Page 32 - Scene Magazine 44-12 December 2018
P. 32

Scene In Time
ery history of Battle Creek?
I found six breweries with the
Creek Health Beer.
Because of the back and forth of
same time was Silver Foam Brewery. They remodeled the old Battle Creek Brewing Company and hired brewmas- ter Casper Heihnle. Early on they got into a legal feud with a Grand Rapids Brewery with the name Silver Foam.
The courts ruled in favor of Battle Creek. They bragged about their beer giving you “Robust Health.” In 1939, they had the magician Blackstone here at the Bijou telling the audience to refresh themselves after the show with Silver Foam. Because of a shortage of workers and materials, they closed in 1943 due to the war but continued to make ice, getting the Fort Custer contract.
dry with the latter usually predom- inant. Even when allowed, alco- holic beverages were restricted in selling times.
In 1915 they simply stopped any brewing and changed to the Battle Creek Ice and Cold Storage Com- pany. They flourished by getting the Camp Custer contract in 1917.
There were some national brands here who bottled beer here (Pabst, Budweiser, Schlitz) but I did not get into researching them. They did give major competition to the local breweries. One of the things that caught my attention was a 1903 Anheuser Busch ad for Malt-Nutrine for nursing mothers! At the same time, the Battle Creek Brewing Company said they had Malt-Tonic for the nerves. Their ad said “pours strength into your blood, builds tissue, muscle, bone, and sinew.” Wondering whether this was a scam, I called local pharmacist extraordinaire Jim Middleton, an expert on patent medicine. He said this was legitimate because it functioned like Ensure would now. Invalids could also drink it to put on weight. The brewers were supervised to make sure there was minimal alcohol content in it as it could still reach 2%.
Most beer was local in the
19th century because it was hard
to transport. A history of beer in Kalamazoo pointed out that most
drug stores had hops to sell and
I found that many taverns were
making their own brews. In 1867
I found an unnamed brewery that
was near the mill race on Lydia
Street (Fountain). They brewed ale for several years. John Stahl Brewery came next from 1872 to 1875 first on Cliff and then Canal (Monroe). His brewery was a social center with the German Club and Irish Club using it for meetings. Good music was always provided but Stahl got disgusted with numerous arrests for vio- lating selling times and left for Franken- muth in 1875.
From 1920 to 1933 Prohibi- tion prevailed. In 1933 Food City Brewing Company and Silver Foam Brewing Company were or- ganized. Food City was set up at 200 Elm Street near the railroad tracks. The supervising engineer
In 1900 the Battle Creek Brewing Company was organized on the corner of McCamly and Hamblin where the U.S.
of the city’s reputation as a health center, they advertised America’s Health City Beer. In a beer called Old Style Vienna Beer, they said “A GOOD BEER: made in Battle Creek by Battle Creek People, for Battle Creek people.” They went out of business in 1941 and Rich Manufac- turing purchased the place making valves
In the 1970s microbreweries became popular and Arcadia was established here in 1996 but moved to Kalamazoo in 2012. Now we have Territorial Brewing Company on Helmer. Watch for infor- mation because they are moving their tap room/restaurant over to 1600 Avenue A soon while their brewery operation will remain at 6th Avenue and 28th Street. Other breweries like Handmap and New Holland are on their way to Battle Creek.
Today micro- breweries are very popular. I grew up in Bay City, Michi- gan with local area beers like Geyers, Frankenmuth and Sebewaing but what about the brew-
Post Office is now. Their grand opening was July 11, 1901 with William Weckler as brewmaster. Homes were built for Weckler and workers between McCamly and Carlyle. They advertised the clean- liness of the water from their own wells. Taking advantage of the health reputation of the city, they called their brew Battle
for planes and tanks for the war effort. The other company developed at the
WHAT’S IN A NAME: Battle Creek Breweries
first called City Brewery. It is in an early 1860 photo of downtown Battle Creek. There is very little informa- tion about it except one newspaper article where authorities were trying to get rid of it. Battle Creek went back and forth between wet and
dry and wet options, they moved their brewing to Kalamazoo in 1909. The brewery here became an ice company
but also concentrated on a non-alco- holic temperance drink called Golden
Dew. They still got into trouble as the sheriff said it had alcohol in it.
was from the famous J. E. Seibel Company of Chicago. They said
they were the first brewery in America
to use glass kettles. With the Postum German band to provide music, they opened for business in April of 1934 with 80 employees. Again taking advantage
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There is an interesting history of early Kalamazoo breweries (1837 to 1915)
at the Kalamazoo Public Library site. The Historical Society of Battle Creek is working on one with more extensive in- formation than I can provide here. Watch for its publication in the next several years. Please support them as well as the Regional History Museum. Love where you live.

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