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In 15th-century England, hopped beer was famously introduced by Flemish immigrants. The more people moved, the further their beer cultures spread. The colonization of North America began in the mid 16th century, and brewing commenced almost immediately. The Pilgrims made an emergency landing in Massachusetts, their beer so depleted the crew was fearful of insufficient supply for the return trip after unloading the colonists.

Beer was part of the fabric of life in those days, a matter of survival in the minds of those early settlers. It was safe and wholesome compared with the tainted water supplies they had left behind. Early settlers did their best to maintain their beer traditions, but it was not easy. Not all of the New World was suited to barley cultivation or fermentation, and transatlantic shipments of malt were expensive and prone to spoilage, as were casks of imported beer.

Beer was easy to brew in the central colonies, but tougher in New England and the South. French and then English colonists managed to brew beer in Canada. In the United States, the colonists found the local water supply surprisingly nontoxic, and rum, whiskey, and applejack became cheap and plentiful. Beer was nearly a forgotten pleasure. On an alcohol percentage basis, US per capita consumption of spirits in was probably more than times that of beer.

Despite the efforts of Thomas Jefferson and others to make beer the temperate beverage of choice, spirits ruled America into the midth century. Change began in the s. Antiaristocracy revolts were roiling Germany, with huge numbers of people being displaced and choosing to emigrate to the New World.

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Not only that, but he also has a pretzel dangling off of his tuba. All of these symbols show him to be a textbook German: chubby, with an equal love of music and beer. All of the images examined up to this point show the American struggle to come to grips with major demographic changes that began in the early 19th century. The influx of German and Irish immigrants dramatically changed the makeup of many areas of the country and brought attendant shifts in cultural practices. Americans tried to typify Germans, but their efforts were inconsistent and sometimes contradictory. Germans were industrious, but also gluttonous; they were community-oriented, but also ignorant of politics beyond liquor laws; they were more contented than the Irish, but they were also overly jolly and childlike.

These images have tended to focus on Germans as consumers of beer, but Germans were also instrumental as producers and sellers of beer. This was one reason so many breweries were established in northern cities; they had readily available ice on site, but they also had better access to more northerly ice supplies. With revolutions in transportation and shipping providing a reliable supply of ice and hops, lager brewing became a viable commercial endeavor. These companies benefited from the Erie Canal, which connected them to grain and hops supplies, as well as improvements in ice technology, which allowed them to sustain cold brewing and keep the beer from spoiling.

The brewers also benefited from this period of urban development. The same wave of immigration that had brought many of the brewers themselves to America also led to a rapid expansion of immigrant communities in cities. In Milwaukee, for instance, the population ballooned from 6, people in to 40, in , providing a much larger base for local beer sales. Brewers further encouraged patronage of the saloons that carried their beer by subsidizing the food served there, so that by the end of the 19th century the free lunch was an expected and much-celebrated feature of many saloons.

The rapid growth in population fed the distribution of beer, which in turn benefited because of all the new outlets available. Not only were brewers very successful at selling to local saloons and in their own beer halls, they also expanded to a national market by means of the railroad. The practice of owning or controlling saloons became increasingly widespread; Schlitz, for example, owned more than 50 saloons in Milwaukee and more than 60 saloons in Chicago by the end of the 19th century.

Beer advertising exemplifies some of the earliest concerted branding and marketing of a corporate product, and the messages conveyed are revealing. Brewers employed a handful of different strategies in their advertisements, but much of the iconography is quite similar. Some of the recurring themes are the use of women and children, mythological or allegorical figures, images of German peasantry and beer maidens, and overtly American icons, such as the eagle, the flag, Columbia, or pictures of the factories themselves. The advertisements 26 Cochran, Some beer advertisements hearken back to the European roots of the brewers, with overt references to Germany and peasant life Figure 7.

