was also famous for hiring other German immigrants back then to work at the brewery (the entire staff were almost all Bavarian born).
Yoerg Brewery employees in the 1880s.
And here’s Yoerg’s obituary:
Today is the birthday of Karl Strauss (October 5, 1912-December 21, 2006). He “was a German-American brewer. He fled Nazi Germany in 1939, and went on to become a brewer, executive, and consultant in the American brewing industry. He received numerous awards during his career, which spanned both the large national brewery and the microbrew segments of the industry. Karl Strauss Brewing Company, which he helped found in 1989, continues to bear his name.”
I only met Karl one time (I think) in the latter half of the 1990s during my BevMo days. In 2006, my Karl Strauss rep. from that time sent me an e-mail letting me know that Karl has passed, and I wrote the following in the blog ten years ago. “Yesterday, Karl Strauss passed away in Milwaukee at age 94. Born in Germany, and a graduate of Weihenstephan, Strauss worked for Pabst for decades before retiring as a vice-president. In 1989, along with cousin Chris Cramer and Matt Rattner, Strauss founded the San Diego microbrewery that bears his name. It was San Diego’s first one and today the company operates a brewery and six brewpubs.”
Here’s the more thorough story from the brewery website:
Karl Strauss was destined to brew beer. Born in 1912 on the premises of his father’s brewery in Minden, Germany, he spent his childhood playing amid beer barrels and sacks of fresh hops and barley. At age 19, he left home for Bavaria, the brewing capital of Germany, to attend the Technical University of Munich-Weihenstephan. There he earned a degree in the science and practice of malting and brewing, as well as a Master Brewer certification. Given the political situation in 1930s Germany, Karl had to look abroad for work. In February of 1939, he boarded the SS Manhatten and set sail for America, in pursuit of opportunity. His job search led him to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, home to one of the most famous breweries in the United States.
Karl began his career at Pabst Brewing Company on the bottling line in May, 1939. But with his strong work ethic and educational background, he quickly worked his way up the brewing ranks. In the 1950s, he was part of the team that reformulated the recipe for Pabst’s Blue Ribbon beer. The improved version catapulted sales for the company, and PBR remains an American brewing icon to this day. In 1960, Karl became Vice President of Production, overseeing all brewing operations across the country. He held the position until he retired in 1983, after 44 years with the company.
Not content to rest after his retirement, Karl launched a new career as a brewery consultant, providing expert advice to breweries all over the world. In 1986, he was approached by his cousin Chris in San Diego about starting a microbrewery. Karl thought it was a great idea. He helped design the brewery, train the brewers, and create recipes for the first beers. He was so passionate about the project that he even lent his name, face and voice to the enterprise. Karl served as Master Brewer from 1989 to 2006, remaining involved in brewery operations until his passing.
Karl was very active in the brewing community throughout his life. He was president of the Master Brewers Association of the Americas (1961-1963) and founder and director of the Museum of Beer and Brewing in Milwaukee. He is the only person to have received the MBAA Award of Merit (1981), Award of Honor (1992), and the Distinguished Life Service Award (2003). Karl also believed it was important to pass on the techniques and traditions of his craft to young brewers. We created the Karl M. Strauss Brewers Education Fund in honor of his work.
Karl had a contagious enthusiasm that inspired everyone around him. He was driven by a belief that everyone should enjoy life, preferably with good friends and good beer. Over the course of his 70 plus years as a brewer, he brewed more than seven billion servings of beer, enough for everyone on the planet to have a Karl Strauss Beer.
Here’s much more, from Wikipedia:
He was born October 5, 1912, on the second floor of the administration building of the Feldschlösschen Bräu, a brewery in Minden, Germany, of which his father was president. The second born of two boys and a girl to Albrecht and Mathilde Strauss, he attended the Oberrealschule in Minden where he received his Abitur. During his young life he assisted his father as a brewer and intern while living in the family quarters at the brewery. At age 19, he went to the Technical University of Munich at Weihenstephan, where he received a degree in the science and practice of malting and brewing. In addition, he received Master Brewer certification, allowing him to teach apprentice brewers. With his diploma in hand, he began working at breweries including the Falkenkreuz Brauerei Lippert in Detmold, Westphalia; the Bauer Brauerei in Lübeck, Holstein; and the Altstädter Malzfabrik in Altstadt, Thuringia.
