Today is Pete Reid’s 54th birthday. Pete is 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. Join me in wishing Pete a very happy birthday.
This biography is from Find-a-Grave:
Businessman. He left Germany in 1848, and joined a group of German settlers in Brazil for three years before arriving in America. He landed in Buffalo, New York heading by way of the Erie Canal. The boat he was on docked in Detroit. So Stroh took it upon him self to venture into the city. He liked what he saw and decided to stay. With a few hundred left from the Brazilian business venture he started a small brewery at 57 Catherine Street in Detroit. Soon after establishing his German brewery local patrons in Detroit aquired a desired taste for his German lager beer. Bernhard Stroh would have his sons personally cart small kegs of beer to his customers by wheelbarrow. For over a century now, local Detroiters have enjoyed the same “fire-brewed” taste that the Stroh Family created over 150 years ago.
This is what Wikipedia has to say about Stroh’s early days through Julius Stroh’s tenure:
The Stroh family began brewing beer in a family-owned inn during the 18th century in Kirn, Germany. In 1849, during the German Revolution, Bernhard Stroh (1822-1882), who had learned the brewing trade from his father, emigrated to the United States. Bernhard Stroh established his brewery in Detroit in 1850 when he was 28 and immediately started producing Bohemian-style pilsner, which had been developed at the municipal brewery of Pilsen, Bohemia in 1842. In 1865, he purchased additional land and expanded his business and adopted the heraldic lion emblem from the Kyrburg Castle in Germany and named his operation the Lion’s Head Brewery. (The lion emblem is still visible in its advertising and product labels.)
Bernhard Stroh’s original beer selling operation consisted of a basement brewing operation and was then sold door-to-door in a wheelbarrow. The new beer (Stroh’s) sold door-to-door was a lighter-lager beer, brewed in copper kettles.
This short account about Bernhard is from the Entrepreneur Wiki:
The Stroh family has a long history of brewing beer, which first began in Germany. However, due to the German Revolution, in 1849, Bernhard Stroh moved the business to the United States after three years of living in Brazil. He started his company with a budget of $ 150.00.
Stroh selected Detroit, Michigan as the location for his brewery and settled there in 1850. Stroh was 28 years old at the time. The company was known for making a Pilsner (also known as Pilzen) style beer. Pilsner beers are fire-brewed and lighter than traditional beers. In 1855, the company increased in size, and then shortly thereafter became known as Lion’s Head Brewery. The company had been known as Stroh’s Brewery until this time.
The most popular beer sold, Stroh’s, was first peddled via wheelbarrow. The new beer was brewed in copper kettles to enrich the flavor. The company name was then changed to B. Stroh Brewing Company when Bernhard passed in 1882, and his son, Bernhard Junior, took over the business. In 1988, Forbes estimated that the Stroh family had an estimated worth of 700 million dollars. The brewing company stayed in the Stroh family until the year 2000.
Today is John Mallett’s 53rd birthday, John is the production manager at Bell’s Brewery in Kalamazoo, Michigan, a post he’s held since 2001. John has a great sense of humor and I recall a particularly side-splitting kvetching evening-long conversation with him and Fal Allen at CBC in San Diego a number of years ago (not the most recent one) and a couple of years we judged together in Japan, which was great fun. In addition, John also recently published the Brewers’ Publications book on Malt: A Practical Guide from Field to Brewhouse. Join me in wishing John a very happy birthday.
If you’d like to see John wearing lederhosen, click here.
Thursday’s ad is for Zynda’s Bock, from who knows when. John Zynda operated a brewery in Detroit, Michigan, at least until he closed in 1947. Before prohibition, his brewery was known as the White Eagle Brewery, but during prohibition he went underground, literally, and kept brewing beer under the name, John Zynda & Sons Brewery. Here’s a story about they kept making bee through prohibition, from Found Michigan:
Trouble was brewing for Michigan beer companies—big and small—in the spring of 1917, when Michigan jump-started the Prohibition era with its own statewide ban on alcohol nearly three years before the 18th Amendment made drinking a national taboo. Just a handful of Michigan brewers would survive through to the end of Prohibition in 1933, and those that did had to get creative. Several of the bigger companies began making and promoting the still-legal canned hopped malt syrup (the key ingredient needed for homebrewing); Stroh’s turned to making ice cream; and Detroit beer tycoon John Zynda even took his operation underground—literally. In order to avoid the cops, he dug a tunnel from his bottling shop to a garage across the street, rolling the beer to safety a half barrel at a time. When a shipment was ready, he’d then send an empty delivery van away as a decoy, while the real thing made its way off to customers in a car waiting the next block over. Detroit brewers like Zynda, however, had an even harder time making a go of it as of 1927. That year, Canada ended its partial Prohibition, and many Detroit beer makers found it hard to compete once a legal draft at a Windsor saloon was just a boat ride away.
After prohibition ended, and they were legal once again, their name changed to the Zynda Brewing Co. When they brewed Zynda’s Bock, is something I wasn’t able to answer, and although it looks like it’s from the late 1800s, I can’t say for sure.
