WBEZ | breweries http://www.wbez.org/tags/breweries Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Schoenhofen Brewery: Of suds and (unfounded) suspicions http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/schoenhofen-brewery-suds-and-unfounded-suspicions-109530 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/3228849121_80a727e9d1_o[1].jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Ted Land asked Curious City to clear up rumors about the old Schoenhofen Brewery in Chicago&rsquo;s Pilsen neighborhood.</p><p>Besides wanting to get a snapshot of the brewery in its heyday, Land also wanted someone to get to the bottom of persistent hearsay about the facility.</p><p>Here&rsquo;s his entire request, in his own words:</p><blockquote><p><em>My brother lives next door to the old Schoenhofen Brewery on W. 18th st. near Pilsen. I&#39;ve often wondered about the now-shuttered facility -- how busy it was and what they produced there. A quick internet search reveals some websites stating that Schoenhofen was once one of the largest brewers in the Midwest, which even had its own spring supplying fresh water to the operation. Another site mentions something about how federal agents seized the brewery during WWI because members of the Schoenhofen family were broadcasting radio messages to Germany from the brewery&#39;s tower. Any truth to this?</em></p></blockquote><p>My own investigation didn&rsquo;t get far; I found many anecdotes about the brewery, but no definitive source could end the confusion for good.</p><p>But then I found a relevant story in Mash Tun Journal. Paul Durica, a recent University of Chicago Ph.D. and frequent <a href="http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/your-ticket-white-city-108994">Curious City collaborator</a>, brought his immense research skills to bear on the Schoenhofen rumors &mdash; once and for all.</p><div class="image-insert-image ">Durica shared his findings on an episode of the <a href="http://wbez.org/strangebrews">Strange Brews </a>podcast, joining Ted Land, me and my co-host, Alison Cuddy, for a taping in Pilsen, just a few blocks from the Schoenhofen Brewery. Among the points he took up:&nbsp;</div><ul><li class="image-insert-image ">Rumors of radio signals being broadcast to the German enemy during WWI.</li><li class="image-insert-image ">Claims about the brewery&#39;s water purity</li><li class="image-insert-image ">The brewery&#39;s appearance in the Blues Brother movie</li><li class="image-insert-image ">The brewery&#39;s creation of Green River soda pop</li></ul><p>After the conversation Land said, &ldquo;That&rsquo;s well more than I thought I&rsquo;d learn about this building. I still want to see the artesian springs, though.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Strange Brews is WBEZ&#39;s podcast covering craft beer and related culture. Hosted by Andrew Gill, Alison Cuddy and Tim Akimoff, episodes are recorded on location around the Midwest and include interesting guests including brewers, artists and craft beer lovers.&nbsp;<a href="http://www.twitter.com/andrewgill">Follow web producer Andrew Gill on Twitter</a>.</em></p></p> Thu, 16 Jan 2014 17:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/series/curious-city/schoenhofen-brewery-suds-and-unfounded-suspicions-109530 Lost landmark: Peter Hand Brewery http://www.wbez.org/blog/john-r-schmidt/2012-03-02/lost-landmark-peter-hand-brewery-96532 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/photo/2012-February/2012-02-27/Peter Hand Brewery_Schmidt.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago has many micro-breweries to quench the discerning thirst. Our subject here is the city's last "macro-brewery."</p><p>Peter Hand was a Prussian-born Civil War veteran who came to Chicago to work in the brewing industry. In 1891 he opened a small brewery of his own at North and Sheffield. His leading brand was called Meister Bräu--"master brew."</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-20/02-27--1977.JPG" style="width: 495px; height: 324px;" title="Lost Landmark: 1000 W. North Ave."></p><p>Hand died in 1899, but his brewery survived. Between 1920 and 1933 it was officially closed because of Prohibition. After repeal the plant was expanded several times. Meanwhile, dozens of other Chicago breweries came and went.</p><p>In 1965 a group of investors purchased the brewery and changed the name to Meister Bräu Inc., with the intention of going national. In Chicago, they launched an aggressive advertising campaign.</p><p>Meister Bräu sponsored Sox, Hawks and Bulls broadcasts. Franklyn MacCormack's "All Night Meister Bräu Showcase" became a popular radio program. Bottle openers, coasters, beer steins, and posters were given away. The number of Meister Bräu billboards around town was exceded only by those reading "Daley for Mayor."</p><p style="text-align: center;"><img alt="" height="320" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2012-February/2012-02-21/02-27--Beer Brands.JPG" title="some deceased Chicago beers" width="461"></p><p>All was well for a while. The brewery was producing over 1 million barrels of brew a year, with the new Lite Beer a big seller. But management had over-reached. The company started losing serious money. In 1972 the Meister Bräu brands were sold to Miller Brewing of Milwaukee.</p><p>The North Avenue plant went back to the Peter Hand name and rolled out a new beer called Old Chicago. The slide continued. Early in 1973 the company declared bankruptcy. The brewery was sold at auction to a new partnership led by an experienced brewer.</p><p>That lasted five years. Old Chicago Dark won a few blind-taste tests, yet never caught on. In 1978 the Peter Hand Brewery closed. Today the property at North and Sheffield is a strip mall.</p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 02 Mar 2012 13:15:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/blog/john-r-schmidt/2012-03-02/lost-landmark-peter-hand-brewery-96532 Chicago's Goose Island brewery moves some beer production out of state http://www.wbez.org/story/beer/chicagos-goose-island-brewery-moves-some-beer-production-out-state <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/honkers.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Chicago's Goose Island Beer Company is shifting some production to New Hampshire.</p><p>Goose Island brews popular beers like 312 and Honker's Ale, as well as specialty beers like Matilda, and limited-editions like its Bourbon County Stouts.<br /><br />Brewmaster Greg Hall says production grew more than 20 percent last year. Goose Island is operating at &quot;full capacity,&quot; and the company has demand for even more beer. The brewery is temporarily shifting some production of Honker's Ale and India Pale Ale to the Redhook Ale Brewery in Portsmouth, N.H.</p><p>Hall says the company eventually plans to build another brewery in Chicago, and bring that production back here. They're hoping to take advantage of growing demand:</p><p>&quot;It's very exciting that it appears craft beer and Goose Island in particular has really gotten over that tipping point,&quot; Hall said. &quot;We're not just for the real beer aficionados now. We're no longer a curiosity for the mainstream beer drinker. We're just part of the regular rotation.&quot;<br /><br />Hall said that's partly because people's tastes have changed. He said many people favor more flavorful beers now.</p><p>He also credited the tough economy. He said people are saving money, so they're not necessarily buying new cars or taking trips to celebrate, but they still want to reward themselves. Demand for Matilda, one of the more expensive offerings from Goose, grew 97 percent last year.</p><p>&quot;Beers' role as an affordable luxury is, I think, more important now than ever,&quot; he said.<br /><br />Hall says the first batch of IPA brewed in New Hampshire ships this week. The brewery's doing a test batch of Honker's Ale right now. That beer will likely ship from the East Coast this spring.</p><p>Nationally, the craft brewing industry is growing quickly, according to figures from the Brewers Association. Craft beers were up 9 percent by volume in the first half of 2010, compared to overall U.S. beer sales, which dropped nearly 3 percent in that same time period.</p></p> Tue, 22 Feb 2011 20:45:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/beer/chicagos-goose-island-brewery-moves-some-beer-production-out-state