She is dressed like a peasant, with a garland of hops and barley in her hair. Figure "Val. In this advertisement, the top contains rustic German themes, while the bottom is about American industry. On the top, a German brewer wearing an apron and carrying a jug, emerges from his brewery. The bottom of the ad translates these Old World traditions to America, where the same beer is brewed but in a thoroughly industrialized process. The extensive Blatz brewery complex is depicted, indicating both modernity and prosperity.

George Ehret's Hell Gate Brewery isolates the theme of industrialization and modernity and excises the peasant element Figure 9. New York History Society. This advertisement is all about modernity.

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Ehret's factory is front and center, full-color, and enormous, with smokestacks and American flags billowing. It also shows how the brewery is integrated into the city around it, with a busy street scene in front of the factory and an elevated train going by on the left.

The only tribute to beer making as an old and agricultural tradition is the sprig of hops and barley on the right. While Blatz's advertisement strikes a balance between tradition and modernity, and George Ehret's declares his brewery to be thoroughly modern and American, many other beer ads were deeply fantastical, particularly the various ads for bock, a type of heavier lager brewed only at particular times of year. While in many instances, the Bock ads occur in the detached fantastical setting shown in Figure 10, in some cases brewers explicitly Americanized the mischievous ram theme, as we can see in Figures 11 and Winter Brewing Co.

In this image, the allegorical personification of America, Columbia, holds an overflowing glass of bock aloft with her other arm around the bock goat. The insertion of American iconography into a longstanding German image is overt. An bock ad is even bolder. Maerz, Library of Cognress. While the ad with the ram and Columbia has no particular political message beyond the union of German brewing and American values, this ad weighs in on a reigning issue of the day.

The beloved bock ram upends a stereotypical Chinese migrant worker to the delight of white drinkers. In routing Chinese workers, the ram and his compatriots in the background restores the security of the working men and older groups of immigrants who gather in saloons and enjoy their beer. Although many of the beer ads have obviously patriotic themes, beer drinking remained a highly contested issue throughout the 19th century and beyond. Different people were divided on whether beer had value as a food, whether it should be encouraged as an alternative to harder liquors, or whether it fostered a culture in which drinking was far too prominent and served as a gateway drink that was just as likely to lead to poverty and dissipation as whiskey.

This ad for an unknown brewing company shows beer in its many positive settings. Espousing the long-held German belief that beer is gentle enough for all ages, a group of elementary school-aged children dance around a giant bottle of Rainier Pale Beer as if it is a May pole, while a mother prepares to serve them beer.

The caption, with its repeated emphasis on purity, reflects the language of reform movements beyond prohibition. This ad is contemporary to playground movements and the rise of food safety laws, and also reflects the growing concern with the safety and purity of the brewing process, and in particular the possibility of arsenic being present in American beer. By the time the Rainier ad was published, it was fairly unusual to claim that beer drinking was good for children.

Indeed, by that time temperance and prohibition movements had been growing increasingly virulent and successful. Small hints of temperance appear throughout American history, but by the s, temperance had been invigorated by religious revivalism and a desire to stabilize lives that been disrupted by urbanization and industrialization. By 12 other states had followed, and this gave greater tension to the conflict between temperance activists and working-class immigrants.

They led a shift in temperance towards a harder line that saw beer as being equally troubling to harder liquors. Their strategies involved attacking saloons and confronting saloon-goers. They argued that the prominence of the saloon was eroding family life, and their rhetoric quickly gained currency in the second half of the 19th century. Rorabaugh sees the decrease as the result of the success of temperance reformers, but Madelon Powers believes that this decrease is attributable to the shift towards beer drinking over harder liquors.

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This reputation excused the massive consumption of lager, and it also provided a cover for the sale of harder liquors. Beer halls were often not subject to the same laws as saloons that sold whiskey; at the same time, saloons and beer gardens were frequently found to be selling harder liquors too. Each of these images highlights how beer is a gateway drink; while much of the population existed somewhere between teetotaler and alcoholic, temperance reformers increasingly took a rigid position that all alcohol consumption was connected.