Oskar Blues, makers of Dale’s Pale Ale and other canned beers, has announced acquisition of the Perrin Brewing Co. of Comstock Park, Michigan (near Grand Rapids). MLive is reporting the deal, and that as part of it, Keith Klopcic, who formerly worked with nearby West Side Beer Distributing, becomes the new president at Perrin Brewing Co., replacing founder and former brewery head Randy Perrin. According to the article, “financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.” I love this quote: “Other than that, it’s the same company,” said Klopcic. “Nothing changes.” Not to second guess the deal, especially since I don’t personally know the parties involved (apart from Dale Katechis from Oskar Blues), but saying nothing changes when a brewery head and (I presume) a founder leaves a company when it’s sold doesn’t strike me as a particularly honest assessment.
Dan Perrin and Jarred Sper will continue running the brewery alongside production manager and head brewer John Stewart and his team. Sper, who will be vice president of sales and marketing at Oskar Blues-owned Perrin, said the brewery is very excited by the acquisition deal.
According to MLive, here’s what Dale had to say:
In a statement, Oskar Blues founder Dale Katechis called the deal “a radical thing.”
“We at Oskar Blues love the Michigan craft beer scene and what the guys at Perrin are doing,” Katechis said. “We feel that Perrin and Oskar Blues have the same mindset toward the craft industry and this partnership will allow us to share information and innovative ideas with one another.”
In December, the breweries teamed up on a lager called “Cornlaboration” that was sold only in Michigan, a state in which Oskar Blues began distributing in 2013.
Until Oskar Blues’ canned beer sales outstripped their original brewpub, they were considered one of the country’s largest brewpubs, so it’s interesting to see them reach a point where they’re acquiring additional brands and another brewery.
There was a news item a few days ago that recently a fifth grade teacher in Michigan offered students non-alcoholic beer — O’Douls — as part of “a lesson on colonial times,” with the intention to “represent ale common in the 1700s and consumed because of the scarcity of clean water.” Sounds harmless enough. No students were forced to try it, but they had the opportunity to sample it if they wished to. What could go wrong?
What the teacher didn’t know is that apparently it’s actually illegal to give a minor in Michigan a non-alcoholic beer. The law was passed back in the 1950s, when people were even nuttier about alcohol than they are today, if that’s possible, but Michigan did pass a law making it illegal for minors to drink non-alcoholic beer. Here’s the entirety of the law:
THE MICHIGAN PENAL CODE (EXCERPT)
Act 328 of 1931
750.28 Cereal beverage with alcoholic content; furnishing to minors, penalty.
Any person who shall sell, give or furnish to a minor, except upon authority of and pursuant to a prescription of a duly licensed physician, any cereal beverage of any alcoholic content under the name of “near beer”, or “brew”, or “bru”, or any other name which is capable of conveying the impression to the purchaser that the beverage has an alcoholic content, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.
History: Add. 1957, Act 283, Eff. Sept. 27, 1957
How Kafkaesque. The state defines what non-alcoholic means then still makes it illegal even if it’s within their own definition, and if it’s 0.5% or below, Michigan state’s Liquor Control Commission doesn’t even regulate it. So alcohol in cough syrup. No problem. Non-alcoholic wine? Go for it. A cereal beverage? Heavens no. That’s going too far.
And perhaps more curious, the law can be read to suggest that what’s at issue is giving the “impression” that the drink has alcohol in it, not that it really does. Because it seems like you could create a non-alcoholic beer within the legal definition but call it something random, like “Barley Pop” or “Brown Cow” and not be in violation of this law if you gave some to your children. The name seems more important than the alcoholic content. Why would that be the case?
When I was a kid, the only reason near beer existed was for kids. No sane adult would drink it. My first taste of beer was from a can of near beer that my parents bought for me when I expressed interest in trying beer, which was the case for some of my friends, too. It was horrible. I think that may have been the point, I don’t know.
The Flint Journal reports that the school sent letters home to parents after they discovered the “incident” but according to school district Superintendent Ed Koledo. “Nobody complained to the teacher, principal or me,” or to the police, and no disciplinary measures were taken against the teacher. Despite nobody being upset in the least, you’d think a nuclear blast had gone off, the way they talk about it.
“We talked to the teacher and said this was an inappropriate choice,” Koledo said. “There were a lot better choices to represent a colonial-era drink than what was chosen here.”
Really, what would have been a better choice to represent what the vast majority of people drank during the colonial era? And he says “a lot of better choices.” A lot? Really? I can’t wait to see the list.
“I know there was no intent to expose anyone to harm, just poor thought in this situation.”
Seriously, “poor thought?” It’s non-alcoholic beer for chrissakes, and a few kids had a sip of it in a controlled environment, not a back alley clutching a paper bag. And it was a sip. What is a sip? A teaspoon? Half an ounce? Oh, the horror.
Linden schools are drug and alcohol-free zones and Koledo said he did not know if O’Doul’s beer would constitute a violation.
Again, are we really going to split hairs because it has 0.5% alcohol (or less) in it? So is cough medicine allowed on campus? I’m pretty sure caffeine can be considered a drug, so I hope they’re going to remove the coffee maker from the teacher’s lounge. Up until the 1970s, schools in Belgium served students table beer every day.
