brewing-in-milwaukeIt occurred to me that if you are reading Crimespree you probably have a similar taste in reading material to our own. Working on this assumption I though I would bring a book to your attention that I really enjoyed.
Arcadia Publishing has a very large series of books that highlight images of America. I have a large collection of them building up because I love to buy books about cites I spend time in. I also have a lot of the Milwaukee based books.
The latest is BREWING IN MILWAUKEE by Brenda Magee. It’s a fascinating look at the history of brewing in my home town that was once known as the home to over 200 breweries.
The first thing I learned from this book is that beer families inter married almost as much as European royalty. I knew that the Lemp family (Lemp Brewery later becoming Falstaff) in St. Louis had married into the Pabst family and shared cold brewing techniques, but I had no idea how many of these folks were related by marriage. A lot of the brewing families came here from Germany specifically to make beer. A combination of good water from lake Michigan and the surround farm lands for growing ingredients made it a perfect place for beer.
brewing-in-milwaukeeMany of the breweries also had other interests. Many started out also making whiskey, but as whiskey was taxed and beer was not, they dropped it. Businesses to support breweries also popped up. Bottle manufacturing, wagons to move beer, and equipment to make beer.
Prohibition changed things up for a while and some didn’t survive the period without beer manufacturing. Graf’s switched to just soda waters and the brand while now sold is still being made. Shlitz made candies and one of the Gettlemans designed snow plows.
The book comes up to modern times and the local micro brews and brew pubs. The impact brewing had on Milwaukee is huge and it really did help the city to grow and become a manufacturing hub. And I find the history of it more than interesting. It also makes me want to find books on brewing in other cities, like Hamms in St Paul and the growth of Anheuser Busch in St. Louis.
A wonderful book full of great pictures well worth checking out.