Today is Pete Reid’s 59th birthday. Pete was the publisher of Modern Brewery Age. I first met Pete a number of years ago at a Craft Brewers Conference but finally got to know him much better during a trip to Bavaria a few years back, where the two of us took a side trip to Salzburg to visit the Austrian Trumer Brauerei. I think he may be retired or at least shut down MBA, as the domain name is no longer active, plus I haven’t seen him at beer events lately, either. Still, join me in wishing Pete a very happy birthday.
Today is the 43rd birthday of Jason Petros, who is part of The Brewing Network, and co-host on the Session, host of Dr. Homebrew, plus he inexplicably has a podcast about Disneyland called EarzUp Podcast. He really likes the happiest place on earth. He even has a side business, covears, selling colorful covers for your mouse ears. Oh, and he’s the social media director for the Brewing Network, not to mention an avid homebrewer, of course. Join me in wishing Jason a very happy birthday.
This is an interesting piece of history. This piece, sponsored by a trade group of brewers, though I’m not sure which one, whether a national organization or a more local one, something like a New York Brewers Association. It was published today, September 22, 1918, in the time before the passage of Prohibition, in an attempt to persuade citizens not to support the prohibitionists’ agenda and also that brewers were patriotic as World War was beginning. Unfortunately, it didn’t work.
And here’s the article transcribed.
The press has in the past few days given much space to the fact that certain American brewers loaned the sum of $375,000 to Mr. Arthur Brisbane, which sum he used in the purchase of the Washington Times.
In many publications referring to this matter the word “German” is applied to the word “brewer,” and there is continued and persistent effort to create in the minds of the readers the impression that the brewers are as a class unpatriotic. An attempt to create and foster this impression is to give birth to and nourish what is a malicious and cowardly lie!
MORE THAN NINETY-FIVE PER CENT OF ALL THE BREWERS IN THE UNITED STATES ARE AMERICAN BORN. AND IN A VERY LARGE PORTION OF CASES THEIR PARENTS WERE AMERICAN BORN.
What money they have, has been made in American business and invested in America. Since the beginning of the war brewers have been among the largest purchasers of every Liberty Bond issue, the total of their subscriptions amounting to many millions of dollars. They have contributed in large amounts to the Red Cross and other war activities.
Brewers themselves are wearing uniforms of service and the sons and grandsons of brewers are fighting under the Stars and Stripes.
In the many acts of disloyalty discovered by the Department of Justice prior to and during the war, there is not one single instance where any brewer, directly or indirectly, has in any way been found guilty of any act which could be considered disloyal.
Much publicity has been given to the fact that before the war commenced brewers of the country contributed money to the German-American Alliance for the purpose of contesting Prohibition. Not one single dollar was ever paid to the German-American Alliance by any brewer after the declaration of war between Germany and our country, and this fact is well known to every man who has investigated this subject.
It has never been shown that any American brewer has contributed, directly or indirectly, to any dissemination of any unpatriotic propaganda!
A few days ago our President issued a proclamation forbidding the manufacture of beer after December 1st. Despite the fact that this order destroys a billion dollars’ worth of property, it has been accepted by the brewers without complaint, because they realize that in the judgment of our President such a ruling is necessary to the success of the war programme.
Are certain politicians, disappointed in their ambitions, and those who are opposed to the consumption of any beverage with the slightest trace of alcohol so powerful that they can use the horrors of this distressing war to heap odium and disgrace upon a class of citizens whose loyalty, measured by whatever standard, is one hundred per cent. American?
WE ARE NOT MAKING THIS APPEAR IN BEHALF OF OUR PROPERTY OR OUR PRODUCT, BUT AS AMERICAN CITIZENS APPEALING TO YOU TO HELP PROTECT THE GOOD NAME OF OURSELVES AND OUR FAMILIES.
That also seems like a silly question, but of course when the temperance movement was in full swing and prohibition might actually happen, it was a question people asked. And the brewers had an answer. This is an ad published in the Cattaraugus Republican on May 3, 1917. The small newspaper served the residents of and around Little Valley, New York, and I suspect the ad appeared in newspapers throughout the state since it was sponsored by the New York State Brewers’ Association.
