Nov. 15, 1890  Western Brewer


The fourth annual convention of the United States Brewmasters' Association was held in Philadelphia, on the 13th, 14th and 15th of October. The meeting was well attended, there being one hundred and thirty-seven members present, representing sixteen states, as follows: Alabama, California, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin.


On the evening of Monday, Oct. 13, the delegates were entertained at a grand "commers" which took place in Horticultural hall. The hall was profusely and handsomely decorated. Tropical plants were tastefully arranged on the platform, and above them was a transparency bearing an inscription in German, which, translated, read:




In front of the platform there was a tablet with the inscription, "Beer is the staff of life; the promoter of true temperance." On each pillar was hung a banner bearing some motto or inscription in German, among them being one which read: "It is a wise brewer that knows his own beer." Long tables were ranged the length of the hall, and beer was served by 150 waiters. Over each table was a banner with the name of the delegation.


Shortly after 9 o'clock Mr. John Birkenstock, president of the Philadelphia association, in a few well chosen words, welcomed the delegates and guests, after which he introduced Mr. August W. Woebken, secretary of the Bergner & Engel Brewing Co., who officially opened the festivities. After a chorus to the melody of the "Wacht am Rhein," Director of Public Works Wagner addressed the delegates in German and English, welcoming them as the official representative of the mayor.


General Wagner was followed by ex-Mayor Wm. B. Smith, whose appearance called forth round after round of applause. Mr. Smith made a brief and witty address, which was loudly applauded.


President William Gerst closed the speechmaking by thanking the Philadelphia brewmasters, in the name of the association, for the hearty reception given the delegates.


A lunch followed and was eaten to instrumental and vocal music. The lengthy programme was continued until 1:30 in the morning, when the "commers" concluded with three cheers for the Association.




The convention was called to order shortly before 11 o'clock. President Gerst was formally introduced to the convention by Vice-President Christian Schneider. After a few words of welcome President Gerst read the following address:




We may well be gratified by reviewing the work of our association for the past year. Many colleagues in different parts of the country have joined us, and our membership has increased from 262 to 320 since our last convention, proving that our association is equal to its task.


The death benefit fund has been a success in every respect, and I cannot but congratulate our members of having introduced a feature so beneficial to the survivors of the deceased.


The technical committee we created has invited prize essays for the purpose of stimulating general interest on the part of brewmasters, but thus far it has met with very little success. I wish to remind you that the idea of having a technical committee, although highly commendable, must find embodiment in action. This can come only through your hearty co-operation in the completion of the structure we have undertaken to rear. I urge you, every one of you, to devote better attention to such matters, and thereby to promote the progress of the trade.


I cannot but renew a question that was put to last year's convention by our colleague Louis Frisch, and answered negatively, namely: Shall we have an employment bureau?


There is no gain saying that we should regard it as one of the objects of our organization to furnish employment to colleagues who, through no fault of theirs, have lost their situations. Or, would you prefer to leave such matters to experimental stations and dealers in brewery materials? According to our statutes the maintenance of friendly relations between its members is one of the chief aims of our association. Is it not, therefore, a sacred duty to assist a friend? I request you to recommend this subject again to the committee.


I have taken pains to discover a reason for the rejection of the proposition on the part of last year's convention, and I believe I have found it. We are far from being careful in admitting new members. Anybody who has once washed a cask or swallowed a little bit of theoretical instruction and happened to become foreman in a brewery needs but to send in his application to secure prompt admission. That is wrong in principle. Every applicant for membership in our glorious association ought to be asked to show who he is and what he knows; he ought to be able to prove his practical experience; that is, to prove himself to be a man who has been successfully engaged in practical work at least five years. If we adhere to a certain standard of requirements, it will not again happen, as it has in the past, that one member of our association is ashamed of another, and that one member is unwilling to assume the responsibility of recommending another for a brewmaster's situation. Once assured that every member of our association is really a brewmaster, we cannot see any reason for objecting to an employment bureau, and therefore I request you to take the necessary steps in regard to this important subject in order to settle the question as to what qualifications are essential to a rating as a competent brewmaster and to membership in our association.


In connection with the above subject, I desire to state that during the year the executive committee was repeatedly asked questions in regard to apprenticeship, and that some action in this direction may not be out of place.


In conclusion, I desire to direct the earnest attention of my colleagues to a serious matter regarding our conventions. Many of our colleagues have entered a strong protest against the expense usually attending these meetings, in consequence of which the branches of our association in smaller places find it impossible to invite us to meet with them. This ought to be remedied at all hazards. Moreover, I am of the opinion that our conventions should be biennial only, the executive committee holding meetings during the intervals. A little more gravity and somewhat less pleasure would greatly benefit our association.


Wishing that our deliberations may be permeated with a spirit of zeal and earnestness, as well as that sincere friendship and harmony may ever prevail among us, I now declare the fourth convention of the United States Brewmasters' Association open for the transaction of business.


Hearty applause followed the speech, after which the annual report of Secretary Wagner was read by Assistant Secretary John Lange, Mr. Wagner not being present. The report was as follows:


To the President and Members of the United States Brewmasters' Association:


In presenting my annual report to the fourth convention of the Brewmaster's Association, I trust you will expect from me no lengthy literary essay, but only a positive report as to the performance of my official duties.


