Introducing the MBAA Historical Timeline

One aspect of our MBAA that sets it apart from the growing number of brewing professional organizations is the fact of our enduring longevity. From that first Chicago meeting in March 1887 to our October 2015 conference in Jacksonville, we have now persisted for 128 years... and counting! Our Heritage Committee is keenly aware of this uniqueness and is avidly searching for ways to showcase this attribute. One such showcasing tool that we are quite excited about is the possible creation of an MBAA HISTORICAL TIMELINE.

Our vision of the MBAA HISTORICAL TIMELINE fosters the development of some kind of displayable tool that documents and graphically depicts important historical milestone events throughout MBAA's history. Already, we see that it could evolve into any number of possible formats. At its core, it could be a displayable poster, possibly wall-hung or free-standing, for use at MBAA events, district meetings, or anywhere we maintain an MBAA booth setting. It could also be available in a smaller, portable format as a printed, folded, map-style document that might be available as a handout, or even folded and included with new and/or renewal membership mailings. At its extreme, and probably most exciting, it could take the form of an interactive website tool, complete with scrolling capabilities and drop-down windows, readily available to all MBAA members. Clearly, there are several unique possibilities.

Our initial efforts have involved the selection and screening of our timeline content. We have begun by selecting historical and heritage milestone events from three major content areas:

  1. MBAA Heritage Milestone Events
  2. Brewing Industry History Milestone Events
  3. United States and World History Milestone Events

A "milestone event" spreadsheet has been created that includes each of these three columns. Every calendar year was examined for occurring MBAA, brewing industry, or U.S. and/or world milestone events, beginning in the year 1887 and moving forward to the present day.

Some examples of MBAA Heritage Milestone Events include:

  • 1887: Chicago, March 21, Master Brewers Association of the United States formed. All meetings/records held in German.
  • 1910: MBAA recognized as superior in scientific investigation. Publishes Brewer's Calendar (in German): a reference book of brewing technical information.
  • 1941: Wartime conferences begin as MBAA is put on wartime basis. Annual conventions cancelled and replaced by conferences with dialogue restricted to wartime production problems, shortages, and travel restrictions.

Some examples of Brewing Industry Milestone Events include:

  • 1892: Crown cap invented by William Painter of Crown, Cork & Seal. Wood pulp coaster invented by Robert Smith.
  • 1935: Canned beer introduced and sold by the American Can Co. and Krueger Brewing Co.
  • 2014: 3000+ breweries in the United States for the 1st time since the late 1800's.

Some examples of U.S. and World History Milestone Events include:

  • 1914: Anti-Saloon League proposes a constitutional amendment to prohibit sale of alcohol.
  • 1933: 21st Amendment passed, repealing the 18th Amendment, ending U.S. prohibition.
  • 1946: Truman issues a Presidential Order mandating a 30% cut in grain usage.

A copy of the spreadsheet and its initial milestone selections has been sent to the members of the Heritage Committee for their scrutiny and comment. Committee member Dave Thomas responded by suggesting the possibility of including the names of all past MBAA presidents and technical directors. These are being added and that effort remains on-going.

MBAA Higher Education Review Committee Chair Susan Welch graciously sent me a link to the interactive historical timeline of the University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota. Its historical display spans from 1885 to the current year in decade-long increments. It "forwards" and "rewinds" to whatever decade has been selected to view. It then opens a window that allows the viewer to scroll through images and text pertinent to that particular decade. It is a wonderful interactive timeline. It is an especially appropriate model for us to visit and study as St Thomas's 130-year history is very close in duration to MBAA's 128-year history. The St. Thomas Historical Timeline offers some real food for thought. It can be reviewed at the following link:

We are also examining various display templates that already exist and are available that we might use, as well as creating our own custom template that perfectly meets our needs.

Obviously, this has been, and continues to be an exhaustive effort, taking a great deal of time. Possibly some of you can offer some suggestions of your own that you feel are appropriate to include, or suggest something appropriate that we might have overlooked. In the near future, I will include a full listing of the milestone event selections for the members to review.

Our 128 years of ceaseless productive effort as an organization bestows upon us some unique bragging rights. An MBAA HISTORICAL TIMELINE could be a valuable tool to share that uniqueness.

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