With the rise of the Nazis, Germany was not a safe place for the Jewish Strauss family, and work became scarce. “I graduated from college while Hitler was in power and as a Jew could not find employment in the brewing industry,” he wrote in 1943. Thanks to family living in the United States, he was able to secure sponsorship to emigrate. But other members of his family were not so lucky. The last time he saw his mother was the night he left Germany. She later was killed in a concentration camp. His brother was killed in a Nazi raid on the Polish underground.
Career in America
In 1939, Strauss left Germany for the United States, followed soon by his first wife, Irene Vollweiler. He had planned to join family members in San Francisco, California, but stopped in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, at the urging of an uncle to visit family friends. While there he applied for a job with the Pabst Brewing Company, which he intended to be temporary. “I arrived in Milwaukee on St. Patrick’s Day, 1939,” he later recalled. “I started to work at Pabst on May 11, 1939, and I worked for Pabst for 44 years.”
He began his work at Pabst feeding bottles to the bottle soaker. However, “once Pabst realized that it had a Bavarian brew master in its employ, Strauss quickly advanced.” Within a few months he was promoted to foreman of filtration. He continued to quickly move up the corporate ladder, becoming an assistant superintendent and later malt house superintendent. In 1942, he was transferred to Pabst’s brewery in Peoria, Illinois, as the plant production manager. Within a few years he was made head maltster in Milwaukee and was assistant superintendent of the malt house and brewhouse. In 1948, he was promoted to superintendent of Pabst’s newly purchased plant in Los Angeles, and remained there until 1956. He was named technical director of Pabst in 1958, and promoted to vice-president of production in 1960. He helped Pabst reformulate its beer, as well as create a new Pabst Blue Ribbon. He continued as vice-president until retiring from Pabst in 1983.
His first wife died in 1978. He married his second wife, Marjean Schaefer, in 1980.
In the 1980s, Strauss began a new career as a brewery consultant, providing services for both large breweries and microbreweries throughout the world. He had clients in Europe, Asia, and North America, including Molson, Tsingtao, The Boston Beer Company, and Goose Island Beer Company. He helped design more than 50 brewpubs and microbreweries.
In 1987, a cousin, Chris Cramer, and Cramer’s college roommate, Matt Rattner, asked Strauss to help them develop a brewpub in San Diego, California. Strauss not only designed the brewery and trained the brewers; he also formulated the original beer recipes and lent his name to the endeavor. Opening on February 2, 1989, Karl Strauss Brewing Company became the first brewery in San Diego in more than fifty years and is credited with having launched the craft brewing industry in San Diego. Strauss served as the brewmaster and corporate image of Karl Strauss Brewing Company. As corporate spokesman he made radio commercials in his thick German accent, always concluding “…or my name isn’t Karrrrl Strrrrrauss!”; on the technical side he was heavily involved in the design of the company’s new properties and brewing of new beers. He remained actively involved with the company until his death in Milwaukee on December 21, 2006, at the age of 94. He is buried at Mount Sinai Memorial Park in Los Angeles.
Strauss co-authored a book, The Practical Brewer, published by the Master Brewers Association of the Americas.
Strauss was president of the Master Brewers Association of the Americas from 1961–63. He is the only person to receive all three of the highest awards given by the association: the Award of Merit (1981), given to an individual or individuals who made an outstanding contribution to the brewing industry; the Award of Honor (1992), given to a member who has rendered outstanding service to the association; and the Distinguished Life Service Award (2003), which recognizes MBAA members who have given exceptional service to the association.