Rutgers Alcohol Studies Database Online. An analogy is ale long-stocked in England as compared to pale ale sent to India. Porter long-vatted in Dublin as against foreign stout shipped in wood to … everywhere. The extremes of temperature in Kentucky resulted in a very flavourful product, all that whiskey moving for years in and out of the barrel frame with the cycles of cold and hot.

Despite differences in climate the warehouses of the Monongahela rye distillers achieved a high quality as well. You could taste subtly the forest in it, it had a cool, autumnal quality vs. Rye is made in Kentucky today of course, and now in many places, including Pennsylvania again by revivalists, so perhaps a great Pennsylvania distilling tradition, based on rye, will rise anew. In past years it was used to flavour the blends of Alberta Distillers but some is bottled on its own now under the Canadian Club label.

Some other bottlers feature whisky from this source too, at different ages and proofs. WhistlePig rye is an example, featuring bottlings recently that are partly aged in Vermont. Stylistically it follows the old Mon style: distilled at low proof, made mostly from rye, and aged for long years in new charred oak. Note re image: the second image above was sourced from the Large Distillery page here at www. All intellectual property therein belongs solely to its lawful owner or authorized users, as applicable.

Image used for educational and historical purposes. In fact, when researching recently various questions relating to the origin of rye whiskey, I found a post of mine on the forum of www. I imagine the producer considers it tastes better at the lower proof and indeed the mouthfeel is soft and silky.

If consumed usually with beer — so more alcohol — probably it is felt it should be sold weaker than a standard vodka. This Berentzen though is closer to standard vodka than the Global. The main difference is surely the abv difference and both are wheat-based. Perhaps some German korn does offer a whiskey-like taste, general online comment suggests this is so.

Occasionally I like an ounce of vodka straight, the different brands do taste different despite the neutrality mandated by law. And it will be useful for Bloody Marys and Martinis. I always wonder how close to neutrality early s distillers got.


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Sometimes they call it alcohol, sometimes pure spirit. These are distinguished often in ads and other sources from various sorts of whiskey: rectified, common, old, etc. I have a feeling it was in fact possible to attain a high degree of neutrality, not that it would have been very economic before perfection of the column still.


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The need for repeated distillations or charcoal filtrations using more fuel and manpower, etc. All this to say, I feel the current taste of this drink may not resemble the typical korn of the period when the Palatinate emigrants came to Pennsylvania and adjoining areas. Following on my last three posts, here are some further references to give a sense of early pioneer days in central and eastern Pennsylvania and the strong Palatine German influence.

Fletcher This reflects a regional usage even in English of a term from overseas brought evidently by Mennonite and other German settlers. While the German communities were satisfied often to use the English word whiskey, sometimes it worked the other way around. At a minimum this suggests the familiarity of the German communities with rye spirit and perhaps their origination of it in America. Schnapps is a general term still used in Germany to mean a body of distilled spirits of which the korn group are derived from grain: wheat, rye, etc. I should add as well that korn is said to have a less than neutral taste, which would liken it to North American white whiskey.

I plan to test this soon with the single unflavoured variety available at LCBO.

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The exact same thing applied in Ontario, just north of Pennsylvania over Lake Erie, by my reading. Note again the German terminology. Vorlauf means, not pure alcohol as the text might imply, but the foreshots of distillation. The foreshots was high in alcohol due to being the first run off the low wines at relatively low temperature. It also contained potentially dangerous methanol, especially in a fruit wine distillation.

Presumably the distillers knew how to render a safe product as repeated casualties in their small communities would have been noticed. Distillations from grain tend to produce lower methanol levels than from apples or other fruit, so perhaps the foreshots here was from rye or other grain distilling. I offer a pint of craft ale midtown in Toronto to anyone who will translate it accurately. And no recourse to Google translate by non-German speakers, I can do that! The others shown are from the volumes cited and linked in the text. All intellectual property therein belongs solely to the lawful owners or authorized users, as applicable.

