Brewing Battles

Brewing Battles is the comprehensive story of the American brewing industry and its leading figures, from its colonial beginnings to the present day. Although today’s beer industry has its roots in pre-Prohibition business, major historical developments since Repeal have affected industry at large, brewers, and the tastes and habits of beer-drinking consumers as well.


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The story of the American brewing industry did not begin with Anheuser-Busch and has not concluded with its world wide dominance. The real story is full of a colorful cast of characters including:

• Sam Adams: No not the beer but the patriot who was a prominent maltster and encouraged home production and consumption of beer.

• Fredrick Lauer: This nineteenth century brewer was so influential and his fellow German immigrant brewers held him in such high regard that they erected a statue of him in Reading, Pennsylvania which is still standing today.

• Herman Schluter – writer and labor activist who promoted the work of the United Brewery Workers, a heavily German, industrial and Socialist union.

• Colonel Jacob Ruppert – the George Steinbrenner of the mid twentieth century. Ruppert owned the New York Yankees from 1914 until his death in 1939. He also owned the Ruppert Brewery which had million barrel sales prior to Prohibition and was a leader of the brewing industry during Prohibition and Repeal. Babe Ruth was at his deathbed and over 15,000 people attended his funeral including Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia and Lou Gehrig.

• Rudy Schaefer – President of Schafer Brewing from 1927 to 1975. Schafer was also president of the United States Brewers Association during WWII, when the brewing industry worked very hard to prevent another Prohibition. Schafer Brewing was the longest operating brewery in New York City; its operations began in1842.

• Harry and Lorraine John: brother and sister and grandchildren of Fredrich J. Miller, founder of Miller Brewing and the patriarch of the Miller Family. Lorraine married John Muhlenberg, decided that “the brewery was not the will of God for me” and sold her fifty-three per cent share of Miller Brewing to W. R. Grace. Harry used his shares to found a Catholic philanthropic fund, the DeRance foundation. Following the sale of Miller Brewing to Phillip Morris, DeRance became the nation’s largest Catholic philanthropy.

• Candy Lightner: a California mother who formed Mothers Against Drunk Drivers to help her grieve for her dead daughter and wound up changing the nation’s laws.

Brewing Battles tells these stories as well as exploring beer’s cultural meaning from the vantage point of the brewers and their goals for market domination.