Karl was a founder and director of the Museum of Beer and Brewing in Milwaukee. The museum now presents an annual Karl Strauss Award to individuals for lifetime contributions to the industry.
In 2006, Karl Strauss Brewing Company set up the Karl Strauss Brewers Education Fund with the Jewish Community Foundation of San Diego. The fund provides financial educational support to aspiring southern California brewers pursuing a career in the field of brewing.
And finally, here’s a video celebrating what would have been Karl’s 100th birthday in 2012.
Friday’s ad is for the Munich Oktoberfest, from 1965. From the late 1800s until the 1970s, poster art really came into its own, and in Europe a lot of really cool posters, many of them for breweries, were produced. This poster is for the Munich Oktoberfest, which began September 21 and runs through October 6. So from now until then I figured I’d post posters from the German folk festival. From what I can tell, official Oktoberfest posters started being produced each year beginning in 1952. The poster was created by German artist Ernst Wild, who also created Oktoberfest posters in 1960, 1961, 1962 and 1963.
Today is the birthday of Jacob Gimlich (October 4, 1845-January 21, 1912). He was born in Weisenheim, Bavaria, but came to Massachusetts and bought the M. Benson Brewery of Pittsfield, with business partner John White, in 1868, only one year after it opened. They renamed it the unimaginative Jacob Gimlich & John White Brewery. In 1891, they changed its name to the Berkshire Brewing Association, and that remained its name until it closed due to prohibition in 1918 or 1919. “The brewery produced beers such as Greylock Ale, Mannheimer Lager, Lenox Half Stock Ale, Berkshire Lager, Berkshire Ale, and Superior Old Porter. In addition to beer, Mineral Water, Soda, and Malt Extracts were also produced. The brewery was a great success producing 75,000 barrels a year and distributed all over the northeast and as far south as the Carolinas.”
Here’s a history of Gimlich, from “Historic homes and institutions and genealogical and personal memoirs of Berkshire County, Massachusetts,” published in 1906:
Here’s a story of the brewery iBerkshires.com:
One can only wonder what John White and Jacob Gimlich would have thought as federal officers poured 15,000 gallons of locally crafted beer into the sewer on an early May morning in 1922.
Gimlich and his brother-in-law White had first purchased a small brewery on Columbus Street in 1868 from Michael Benson. First called simply “Jacob Gimlich & John White,” the business began at an output of just six barrels a day, but would grow to be a major manufacturer in the West Side Pittsfield neighborhood.
Both men had immigrated to the country from Germany in their youth, and both served tours in the Civil War. Gimlich worked briefly for the Taconic Woolen Mills before going into the beer business with his sister Rachel’s husband.
By 1880, operating as Gimlich, White & Co., the brewers erected a much larger facility in a five-story brick building measuring 40 by 80 feet. The expanded plant employed from 15 to 20 men and was shipping about 16,000 barrels a year.
Gimlich and White built houses directly across the road from their plant on John Street, and as their fortunes grew became increasingly prominent members of the community. Gimlich in particular became enmeshed in a variety of financial and civic affairs. From 1884-1885, he served as the city’s representative in the Legislature, and was one of the organizers and directors of City Savings Bank. Gimlich likewise served on the board of the Berkshire Loan and Trust Co. and of the Co-Operative Bank, was a past chancellor of the local lodge, Knights of Pythias, and member of the Grand Lodge of Massachusetts and of the local Sons of Veterans.
“Pittsfield has been pleased with the success of Gimlich & White and they are counted among the town’s leading, liberal, and most public spirited citizens,” states one Pittsfield Sun editorial of the time.
By the early 1890s the torch was being passed to the next generation, with sons David Gimlich along with Fred and George White taking on more leadership of the company when it reincorporated as Berkshire Brewing Association in 1892. An additional four-story building was added, with the brewing complex now taking up the full block along Columbus Avenue between Onota and John Street to Gilbert Avenue.