They were fleeing religious persecution and the instability of war and famine. Shaner, a specialist on Pennsylvania folklore. He described the distilling tradition of this large ethnic group in Pennsylvania. The southwest of the state, taking in counties such as Westmoreland, Somerset, Greene, Fayette, Washington, is associated traditionally with the Scots-Irish although that is a generalization.

The account gains authenticity from this and in any case offers a fine picture of a once-vital tradition, distilling in the original, largely self-sustaining rural communities.

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While he does not state in so many words that these settlers brought distilling skills from Europe, the inference is irresistible, so seemingly hermetic is the world he describes. See also the other articles in the link given, which round the picture. Indeed the language still continues in Pennsylvanian Mennonite and Amish country — and for that matter in Ontario whence some of those people emigrated after the Revolution. In this account of distilling of rye and fruits for whiskey and fruit spirits, the people profiled seem mostly uninfluenced by other cultural practices.

It seems unlikely to me they could have learned distilling from the Scots-Irish or Scots settlers. Those British immigrants are more associated with towns in the Cumberland Valley such as Carlisle and McConnellsburg and the counties I mentioned further southwest. Added to this, we know that korn , often made from rye or with this grain forming part of the mash, is an old German spirit.

They are documented in histories of the counties in question, and other sources, many of which I have reviewed. I think these Palatinate and Swiss settlers must have brought rye distilling with them.


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The Ulster Scots and plain unqualified Scots unquestionably brought a strong distilling tradition to the areas they settled. I am trying to emphasize that when people speak of the Monongahela whiskey tradition that sparked the bourbon heritage, that is only part of the story. Distilling in the east of the state preceded it.

This has to be true, as if whiskey distilling had been significant before these communities made their mark, whiskey, not rum, would have been the prime Colonial drink. Perhaps the Scots-Irish would have distilled with any available grain, but the fact that rye was and to this day is distilled for spirit in Germany suggests to me the traditions merged in regard to a prime grain used in America for whiskey.

The luminous serving tray above is from the I. It subsisted almost years, expiring with Prohibition and never to return. The whiskey in the ad clearly was red and indeed Shaner confirms it was aged, between three and eight years. All intellectual property therein or thereto belongs solely to its lawful owner or authorized users, as applicable. Image is used for educational and historical purposes. The part which follows deals with the S.

Brumbaugh distillery. It appears in section 3 of the sixth chapter dealing with local industries. The largest and most famous of the distilleries in Bedford and Blair Counties was the Brumbaugh Distillery which stood at the foot of the mountain on the road to St. Clairsville from New Enterprise.

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Built around by Aaron W. Reed, and purchased some twenty years later by Simon S. In that year such operations were closed by the federal government in compliance with the provisions of the Eighteenth Amendment enacted in The distillery was padlocked and stood idle until razed in While this might be more legendary than factual, Mr. For some reason not much rye was raised by the farmers of southern Morrisons Cove and he had to have grain shipped in from western states.

With permission of the publisher, an abstract of the article will be found as Appendix C. Note re extract: The quotation above is from Ben F. Extract is used for educational and historical purposes. I have, over the summer, written numerous posts which establish IMO that the taste for whiskey and basic template of its manufacture was introduced to Ontario by United Empire Loyalists and later American arrivals.

If we can know, that will help us understand what Canadian whisky was like in the s. Of course, whiskey in that period had to vary among producers. It depended on the grains used, the type of still, any aging given, and other factors yeast, whether flavouring was used, water, etc. There was probably every type of cereal whisky, from raw white dog to grain mash whiskey aged in new charred oak to pure spirit.

In Pennsylvania, Monongahela rye ended as the latter type straight, aged in virgin charred wood, the rye version of bourbon.