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District Mid Atlantic
Master Brewers Association of the Americas
History of District Mid Atlantic
Peter J. Sowa
It was over one hundred and fifty years after the erection of the first brewery in Baltimore, in 1748, that the Master Brewers of Baltimore was organized. According to the publication "Brauer Kalender" (1903-1904), the organization "Vereingen Staaten Braumeister Bund of Baltimore was formed. By 1895, the National Association was holding its seventh convention in Baltimore.
From September 23-25, 1907, the National Convention was again held in Baltimore. One of the highlights of this convention was a cruise down the Chesapeake Bay. The organization proposed until the advent of the infamous 18th Amendment. Membership gradually dwindled until it was reactivated in 1933 after Repeal. District Baltimore and Vicinity was granted a charter by the National Master Brewers Association of America on July 1, 1935.
Baltimore was the scene for the National Convention in October 1941. The MBAA aroused great civic interest when it presented a replica of the original Star Spangled Banner to the City of Baltimore, with appropriate and colorful ceremonies in the City Hall Plaza. Another fond recollection of the 1941 convention was a cruise down the Chesapeake Bay to the historic Maryland capital city of Annapolis, which was climaxed by a specially arranged "Dress Parade" by the Midshipmen of the United States Naval Academy.
In 1963, Baltimore was once more the scene for the National Convention. Paul Glomp chaired and Alfred E. Sharp co-chaired this event which was attended by over 1,000 members and their spouses. The highlight of this convention was a day spent at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis arranged by alumnus Alfred Sharp. After being welcomed by the Superintendent of the Academy, the brewers were treated to a tour of the grounds, a boat cruise of the Annapolis harbor, followed by a specially arranged outdoor barbecue. During the convention, the spouses had an enjoyable day touring the White House and other Washington, D.C. attractions.
MBAA District Baltimore and Vicinity hosted its most recent National Convention in October 1997 in Baltimore's Inner Harbor. John Houseman and Peter Sowa co-chaired this 110th Anniversary Convention. Many of the long time MBAA members who attended the Baltimore Convention in 1963 were amazed to see how the City of Baltimore was revitalized. Baltimore's old decaying docks and piers at the seedy waterfront were replaced by the spectacular Inner Harbor, a skyline of skyscrapers, the National Aquarium, the Maryland Science Center, historic Fells Point and numerous high rise hotels.
District Baltimore and Vicinity is honored to have had two National MBAA Presidents. Karl H. Hennige (1957-1959) and Peter Codd (1979-1980).
In order to foster technical and social exchange between their members, the Baltimore, New York, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia districts began to hold joint meetings as far back as the early 1950's. These joint meetings were so successful that they became formally organized as the bi-annual Quad District meetings that were later renamed the Eastern Technical Conference (ETC). ETC 2003 will be held from May 1-4 at the Seven Springs Resort in Champion, PA.
Starting in the sixties, a new era was emerging for our district. The long established regional breweries in Maryland like the National Brewing Company and Arrow Brewing Company were seeing the establishment and competition of the surging national brewers such as Anheuser-Busch (Williamsburg, VA), Jos. Schlitz/Stroh (Winston-Salem, N.C.), Miller Brewing Company (Eden, N.C.), Coors Brewing (Elkton, VA) and the Carling/G. Heileman, Schaefer and Hamms brewing facilities in Baltimore.
At one point, District Baltimore and Vicinity had the top five national brewing companies located within our geographic district boundaries. They were Anheuser-Busch (VA), Miller (NC), Stroh (NC), G. Heileman (MD) and Coors (VA). During this time period, the name District Mid-Atlantic was adopted to more properly reflect the membership. Currently, only Anheuser-Busch, Coors and SAB/Miller remain as the national brewers within our district.
Today, District Mid-Atlantic continues as an active and cohesive district with continued strong attendance at our annual spring and fall technical meetings.
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