Among Berkshire Brewing’s most popular products were Mannheimer Lager Beer, Berkshire Pure Malt Extract, Lenox Half Stock Ale, and Berkshire Pale Ale, considered to be one of the finest India pale ales then on the market. The plant also churned out bottled mineral waters, ginger ale and other soft drinks.
The elder Gimlich and White passed away in 1912 and 1916, respectively, but the enterprise they founded continued to see steady growth. The only brewery of the kind within 50 miles of Pittsfield, Berkshire Brewing Association had something of a monopoly in the region, along with a thriving distribution throughout the east coast as far south as the Carolinas. At its peak, it employed 150 workers and put out 75,000 to 100,000 barrels worth of beer annually. Records indicate between 1910 and 1920, Berkshire Brewing Association paid $1 million in federal taxes, in addition to state and local taxes and fees, including $1,200 a year for a brewer’s license and $800 for an annual bottling license.
The company was not without its occasional hiccups, such as a lengthy strike in the fall of 1911 by the Pittsfield Brewers Union, culminating in the reinstatement of a dismissed employee.
Real crisis came at the end of the decade, as increasing restrictions on alcohol grew into total national prohibition. They first ceased brewing beer temporarily in December 1918, after a directive from the National Food Administration following the passage of the the Wartime Prohibition Act. Even after the passage of the Volstead Act the following fall, BBA voted to remain in business, focusing on bottled soft drinks while hoping the ban to be a brief legislative phase.
They also continued to brew beer, as did several major brewers throughout the country at first, seeing the government’s lack of resources tasked to enforce the rule. Finally in spring 1922, federal officers arrived to turn off the taps, disposing of 15,000 gallons worth and estimated $15,000 to $20,000 at the time.
Ironically, the company waited it out until nearly the end of the failed domestic policy, the board of directors voting to close down in January 1929.
The brewery building was dismantled soon after; for a time, the Siegel Furniture Co. operated out of the former bottling building, which later became the Warehouse Furniture Co. In 1975, this, too, was cleared as the land passed to the Pittsfield Housing Authority, which developed the Christopher Arms housing project that occupies the former site of the brewery today.
And here’s Gimlich’s obituary:
Thursday’s ad is for the Munich Oktoberfest, from 1964. From the late 1800s until the 1970s, poster art really came into its own, and in Europe a lot of really cool posters, many of them for breweries, were produced. This poster is for the Munich Oktoberfest, which began September 21 and runs through October 6. So from now until then I figured I’d post posters from the German folk festival. From what I can tell, official Oktoberfest posters started being produced each year beginning in 1952. The poster was created by a German artist who goes by the name Ott.
Today is the birthday of Fred Horix (October 3, 1843-1929+?). Horix was born in Hesse-Darmstadt, Germany, but came to America in 1868, eventually settling in Akron, Ohio. In 870, he and John Kirn formed the Fred Horix & John Kirn Brewery, and three years later he bought out Kirn, renaming it the Fred Horix Brewery. Unfortunately, the brewery closed in 1879. Horix then bought another brewery which he named the Frederick Horix Brewery, but a decade later he sold it to George J. Renner. He later became part-owner of the Akron Brewing Co., along with over 50 local saloonkeepers, and spent the remainder of his career as its Vice-President. Unfortunately, there’s not much biographical information I could find on Horix, not even his date of death or a photo.
After his first brewery closed, he bought another, as detailed in “Brewing Beer In The Buckeye State, Volume I” by Dr. Robert A. Musson:
At this point, [brewery owner Frederick] Oberholtz found himself $30,000 in debt to several parties, and he subsequently lost ownership of the plant. The brewery changed hands twice more while sitting idle, until September 1876, when it was purchased by John A. Kolp. He operated it briefly before defaulting on several loans himself. It was then sold at a sheriff’s auction in January 1879 to Fred Horix, for $8,334, or two-thirds of its appraised value. Oberholtz later moved to Kansas City for a time before returning to Akron, where he died of consumption in 1888.
