Friday’s ad is for Knickerbocker Beer, from 1954. This is number 2 in a series by the Jacob Ruppert Brewing Co. The second one shows when “Hudson Sights Manhattan,” illustrated by Lumen Martin Winter. It depicts a rather fanciful story of this event, with text by author Washington Irving.
Thursday’s ad is for Knickerbocker Beer, from 1954. This is number 1 in a series by the Jacob Ruppert Brewing Co. The first one shows the “Purchase Of The Island Of Manhattan,” illustrated by Lumen Martin Winter. It depicts a rather fanciful origin story for the Purchase of the Island of Manhattan, as told in the text.
Today is the birthday of William B. Ogden (June 15, 1805-August 3, 1877). Ogden’s biggest claim to fame is being the first mayor of the city of Chicago, elected in 1837. But he was also a businessman, and one of the businesses he was involved in was one of Chicago’s first breweries, Lill & Diversey.
Some sources say it was the very first brewery in Chicago, but either way, it was certainly one of the earliest. It was founded by William Lill, who was later joined by partner Michael Diversey
Here’s the brewery’s story from One Hundred Years of Brewing, published in 1901:
The immense brewing interests of Chicago had their origin in the persons of William Lill and William Haas. In September, 1839, William B. Ogden, who, two years previously, had been elected mayor of the city, established Mr. Lill in business at the corner of Pine street and Chicago avenue, Mr. Haas being the latter’s assistant. The “plant” was installed in a small tenement building and the first year’s brew was about 450 barrels.
After a few years Michael Diversey formed a partnership with Mr. Lill, when Mr. Ogden withdrew his silent interest in the business. Under the management of Lill & Diversey the so-called Chicago Brewery developed into one of the most extensive establishments of the kind in the west, occupying a portion of the original site, but then covering an entire block. For many years “Lill‘s Cream Ale” was one of the most famous brands in the country. Besides being known as good business men, Lill and Diversey were noted for their benevolence and generosity, the latter being a large benefactor to the German Catholic churches of Chicago.
In 1841, Michael Diversey and William Lill bought the first commercial brewery in Chicago (Haas & Sulzer Brewery) and changed the name to the Lill & Diversey Brewery, also known as the Chicago Brewery. The two men saw huge success and by 1861 were producing 45,000 barrels of beer a year and employing over 75 men. Famous for “Lill’s Cream Ale,” by 1866 the brewery had sprawled to over two acres and four stories high. The Water Tower Pumping Station, which still stands today, was put in directly across the street.
Serving two terms as a Chicago Alderman (1844-45; 1856-1868), Michael Diversey also donated a small plot of land where a Catholic church for fellow German immigrants was built. St. Michael’s was the tallest building in Chicago until 1885 when The Old Chicago Board of Trade building was completed. Known as a great city leader and keeping company with the likes of Joseph Sheffield and William Ogden, Michael Diversey was integral in bringing great growth to Chicago.
However, Diversey died in 1869, and Lill continued to run the brewery. Till the Great Fire of 1871 wiped it out and Lill lost everything. The brewery never re-opened and Lill passed away in 1875.
Most of Ogden’s biographies don’t even mention his affiliation with the brewery at all. See, for example his Wikipedia page, the WBEZ Chicago blog and the Encyclopedia of Chicago. His business with the brewery was apparently a pretty minor investment for him, and he was much more heavily involved in many other projects and businesses. Most accounts state that Ogden was a silent partner in the brewer. But in Gregg Smith’s “Beer In America: The Early Years—1587-1840,” he claims “that the mayor was very much involved in the business, and not just a silent partner: he wanted to ensure that the brewery’s hops came from New York’s Finger Lakes region.” Which makes some sense; Ogden was born in upstate New York.
A photo of Ogden later in life.
Today is the birthday of George Peter Allen Schmitt (June 14, 1833-May 4, 1897). He was born in Zell-in-der-Pflaz, Bavaria. Originally trained as a carpenter, he came to America when he was 19, in 1852, eventually shifting careers to importing wines. That proved successful enough that he partnered with Henry Elias to open the Central Park Brewery, and after changing partners a few times it became known as the Schmitt & Schwanenfluegel Brewery, which was in New York City, near Central Park at 1065 Avenue A, between 56th & 57th. Schmitt passed away in 1897, and his son, also George Schmitt, kept it going briefly, but he also died the following year, in 1898.
