District Milwaukee Heritage

From MBAA’s two collections of district histories—the 75th Diamond Jubilee from 1962 and the 100th Golden Jubilee in 1987—I am excited to share both editions’ celebration of District Milwaukee. As you can imagine, District Milwaukee, by virtue of the sheer number of German brewers who immigrated there, glistens with MBAA heritage that few districts can match.

The 1962 Communications Diamond Jubilee celebration publication piece was written by then District President Flory M. Muehl, from Miller Brewing Co. He celebrates the fact that, of the 100 brewmasters attending the very first national convention in Chicago in 1887, nine were “hardy Wisconsin men” and “they represent[ed] the solid bedrock of leadership...from which has sprung the healthy, wealthy Milwaukee District.” In his own words, he further paints a fabulous portrait of a typical district meeting for us to visualize!

“Early meetings, according to data available, consisted of sociability and gemuetlichkeit... brewmasters would exchange toasts and notes—you can almost picture the scene: the sturdy brewmasters arriving in horse-drawn carriages replete with high button shoes and starchy collars—but engaging in conversation along the same lines as now....”

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Click on the document to read the full-size version.

The 1987 Golden Jubilee celebration publication was written by then District President Nick Huige. He updates the 1962 history and celebrates that the German language was the primary language spoken and written at District Milwaukee's early meetings. “A common banner at the Master Brewers meetings was, and still is, ‘Hopfen und Malz Gott erhalts’ (God bless hops and malt).”

Mr. Huige also shares that in 1893, there were 165 breweries in Wisconsin, and 106 of these still prepared their own malt. By 1986, the year before the Golden Jubilee celebration, there were 8 operating breweries, and what he calls three "mini-breweries."

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Click on the document to read the full-size version.

I am happy to share both of these vignettes of District Milwaukee history with our general readership. And even though the original documents are archived, the ability to share them with our readership once again showcases the value of "digital" to all of our districts in matters of history and heritage. The whole concept of "digital" will be the subject of some upcoming Heritage Communicator pieces.

Before I close, we do have a request for information from our membership. It is fitting that the request involves information about a company from...none other than...Milwaukee!

“I am researching a company called Baumbach-Reichel Co. of Milwaukee, Wis. They operated as a brewery equipment and brewing supply dealer between 1898 and 1922 when the company's name was changed to Reichel-Korfmann. The company now exists as RK Rubber (they no longer serve the brewing industry) and I recently met with the current manager of the firm to discuss their history. About all he had was a set of ledger books from 1927 to 1967, which didn't contain the information I was interested in. I was hoping to find a list of clients so I could get an idea of their market penetration. Charles Baumbach died in 1901 so there may not be much available on him but the other prominent names are Ernst Reichel, Ludwig Korfmann, and his son Calvin.

Do you have any information you can share with me and if not do you have any suggestions as to where I may turn next?”

Maybe, our own District Milwaukee can provide a lead? If anyone within our readership has any leads for the request, contact me and I will forward the lead to the researcher.

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