Horix had successfully operated a small brewery on East Exchange St. for several years. When he took ownership of this plant, it consisted only of an icehouse, a small storage building, and the main brewhouse with a potential annual capacity of 20,000 barrels. Horix was immediately able to invest a significant amount of money into the plant, and brewing operations began again by mid-1879.
Just one year later, in August 1880, a second fire struck the plant. Beginning late at night in the boiler room, it quickly spread through the plant. Horix, who lived in a house next door to the plant, saw the fire and ran up the Forge Street hill in his nightclothes to the nearest firebox a half mile away. Despite a rapid response by the fire department, the top two floors of the plant were gutted, with a loss of nearly $12,000. This time, however, the plant was fully insured, and was quickly rebuilt.
Within several years, the plant had increased in size to seven buildings, and annual production had increased to nearly 7,000 barrels; the brewery was finally operating at a profit. In 1888, however, Horix chose to sell the plant for $45,000 to George J. Renner. The deed of transfer mentioned that while Renner would take ownership of the entire plant and house, Horix would retain his personal records, family furniture, and “a spotted horse called Dick”. Horix then spent a year in Germany before returning to Akron, where he was involved in several different business ventures before opening a delicatessen on South High St. After the turn of the century, he would return to the brewing business, becoming involved with the newly formed Akron Brewing Company.
And his final job was with the Akron Brewing Co., again told in “Brewing Beer In The Buckeye State, Volume I” by Dr. Robert A. Musson:
At the outset of the twentieth century, the predominant trend in the brewing industry was toward the formation of stock companies, many of which were operated by local saloon owners. The Akron Brewing Company began as one of these, when in October 1902, approximately fifty saloonkeepers from the Akron area banded together to create a new brewery in the city. Many of them had argued for years that the prices they had to pay for beer from the existing breweries were too high, which made it more difficult to realize a profit. Therefore, with the creation of their own company, they would have a guaranteed supply of beer at a reasonable cost. It was also assumed that many of the 250 saloons in Summit County would also patronize this new establishment.
The new company was incorporated in April 1903, with a capital stock of $200,000. The initial president was John Koerber, the owner of the Bank CafÈ in downtown Akron, and who had previously been involved with the formation of other brewery stock companies elsewhere before coming to Akron. Vice-president was Fred Horix, who had previously operated a small brewery on East Exchange Street, as well as what was now known as the Renner brewery on North Forge Street. A native Prussian, he had more experience with the brewing of beer than anyone else in the group, and was currently the operator of a small delicatessen and saloon on South High Street.
The company’s treasurer was John Lamparter, a local real estate dealer and owner of the Palace Drug Store. Secretary and general manager was F. Wm. Fuchs, the proprietor of the Buckeye Supply House, who had previously been an Akron agent for the L. Schlather Brewery of Cleveland. Other initial directors included John Backe, Ed Kearn, Christian Koch, Jacob Gayer, Adolph Kull, George Good, William Evans, Frank Selzer, William Carter, Sam Woodring, Ed Curran, and brothers Jacob, John, and Louis Dettling, all of whom were local businessmen or saloon owners.
Construction of a new modern brewery building, costing $150,000, began in September. The site was at 841-869 South High St., at the corner of Voris St., although High St. was renamed South Broadway in later years. This new plant, made primarily of steel, was considered to be fireproof and it contained storage cellars that were made of enameled steel. Eliminating wood from the storage vats meant no need for frequent varnishing, and the beer would never taste like wood. The plant’s five-story brewhouse initially had an annual capacity of 30,000 barrels, but it could be enlarged to 100,000 barrels if necessary.
The plant’s brewmaster was John Hau, and his first brew took place on February 24, 1904. Three months later, White Rock Export Beer made its debut in the Akron market. In addition to sales in many local saloons, the beer was also bottled and marketed heavily for home consumption, the latter being an emerging trend in the industry at the time. A decade later, Wurzburger Beer would make its appearance as an alternative to White Rock.
