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Monday, May 3, 2010

Ferment Historical Archives

From the Ferment National Historical Archives:

I came across an interesting bit of beer and brewery history online and decided that it would make an interesting addition to the Ferment National Historical Archives. It's a smallish booklet entitled: "The Production of Sound, Light, and Brilliant Ales for Summer Consumption" by O. F. Russell. The booklet itself makes note that it is "reprinted from the 'Country Brewers' Gazette' 1902. I will save a full description and review for another posting--what struck me initially were the advertisements in this booklet. The first is for Bedford's Malt Brushing, Polishing, and Screening machine. The second is for Hall's Patent Barrel Hoist. Not only do these ads provide us with a wonderful glimpse into the kind of of machinery used in the Victorian and Edwardian Eras, but it also shows just how similar times were in terms of publications made to reach and advertise to a targeted audience.

Before Anchor (which is now part of larger corporate entity) or Dogfish Head ushered in the microbrew craze of the twentieth century, there were plenty of single proprietor, low-volume breweries all over the world. And every new brewery tried to get a leg up on the competition, and technology and marketing have always gone hand-in-hand with promoting advancement and competition. You can look online or wander into Barnes and Noble and pick up issues of Zymurgist or any number of home brew related magazines. They're slick and fancy and published by the thousands and disseminated over the Internet. But are they so different than this pamphlet. I would say not. Modern magazines offer modern conveniences and new-fangled gadgets and methods to their audience. And this is important. Would we have half the craft breweries if there was no such thing as forklifts or modern electrical machinery? Maybe, maybe not.

It goes to show as well that the beer brewing industry supports a much larger network of business than merely a brewery and its workers. Entrepreneurs, inventors, engineers, marketing gurus, printers, and the newspaper and booksellers who sell publications such as this and the modern magazines we see today all join together to try to advance the cause of brewing. Whether it is someone offering help with Twitter today for a burgeoning microbrewery or an engineer who knows how to produce barrel hoists, the brewing industry works hand in hand with technology and the media.

This booklet and its advertisements do not offer a glimpse into the long-lost past as much as a wider view of a long tradition of constant innovation and promotion for the brewing industry.

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2 comments:

Lisa said...

There are many old brewing manuals and publications on Google Books as well - it's a great resource, especially if your German is passable. #myarchivesdegreecomesinhandysometimes

Ferment Nation said...

Thanks, Lisa! Good lookin' out!

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