The Brewmasters' Association has every reason to be proud of its achievements during last year; since October 11, 1889, the membership has increased from 262 to 320, fifty-eight new members having joined us in the course of a year. This is certainly a remarkable success, considering the fact hat the number of persons who could possibly enter our association must always be very limited. There is also a financial progress to be reported. Although the cash in our treasury, which amounted to $2,452.35 Sept. 30, 1889, has been reduced in striking this year's balance to $24.79, it should be borne in mind that $1,000 have been expended for the Brewers' Almanac. Although the receipts for copies of the Almanac have been quite small as compared with the expenses, each member of the association has received a presentation copy. Thus, our publishing venture did not turn out quite so badly after all.


The regular routine business has been transacted with the usual dispatch and scrupulousness, but the interests of our association require somewhat greater promptness on the part of the members. I regret to state that there are, among the members of the association, brewmasters who seem to have entirely disappeared since obtaining their cards of membership.


The receipts and expenditures from Oct. 11, 1889, to Oct. 1, 1890, were as follows: For dues, $1,903.00; for proposition fees, $580.00; copies of Almanac, $150; interest from J.J. Metzler, $68.94; making a total of $23,452.35; balance on hand Oct. 1, 1890, $2,427.56.


These amounts have been compared with those of our treasurer, Mr. H. Auer, and correspond with his books. Respectfully submitted, Edward Wagner, Secretary.


On behalf of the death benefit fund, Mr. Leo Gehly, of New York, the secretary, reported a balance of $2,148, after deducting the first payment of $1,000 to the widow of Adolf Lorch, a Pittsburg member who had died recently. In connection with this report, Mr. Gehly urgently requested all members to participate in the death benefit fund, referring feelingly to the protection it guaranteed to the survivors of a deceased colleague.


Mr. Christian Schneider, of New York, addressed himself especially to the better situated colleagues, impressing upon them the expediency of becoming members of the fund, if not out of any necessity for themselves, in the interests of their colleagues who are in less fortunate circumstances, for, he said, very pertinently, there are but few of us who are well enough situated to be able to say that our families will be well provided for after our death.


The technical committee reported its unwillingness to make a definite recommendation in regard to the introduction of a normal saccharometer; although it had occupied most of its time with this matter during the year, it had reached the conclusion that an absolutely reliable instrument was not to be found.


All reports were referred to a special committee, appointed by the president, as follows:




W.J. Seib, Chicago; John Bauer, New York; George Weisbrod, Philadelphia; August Forn, Cincinnati; Franz Hahne, Allegheny; Anton Kimmich, Baltimore; William Breyer, Fort Wayne; Fr. Theurer, Milwaukee; Peter Alfermann, Brooklyn; S. Schorr, St. Louis; August Hook, Indianapolis.


The president also appointed the following committees; ON NOMINATIONS: L. Michel, New York; L. Erb, Philadelphia; John Kaufmann, Cincinnati; A. Hieronimus, Chicago; John Schneider, Clevelant; Jacob Hepp, Newark; Charles Anton, Pittsburg; William Simon, Buffalo; F. Hartung, St. Louis; N.G. Bernier, Erie, Pa. ON CONDOLENCE; Felix Geiger, (Bergner & Engle B.C.) Philadelphia; John Bauer, New York; M. Butz, Cincinnati.


The convention then adjourned until the following morning.




The meeting on the 15th opened at half past nine o'clock. The roll call was dispensed with. Mr. Peter Alfermann read the report of the special committee on reports which was adopted.


Mr. Phillip Hildenbrand, the brewmaster of John F. Betz & Son, Philadelphia, was awarded the prize of $50 for the essay on malt.


Fritz Hieronimus and Michael Sieben, Chicago, members who have retired from business, were unanimously elected honorary members of the association.


On behalf of the committee on condolence Mr. Felix Geiger read appropriate resolutions in regard to the following colleagues, who have died during the year: Louis Schwartz, of Newark; W. Roessler, of Chicago, and Adolph Lorch, of Pittsburg.


The resolutions were adopted by a rising vote.


A motion was made by Mr. Christian Schneider, of New York, that an international congress of brewmasters and maltsters be held in Chicago in 1893. The matter was referred to the new executive committee.




The convention then proceeded to vote for officers for next year, and the following gentlemen were declared elected:

            President- Christian Schneider, New York.

            First Vice-President- Louis Frisch, Chicago.

Second Vice-President- John Birkenstock, Philadelphia

Treasurer- Henry Auer, Chicago.

Secretary- Alfred Hieronimus, Chicago.

Executive Committee- Frank Hartung, St. Louis; Leo Gehly, New York; Michael Beck, Albany; Phil Kopff, Kansas City; Frank Hahne, Allegheny City; August Gruenwald, Philadelphia; Jacob Hepp, Newark; Fritz Hodecker, Rochester; John Schneider, Cleveland; Peter Alfermann, Brooklyn; August Hook, Indianapolis; Wm. Simon, Buffalo; John Knecht, Baltimore; Adolph Goetz, Grand Rapids; Oscar Miller, Milwaukee; Wm. Gerst, Cincinnati.




St. Louis was decided on as the place for holding the next annual convention, after adoption of votes of thanks to the retiring officers, the local association, the citizens of Philadelphia and the press, the convention adjourned.




The exercises of the convention wound up, as usual, with an elaborate banquet, which was served at Horticultural hall. The address of welcome was made by Mr. John Birkenstock, president of the local association. Responses were made to the following toasts: "The City of Philadelphia," by Dr. G. Kellner; "The United States Brewmasters' Association," by William Gerst; "The United States," by Ex-Mayor William H. Smith; "The Philadelphia Brewmasters' Association," by Leo Gehly; "The Press," by Dr. Joseph Bernt, and "The Ladies," by Otto C. Wolf.