In 1906, Koerber sold his share in the company and was subsequently replaced by John Backe, another saloon owner. Koerber then moved to Ionia, Michigan, where he purchased and rebuilt a small local brewery that had recently burned. The rebuilding was successful, but when the county voted itself “dry” by local option in 1909, the business collapsed, and Koerber was ruined. He died of kidney disease just two years later. His family remained in the business, however, later operating the Koerber Brewing Co. in Toledo and two breweries in Michigan after Prohibition ended.
By 1911, Louis Dettling had become president of the brewery. With his brothers Jacob and John, Dettling was the proprietor of The Rathskeller, a prominent restaurant and tavern in downtown Akron. When Louis died in 1917, he was replaced as president by his brother Jacob. Also joining the company during this period was new master brewer Ernst Hafenbrack. He was replaced shortly thereafter by Walter Gruner, who would eventually become the company’s president in 1921 upon the death of Jacob Dettling.
In 1913 came the appearance of the Diamond Land and Improvement Co., a real estate development company owned by the brewery’s stockholders. It began as a management office for the 82 saloons in Akron that were owned by the brewery, although other non-saloon properties were later acquired by the company.
Despite indications that Prohibition was inevitable, the company undertook a major ex-pansion in late 1916, building a large new four-story brewhouse and expanding the cellars into the original brewhouse. This radically changed the appearance of the plant, as it lost a great deal of the original ornate architecture. Soon after this, the company’s capital stock was increased to $400,000.
When statewide Prohibition took effect in May 1919, the company reincorporated as the Akron Beverage and Cold Storage Co., with capital stock of $500,000. This would continue to produce White Rock Cereal Beverage, with less than 0.5% alcohol, as well as a new cereal beverage known as Tiro, which apparently met with disappointing sales, as it did not last for long. In addition, the original bottling house was converted into the new White Rock Dairy, producing a wide range of dairy products. Walter Gruner remained president of the company until 1923, when he was replaced by Fred W. Fuchs, son of F. Wm. Fuchs, one of the company’s original officers. Fred had begun working for the brewery in 1914 upon graduating from nearby Buchtel College, later known as the University of Akron.
Today is the birthday of Frederick D. Radeke (October 3, 1843-September 24, 1901). He was born in Oyle, Hanover, Germany, but came to America when he was 24, in 1867, settling in Kankakee, Illinois. He initially became a grocer, but when it burned down, he joined his brother-in-law in the brewery business he’d bought, and by 1873 it had been reorganized as the F. D. Radeke Brewing Co. It was closed by prohibition, reopened under a series of names after repeal, but closed for good in 1937.
This obituary is from “The Kankakee Daily-Journal,” dated November 29, 2016.
Frederick Radeke moved to Kankakee in 1867. The previous year his sister, Margaret Radeke Beckman and her husband, Fredrick, bought the Riverside Brewery. Radeke quickly became involved in the local business community.
Within a year, he had purchased a grocery store on Court Street, opened a billiards parlor and set up a bottling works to produce ginger ale and carbonated water. Shortly after fire destroyed both his store and billiards parlor in 1870, Radeke joined Beckman in the brewery operation. In 1873, the Riverside Brewery was reorganized and renamed as the F.D. Radeke Brewing Company.
During the first two decades of the 20th century, the brewery was highly successful. In the year 1913, for example, a workforce of 125 people produced 40,000 barrels of beer, and the bottling department filled and capped 30,000 bottles per day. Radeke brewed bottles of beer with names such as Wiener Export and Royal Pale. F.D. Radeke Brewing Company advertised itself as “Brewers and Bottlers of High Grades of Beer.”
On Jan. 1, 1920, brewing of Radeke beer came to a halt because of the Volstead Act. After Prohibition the brewery reverted from root beer back to regular beer, but never recovered from the years of Prohibition and eventually closed in 1936.
And here’s another obituary, this one from the American Brewers’ Review:
This history of the brewery is from “100 Years of Brewing.”