Today is also the birthday of Chris Crabb, who does public relations for the Oregon Brewers Festival and other clients in the beer industry through her agency, Crabbsoup. If you’ve had any dealing with OBF, you’ve undoubtedly encountered Chris, because she does an amazing amount of work to get OBF up and running smoothly every year. Plus, she does all that hard work while keeping a smile on her face the entire time. Join me in wishing Chris a very happy birthday.
Esteemed Portland beer writer Fred Eckhardt would have turned 92 today. Portland’s Fred Eckhardt was a living legend, especially in his home city, having pioneered writing about and defining beer styles with his early book on the subject, The Essentials of Beer Style, published in 1989. This weekend, the first FredFest will be held without Fred in attendance. The beer festival honoring Fred has been held around his birthday since he turned 80. Last Sunday the 13th annual FredFest. If you missed it, raise a toast to Fred’s memory, and today join me in wishing Fred a very happy birthday.
At the Celebrator’s 18th anniversary party in February. From left: Shaun O’Sullivan, from 21st Amendment, Fred Eckhardt, the woman who wanted this picture of all her beer writing “heroes” in the first place, me, Tom Dalldorf, Celebrator publisher, and Randy Griggs, with DBi and the BN.
Today is the birthday of Robert “Mac” MacTarnahan (May 1, 1915-October 25, 2004), one of Oregon’s most famous athletes. Mac was one of the original investors in Portland Brewing Co., which was later named MacTarnahan’s Brewing in his honor. I met Mac twice, once in Portland at an event at the brewery, and once he visited me in California when I was still the beer buyer at BevMo. I hope I have half the energy he did when I’m in my eighties. A couple of years ago, my friend and colleague John Foyston wrote a nice remembrance of Mac in The Oregonian, which included the obituary he wrote in 2004. Raise a glass today to Mac’s memory.
Mac’s Oregon Sports Hall of Fame photo. Here’s his entry:
Oregon’s most accomplished Masters Athlete, Robert “Mac” MacTarnahan is the first masters competitor ever chosen for induction into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame. His athletic feats are amazing. Mac is a four-time Masters world record holder with a national record in the mile plus three world record holders in the 3000-meter steeplechase. In the steeplechase, he is a six-time AAU National Masters champion, two-time USA National Senior Olympic champion, two-time World Senior champion. Mac is also a five-time National Masters wrestling champion. The wiry Scot owns more the 50 Masters Gold Medals.
Today is the 40th birthday of Abram Goldman-Armstrong, a Portland-based beer writer who is the managing editor of the Northwest Brewing News and also writes online at Brewsville. Abe also is the organizer of the North American Organic Brewers Festival and by day works in construction. When Abe was writing for the Celebrator Beer News several years back, during GABF we spent an evening drinking out and about the city eventually ending up at the Denver Diner, during which time I discovered I’d spent the entire evening calling him by the wrong name — d’oh. Anyway, these days I can get his name right. Join me in wishing Abe a very happy birthday.
Today is John Maier’s 63rd birthday. John has been the head brewer at Rogue Ales for as long as I can remember. He’s won countless awards, pioneered numerous new styles and been instrumental in the rise of the Pacific Northwest’s beer scene. Join me in wishing John a very happy birthday.
John at the Brew Am gold tourney three years ago. Photo courtesy of Bob Brewer, from his Picasa gallery.
A portrait of John at Rogue by Gregg Hinlicky.
Today is the birthday of William H. “Billy” Biner (April 16, 1889-January 5, 1953). Biner was a journeyman brewer who worked for numerous breweries over his long career. He was born in the Montana territory to Swiss immigrant parents. His father, Theophil Biner, knew Leopold Schmidt and even worked at his Olympia Brewery. Biner sent two of his sons, including Billy once he’s finished with a career as a boxer, to brewing school in Milwaukee. Biner’s first brewing job was at the Phoenix Brewery in Vancouver, British Columbia in 1912. He then worked as the brewmaster for at least eight more breweries, from Los Angeles to Canada. The breweries he worked at included the Mexicali Brewery; the Orange Crush Bottling Company in L.A.; the Mexicali Brewing Company again after it was rebuilt following an earthquake; then the Kootenay Breweries, Ltd. in both Nelson and Trail, in BC, Canada; followed by the Ellensburg Brewing Co. in Washington, and then in 1937 he founded his own brewery, the Mutual Brewing Company. But it didn’t last thanks to World War II and supply issues, and it folded. Afterward, he moved on to both Sicks’ Century Brewery in Seattle and the Silver Springs Brewery in Port Orchard, Washington. Finally, he ran the East Idaho Brewing Co. in Pocatello, Idaho until 1946, when he retired from brewing and bought his own bar, the Leipzig Tavern in Portland, Oregon. He stayed there until a year before he died, which was in 1953.
