Julius Stroh was seventy-seven in 1933 and had been in charge of Stroh’s since 1908. In his time as president, he and his head brewer, Otto Rosenbusch, started heating the beer in copper kettles with direct fire. A process Otto witnessed at the Municipal Brewery of Pilsen in Bohemia (Urquell). They also built a new brew house that was completed in 1914.
More importantly, Julius Stroh bought the company time so it would survive prohibition. They got by making pop, malt syrup and, more famously, ice cream. The malt syrup was sold for confectionery purposes but everyone knew it was for homebrewing. The ice cream was very successful and can still be bought today. Although, it is no longer made in Michigan. The most important prohibition product they made and sold was near beer. It was called “Temperance Beer” and it was poor quality .5% beer. The label had the words “serve ice cold” on it which helped mask the taste. One of the big breweries still advertises this today (I don’t want to mention the name of the brewery but Rocky Mountain spring water is involved). Stroh’s had been the only brewery in Detroit that secured a license to sell near beer. Due to the process of making near beer he had a cellar full of beer waiting for dealcoholization. Because of this, Stroh’s was the only brewery that had beer already in stock when the Volstead Act was amended. This gave them a huge head start on the competition . Stroh’s supplied Detroit and surrounding areas with its first legal beer in 15 years.
On the eve of legal beer back in 1933, Julius Stroh ran articles about imbibing correctly and in moderation. I am only speculating, but I imagine he wrote these articles for a few reasons: One, it was good publicity. Two, low quality beer is all people had been drinking for the last 15 years and the citizens needed to be educated on properly drinking good beer. Three, it may have been driven by the fear of the future of his business. 3.2 beer was legal in less than half of the states in America, and prohibition was still the law of the land. As of May 11th 1933 (the day the article was printed) only 3 states had voted in the 21st amendment. News of debauchery, alcohol poisonings and deaths might make citizens think twice that ”the noble experiment” (prohibition) needed to end.
The article below is from the May 11, 1933 Monroe Evening News. The rest of the story was supplied by Peter H. Blum and his book “Brewed in Detroit”
Here is the art of drinking beer as revealed by Julius Stroh, brewer, who believes that beer drinking is an art and not a vulgar means of filling your stomach.
“Be temperate in your consumption. Whether it’s beer, buttermilk, soda water or pop too much of it might lead to regrets.”
“Never gulp your beer, because it is bad manners. It should be sipped slowly and leisurely. loss of the carbonic gases and flattening of the head will not affect the flavor.”
“Serve beer in a thin crystal- clear goblet. If you wish to admire its color. Otherwise a heavy mug will do.”
“The container should never be used for milk or beverages containing butterfat or grease. Grease prevents the beverage from coming to a proper head. All glasses should be cleaned with a scrubbing brush or salt.”
“Beer should never be served at a temperature above 50 degrees and below 45 degrees.”
“The size of the collar has nothing to do with the taste. High collars make the glass more inviting in appearance, though not popular with the majority of consumers.”