The brewery was originally known as the Henry Elias Brewery, who founded it near 15th Street & Broadway in 1855. Elias, in 1865, partnered with George Schmitt, and became known as Henry Elias & George Schmitt Brewery, a.k.a. the Central Park Brewery (and was readdressed to 1065 Avenue A, between 56th & 57th). In 1868, Schmitt partnered with Christian Koehne to keep it going and it became the Schmitt & Christian Koehne Brewery. Then in 1885, Koehne left and Louis Von Schwanenfluegel came to the business and it became known as Schmitt & Schwanenfluegel Brewery, which it remained until it closed in 1906. During that time it was also known as Consumers Park Brewing Co. and also Central Park Brewery.
Today is the birthday of Frank Leonard Eppig (June 4, 1864-February 11, 1923). He was born in Brooklyn, New York, and was the son of Leonard or Leonhard Eppig, who owned the Leonard Eppig Brewing Co., but traded under the name Germania Brewery. When his father died, his sons, including Frank as president, continued running the brewery until it was closed down by prohibition in 1920. Frank died in 1923, but the rest of the remaining family reopened the brewery after repeal, but in 1935 sold it to George Ehret Brewery.
I’ve been unablt to find any photos of Frank, or much information, but this is Eppig’s obituary from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle, for February 13, 1923:
Recently, a descendant of the Eppig family opened a craft brewery in San Diego, which they named Eppig Brewing, and included this infographic in their website:
Sunday’s ad is for Ruppert Beer, from 1947. The ad shows a farmer taking a nap while his horse looks on disapprovingly. But the tagline, “Some Things Can’t Be Hurried” isn’t about growing crops, but about brewing beer, which Ruppert apparently does not just slowly, but s-l-o-w-l-y. I may not be an expert in the philosophy of time, but I don’t think you can age something slowly. Time is linear, at least in practical terms, and moves at a fixed pace. It may sometimes seem to go slower or faster, but that’s just our perception of it.
Today is the 73rd birthday of Nick Matt, chairman and CEO of F.X. Matt Brewing in Utica, by the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York. The brewery was originally founded in 1888, and their main brand today is Saranac. Nick is an active member of the beer industry, and especially through the Brewers Association, and a big supporter of the community as a whole. Join me in wishing Nick a very happy birthday.
You’ve undoubtedly seen the photographs or men marching through the streets carrying signs that read “We Want Beer.” The parade, held on May 14, 1932, was organized by the city’s mayor, Jimmy Walker, and was originally called the Beer for Taxation march, although it quickly became known more popularly as the “We Want Beer!” parade. Mayor Walker was a flamboyant showman, but prohibition was also making life difficult for New Yorkers. The criminal element took over the sale and distribution of illegal alcohol and something like 400 murders each year were attributed to bootleggers and gangsters in New York. And the increased crime was harder to combat because of the city’s lost revenue from various alcohol taxes, which forced the mayor to dramatically reduce both his police and fire departments. There was also rampant unemployment as the nation was in the throes of the Great Depression.
The photo above shows marchers at night, which may be surprising, but the parade actually lasted all day long, and continued into the evening.
NYC Mayor Jimmy Walker.
Mayor Walker gave a speech in the evening over station WEAF of the National Broadcasting Company, in which he challenged the opponents of his “Beer for Taxation” plan to produce any other form of taxation that would be “less of a burden upon people already overburdened with taxation.”
The parade began down Fifth Avenue from 80th Street in Manhattan, “with picket signs, in costume, and cars festooned with slogans. The marchers went west on 59th Street and back north on Central Park West, parading into the night,” with Mayor Jimmy Walker, “dapper in his derby and suit (and about to be brought up on corruption charges before resigning as mayor), led the procession.” Within the month, other cities held similar parades.
“Interestingly, at noon, the marchers paused for a minute of silence in honor of Charles Lindbergh Jr., whose body was found dead in woods in New Jersey two days earlier.”
It started as a fairly small protest, but quickly swelled to an estimated 100,000 marchers (and some accounts put that number closer to 150,000). One of the slogans they chanted was “Beer for Prosperity” and they also chanted the call and response “Who wants beer?” followed by “We Do!”
Today I Found Out also has an account of the parade, including:
When Congressman Emanuel Celler heard about the event, he said he’d come and bring a bunch of friends. You’d be able to pick him out in the crowd by the two signs he’d be holding: “Never Say Dry” and “Open the Spigots and Drown the Bigots.” The Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion and the Grand Army of the Republic (a group of Civil War veterans) also turned out to march in the parade. Students and society matrons also joined the fray.