Here’s his biography from Brewery Gems, written by Gary Flynn working with Joseph Fulton, the grandson of William Biner:
William Henry “Billy” Biner was born in Boulder, Montana Territory, on April 16, 1889. He was the fifth of nine children for Theophil Biner and Juliana Truffer, immigrants from Randa, Switzerland.
Theophil Biner was a builder and an acquaintance of Leopold Schmidt, founder of Olympia Brewery. He worked briefly for Schmidt in Tumwater, Washington from 1903-1905. Later in 1905 he purchased the Phoenix Brewery in the copper boomtown of Phoenix, British Columbia. Theophil became president of the company and his sons Albert and Dan ran it.
Younger son Billy became a boxer, eventually earning the title of welterweight champion of British Columbia. In 1911 Theo Biner sent his sons Billy and Gustave to the Hantke Brewery School in Milwaukie, Wisconsin where they graduated in 1912. Billy then became the brewmaster for the Phoenix Brewery and as an aspiring artist he also designed all of the beer labels. During this time he gave up boxing for curling where he found similar success.
Billy Biner married Harriet Lynch, the daughter of diamond drilling supervisor Dan Lynch in 1914. As prohibition approached Billy wrote articles for the local paper espousing the benefits of beer. But business declined in Phoenix and he moved south to Los Angeles in 1919 to work for the Canadian Club Bottling-Orange Crush Bottling Co.
From 1924 through 1929 he served as the brewmaster for the Mexicali Brewing Company in Mexicali, Mexico. In 1929 he returned to Canada and was a brewer in the towns of Merritt and Princeton, BC. From 1929 through 1936 he served as brewmaster for the Kootenay Brewing Company in both Nelson and Trail, BC.
In 1936 Biner moved to Ellensburg, Washington where he became brewmaster at the Ellensburg Brewery through 1942. After the Ellensburg Brewery closed Biner worked as a brewer at both Sick’s Select Brewery in Seattle and Silver Spring’s Brewery in Port Orchard, WA before moving on to Pocatello, where he ran the Aero Club Brewery until 1946.
He purchased the Leipzig Tavern in Portland, Oregon in 1946 and operated it until 1952 when he moved to Los Angeles to work for the North American Aircraft Company. He died of a heart attack on January 5, 1953.
Billy and Harriet Biner had four children; Betty, Bill, Bob and Fredericka (Fritzi). Bill and Bob Biner both worked for their father in Ellensburg before becoming members of the US Air Corps during WW II. Together they flew over 100 missions and are the subjects of the book The Brewmaster’s Bombardier and Belly Gunner.
Although none of Billy’s children or grandchildren became professional brewers, his great-grandson, Charlton Fulton, is the brewer at McMenamins Mill Creek Brewery near Seattle, Washington.
Biner with his sisters Julia and Mary Cecelia and his children Betty and Billy, c. 1925.
A label from his first brewery job, which he may also have designed.
Today is Tonya Cornett’s 49th birthday. Tonya was the brewmaster of Bend Brewing in Oregon, for a number of years, but not too long ago moved to another Bend brewery — 10 Barrel Brewing — to become their R&D brewer. She was featured prominently in the film, The Love of Beer. Tonya’s a great brewer and, of course, being born 1 day and ten years after me makes her a terrific human being, too. Join me in wishing Tonya a very happy birthday.
Today is the 74th birthday of Art Larrance, co-founder of the Oregon Brewers Festival, and also a co-founder of Portland Brewing, too. Art later started the Raccoon Lodge, in 1998, and more recently launched the Cascade Barrel Brewing House to concentrate on sour beers. In 2012, Art was named Restaurateur of the Year by the Oregon Restaurant & Lodging Association. But I know him best for his continuing work on OBF, which he’s been doing since the beginning of time, or at least 1988. Join me in wishing Art a very happy birthday.
Today is Larry Sidor’s 68th birthday. Larry brewed for a long time at the Olympia Brewery in Washington before moving on to Deschutes Brewing Co. in Bend, Oregon. He left Deschutes at the end of 2011 to strike out on his own, and opened the Crux Fermentation Project, which is also in Bend. Larry’s a great brewer, of course, and an even nicer person. Join me in wishing Larry a very happy birthday.
Today is the birthday of Henry Weinhard (February 18, 1830-September 20, 1904). He was born in Württemberg, which today is in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, but moved to nearby Stuttgart where he was an apprentice brewer. According to Wikipedia, he was a German-American brewer in the state of Oregon. After immigrating to the United States in 1851, he lived in Philadelphia, Cincinnati, and California before settling in the Portland, Oregon, area. He worked for others in the beer business before buying his own brewery and founded Henry Weinhard’s and built the Weinhard Brewery Complex in downtown Portland.”