Initially, brewers were not worried about prohibition because before the U.S. government imposed personal income taxes on all its citizens, a lot of its operating income came from excise taxes and the brewing industry contributed a sizable percentage of the U.S. budget. But once the 16th Amendment was ratified in 1913, and everybody began paying income tax, they understandably grew worried. Without their contributions to the government as a bulwark to prohibition, they felt it was much more likely that the prohibitionists could be successful and jumped into action with ads defending their industry and beer itself. It was too little, too late, and as we all know, the 18th Amendment was passed in 1919, just six years after the imposition of income taxes.
But I have to give them points for trying. This particular ad is Talk No. 10 and the bottom of it references that Talk No. 11 will appear the following week, suggesting a series and concerted effort to get their message out. You can find more like this one, both by the New York association and by other state guilds and they all share the theme of trying to persuade consumers not to support temperance efforts and portray beer as a wholesome drink for everyone. Some of their arguments, naturally are better than others, with a few almost laughably thin. But this one I especially like as it just sings the praises of everyday beer drinking. Who could argue with that?
Why Do People Drink Beer?
The reason most people drink beer is because it tastes good. The reason they go on drinking beer is because it continues to do them good.
Beer is an ideal beverage. It quenches the thirst, gives nutriment to the body, and cheers up the spirits.
It is a wholesome food. The term “food” includes anything, either solid or liquid, that restores the waste tissues of the body or supplies heat and energy. The food contents of beer are all wholesome and nutritious. Besides being a food it is a beverage; that is, it not only sustains the body, but it satisfies thirst.
It contains just enough alcohol to refresh the system, sharpen the appetite and produce a general feeling of well being.
Beer is pleasing to all the senses. It is good to look at, its aroma is attractive, its taste is snappy and it is ideally adapted to gratify the cravings of the human body.
Centuries of use have established beer as the ideal drink, giving the maximum of pleasure.
Today is also the 45th birthday of Chris Rice, who led a group that not too long ago bought All About Beer magazine. Chris had worked at the magazine for many a moon, and in fact I got to know him much better during a press junket to Belgium a few years ago when I learned, among other things, that he’s a shark card player. He’s also a former brewery owner, having co-founded the Carolina Brewery in 1995, shortly after graduating from UNC. Having gone back to school for an MBA, he joined the staff of All About Beer and a couple of years took over as president and publisher. Join me wishing Chris a very happy birthday.
For our 86th Session, our host is Heather Vandenengel, the Beer Hobo. For her topic, she’s chosen Beer Journalism, in other words using your words to write about writing … beer writing, that is. She writes. “It’s time for a session of navel-gazing: I’d like to turn a critical eye on how the media cover the beer industry. And, for a broad definition, I’ll define media as newspapers, magazines, websites, blogs, TV, books and radio.” Here’s what she’s looking for:
What role do beer writers play in the culture and growth of craft beer? Are we advocates, critics, or storytellers? What stories are not getting told and what ones would you like to never hear about again? What’s your beer media diet? i.e. what publications/blogs/sites do you read to learn about industry? Are all beer journalists subhumans? Is beer journalism a tepid affair and/or a moribund endeavor? And if so, what can be done about it?
In the spirit of tipping the hat when someone gets it right, please also share a piece of beer writing or media you love–it doesn’t have to be recent, and it could be an article, podcast, video, book or ebook–and explain a bit about what makes it great. I’ll include links to those articles as well in my roundup for easy access reading.
Here’s her instructions for participating:
- Write a blog and post it on or by Friday, April 4.
- Leave a comment [t]here with a link to your post.
- Check back on Monday, April 7 for a roundup of all the blog posts.
Saturday night at GABF, I was honored to be on a three-man panel talking about beer media, along with Daniel Bradford from All About Beer magazine, and Stan Hieronymus. We talked for about 40 minutes, although you can hear exactly how bad my voice was all week long, after losing it Wednesday night.
We had about a half-full studio, more than I’d expected for a Saturday night session, and a high percentage of the audience was other media personalities. It was great fun, we could easily have talked all night.
If you can’t see the video embedded here, try viewing it on Justin.TV.