They even created a souvenir program for the parade.
And Steuben Taverns created a hanger to put on your car’s rear view mirror.
And to get a sense of the parade itself, here is a video from the event.
Today is the birthday of Dietrich Knabe (May 11, 1842-<1917). His first name is sometimes spelled Diedrich. I believe he was born in Germany, but that's about all I know about Knabe, apart from he co-founded and served as president of the Consumer's Brewing Co. of New York City, which was founded in 1890. It appears to have closed because of prohibition in 1920, although one source suggests that they were still a going concern into the late-1920s. As far as I can tell it didn't open afterward.
The Brewers’ Journal and Barley, Malt and Hop Trades’ Reporter for July 1, 1917 includes an account of Knabe’s 75th birthday earlier that year, so he was still alive
This is from the New York Times for November 15, 1889, announcing the creation of what would become the Consumer’s Brewing Co.
Today is the birthday of Christian Weyand (May 11, 1826-August 7, 1898). He was born in France as Cretien Weyand, but came to the U.S. when he was 21, settling in the Buffalo area of New York. He was originally a shoemaker, but when he was forty years old, he co-founded the Main Street Brewery, along with a partner, John Schetter, who he eventually bought out in 1873. In 1890, the brewery was incorporated as the Christian Weyand Brewing Co. and remained in business until closed by prohibition in 1920.
Here’s a short biography from Find-a-Grave:
Weyand, Christian, was born in Lorraine, France, May 11, 1826, attended the common schools, and in the spring of 1847 came to America and settled in Buffalo, where he has since resided. He followed the shoemaker’s trade for some time, and then in 1866 engaged in the brewing business with a partner.
In 1873 he became sole owner of the establishment on the corner of Main and Goodell streets, and in a few years built up one of the largest and best breweries in Western New York. In May 1890, the Weyland Brewing Company was incorporated with C. Weyand. president; John A. Weyand, vice-president and manager; and Charles M. Weyand, secretary, and treasurer. Mr. Weyand is probably the best-known brewer in Buffalo. He is a prominent, public-spirited citizen, widely esteemed and respected, and has always enjoyed the confidence of all who know him. May 9, 1852, he married Magdalena Mayer of Buffalo.
And this is his obituary from the American Brewers Review:
This short history of Christian, and the brewery, is from the “1897 Brewers Convention Buffalo NY,” published by the Buffalo Brewers Association:
Christian Weyand Brewing Company.
In 1866, Christian Weyand established the business now conducted by The Christian Weyand Brewing Company. Mr. Weyand is a native of France, having been born in the province of Lorraine a little more than seventy years ago. There he spent his youth and received his education; but in his twenty-first year he left Lorraine for the wider opportunities of the New World, landing in New York just fifty years ago. He soon found his way to Buffalo, but it was nearly twenty years before he began the business with which his name is now so intimately connected in the minds of all Buffalonians. During these years he worked as a shoemaker — at first as an employee, and later in a shop of his own.
Mr. Weyand, with a partner, began the brewing business in a small way, with little capital and a poorly equipped plant; but the purest and best of barley malt was used from the start, and improved machinery was introduced as fast as the necessary capital could be secured. In 1873. Mr. Weyand assumed entire charge of the business, and applied himself vigorously to the task of building up a model brewery. His efforts met with entire success, and in a few years his establishment became one of the first in its line in Buffalo — a city that boasts of many fine breweries. In 1890, he organized the business into a stock company, called The Christian Weyand Brewing Company, of which he is president, his son, John A. Weyand, vice-president and manager, and another son, Charles M. Weyand, secretary and treasurer. Since then the business has materially increased, and in 1896-97 it became necessary to make extensive additions to the plant. The new buildings on the corner of Main and Goodell streets, built of buff terra cotta elaborately ornamented in Renaissance style, are exceedingly handsome; and it is now one of the best-equipped breweries in the country.
This is purported to be a photograph of the house at the “Southeast Corner Main and Goodell Streets” from the 1912 “Picture Book Of Earlier Buffalo.” But as Michael F. Rizzo and Ethan Cox, authors of “Buffalo Beer” point out, “the structures in the background and to the left of the subject must have been the Christian Weyand brewery. Indeed, the least occluded building to the left was, I think, their office address on Goodell.”