So how exactly did this end up being a news story?
- Arbor Brewing
- Arcadia Brewing
- Atwater Block Brewery
- Bastone Brewery
- B.O.B.’s House of Brews
- Bell’s Brewing
- Big Buck Brewery
- Big Rapids Brewing
- Big Rock Chophouse
- Bilbo’s Brewing
- Black Lotus Brewing
- Blue Cow Cafe
- Blue Tractor Brewing
- Bo’s Brewery
- BraVo! Restaurant & Cafe
- Brewery Vivant
- Chelsea Alehouse
- CJ’s Brewing
- Copper Canyon Brewery
- The Corner Brewery
- Dark Horse Brewing
- Detroit Beer Co.
- Dragonmead Microbrew
- Fenton Brewery
- Fletcher Street Brewing
- Fort Street Brewery
- Founder’s Brewing
- Frankenmuth Brewery
- Frog Island Brewing
- Grand Rapids Brewing
- Great Baraboo Brewing
- Greenbush Brewing
- Grizzly Peak Brewing
- Harper’s restaurant and Brewpub
- Helmar Brewing
- Hereford & Hops Brewpub
- Hideout Brewing
- Hometown Cellars Brewery
- Jaden James Brewery
- Jamesport Brewing
- Jasper Rige Brewing
- Jolly Pumpkin Ales
- Kalamazoo Brewing
- Keweenaw Brewing
- King Brewing [Closed]
- Kraftbrau Brewery
- Kuhnhenn Brewing
- Lake Superior Brewing
- Leelanau Brewing
- Liberty Street Brewing
- Lily’s Seafood & Brewery
- The Livery
- The Local Pub and Brewery
- Lumber Barons’ Charcoal Grill & Brewpub
- Mackinaw Brewing
- Marquette Harbor Brewery
- Michigan Brewing
- Michigan House Cafe & BrewPub
- Middle Villa Inn & Micro Brewery
- Midland Brewing
- Motor City Brewing
- Mountain Town Station
- Mount Pleasant Brewing
- New Holland Brewing
- North Peak Brewing
- Odd Sides Ales
- Old Boys’ Brewhouse
- Olde Peninsula Brewpub
- Old Hat Brewery & Grill
- Original Gravity Brewing
- Quay Street Brewing
- Red Jacket Brewing
- Redwood Lodge Brewery
- Right Brain Brewery
- Rochester Mills Beer
- Round Barn Brewery
- Royal Oak Brewery
- Sanford Lake Brewpub
- Saugatuck Brewing
- Schmohz Brewing
- Sherwood Brewing
- Short’s Brewing
- Sports Brew Pub
- Stoney Creek Brewing
- Sue’s Coffee House Brewery
- Sullivan’s Black Forest
- Tahquamenon Falls
- Traffic Jam & Snug
- Travelers Club
- Tri-City Brewing
- Walldorff Brewpub & Bistro
- Wiltse’s Brew-Pub
- Wolverine State Brewing
- Woodward Avenue Brewers
Michigan Brewery Guides
Guild: Michigan Brewers Guild
State Agency: Michigan Liquor Control Commission
- Capital: Lansing
- Largest Cities: Detroit, Grand Rapids, Warren, Flint, Sterling Heights
- Population: 9,938,444; 8th
- Area: 96,810 sq.mi., 11th
- Nickname: Wolverine State / Great Lakes State
- Statehood: 26th, January 26, 1837
- Alcohol Legalized: April 27, 1933
- Number of Breweries: 96
- Rank: 6th
- Beer Production: 6,5774,66
- Production Rank: 8th
- Beer Per Capita: 20.4 Gallons
- Bottles: 38.8%
- Cans: 48.1%
- Kegs: 12.8%
- Per Gallon: $0.20
- Per Case: $0.46
- Tax Per Barrel (24/12 Case): $6.30
- Draught Tax Per Barrel (in Kegs): $6.30
Economic Impact (2010):
- From Brewing: $242,599,259
- Direct Impact: $2,115,676,429
- Supplier Impact: $1,547,137,698
- Induced Economic Impact: $1,268,318,359
- Total Impact: $4,931,132,486
- Control State: No
- Sale Hours: On Premises: 7 a.m.–2 a.m. (Mon-Sat)
Noon-2 a.m. (Sunday) *sales may begin at 7 a.m. with special license extension
Off Premises: 7 a.m.–2 a.m. (Mon-Sat)
Noon-2 a.m. (Sunday) *sales may begin at 7 a.m. with special license extension
- Grocery Store Sales: Yes
- Notes: The Michigan Liquor Control Commission allows the sale of alcoholic beverages until 11:59 p.m. on December 24 and after 12:00 p.m. on December 25. On-premises sales are permitted on January 1 until 4:00 a.m. Local or county ordinance may restrict Sunday or Sunday morning sales.
Data complied, in part, from the Beer Institute’s Brewer’s Almanac 2010, Beer Serves America, the Brewers Association, Wikipedia and my World Factbook. If you see I’m missing a brewery link, please be so kind as to drop me a note or simply comment on this post. Thanks.
For the remaining states, see Brewing Links: United States.