Here’s Weinhard’s obituary, from a 1904 newspaper, the Morning Oregonian.
Henry Weinhard, the pioneer brewer of the Pacific Coast, whose name has become a household word in Oregon, died at 11:10 o’clock last night at the age of 74 years. He was suffering from an attack of uremic coma, the third with which he has been seized in recent years, and for several days his life has been despaired of. The disease stopped the action of his kidneys three days ago and he had been unconscious during that period, except for a slight glimmer yesterday afternoon. The end came without struggle and apparently without pain.
Mr. Weinhard was a typical Western man, with all the social qualities of the Western man and German. He succeeded by close application to a business which he made one of the largest industries of the city with a fame extending beyond the bounds of the United States. He was ready to lend to the city and state for the promotion of the success of the community the energy and ability which had made his own success, and he readily contributed to every charitable and public enterprise. As disease has crept upon him with age, he has gradually entrusted his business more and more to his sons in law, who have associated with him from their early manhood, so that thee will be no break in the management of his great interests. The arrangements for his funeral will probably made today. As he was a Mason, the Masonic body will doubtless take a leading part in the ceremonies.
The story of Henry Weinhard’s life is the story of success achieved by a young German who came to the United States equipped with youth, energy and thorough knowledge of his business. Born at Lindenbrohn, Wurtemburg in 1830, he was educated there and was apprenticed to the brewing business. Then he determined to seek a broader field for his activity and in 1852 came to the United States. After being employed for four years at a brewery at Cincinatti, O., he came to the Pacific Coast by way of the isthmus in 1856. He first worked at his trade in Vancouver, Wash., for six months and then in 1857 moved to Portland and, in partnership with George Bottler, erected a brewery at Couch and Front streets.
The growth of the business did not satisfy him, and not long after sold his interest and returned to Vancouver. He finally settled in Portland in 1862, when he bought Henry Saxon’s business on First, near Davis street, but in the following year bought the site of his present plant at Twelfth and Burnside streets, together with the small buildings occupied by George Bottler’s small plant.
Since then his business has steadily grown until his beer has a market throughout the Pacific states and he has built up a large trade export. The capacity of the plant has been steadily enlarged until it now covers two and three quarters blocks and produces 100,000 barrels of beer a year, the refrigerating machines alone making 42 tons of ice a day. How rapidly the business has grown is indicated by the fact that the storage capacity has also been greatly enlarged. Mr. Weinhard was always progressive and never hesitated to adopt the latest improvements in his business, he was very conservative in his investments. He erected ice plants at Eugene and Roseburg in place of local breweries which he bought out, and storage buildings at Oregon City, Baker City and Aberdeen, all of which with the sites were his own property.
He had of late years made large investments in real estate, but they were all in Portland and the immediate vicinity, and he has covered his city property with valuable buildings, but he never began any of them until he had the money on hand to complete them, for he never went into debt. His largest buildings, in addition to the breweries and its various buildings are the large seven story building bounded by Oak and Pine, Fourth and Fifth streets, the second half of which is nearing completion; the Grand Central Hotel, five stories high, at Third and Flanders, streets; the five story Hohenstaufen building, 50 by 100 feet, at Fourth and Alder streets, a two story building,50 by 100 feet, at Fourth and Madison streets, and a farm of 620 acres in Yamhill County, known as the Armstrong farm.
Mr. Weinhard married in 1859 Louise Wagenblast, a native of Wurtemberg, Germany, who survives him, and by whom he had three children, one of them a boy died at the age of 2 1/2 years, on September 13,1862. His other children were Annie C. who married Paul Wessinger, the superintendent of the brewery, and Louise H., who is the wife of Henry Wagner, his accountant. Mrs. Wessinger is the mother of two children, a girl of nearly eighteen and a boy of sixteen and a half years, and Mrs. Wagner is the mother of a boy of ten years. His only other relatives in this country is Jacob Weinhard, a well to do maltster at Dayton, Wash., who is his nephew.
Mr. Weinhard was a member of the Willamette Lodge, A.F.&A.M. of Portland, and the Chamber of Commerce, Board of Trade and Manufacturers Association. He always took an active interest in all measures aimed at promoting the development of the state and was a liberal contributor to all public enterprises.
And here’s part one of a three-part documentary about the brewery. This part tells the story from the brewery’s founding up through prohibition. Part two covers the Blitz merger through the 1970s, and part three is about what they call “The Premium Reserve Years,” presumably from the 1970s to the present of when the film was made, which looks like late eighties or nineties.