- Born: 20 Aug 1822, Prussia, Germany
- Marriage: Eleonore HAUSER on 28 Jul 1853 in Detroit, Michigan, USA
- Died: 24 Jun 1882, Wayne County, Michigan, USA aged 59
- Buried: Elmwood Cemetery, Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, USA
Extract from "The Life of Bernard Stroh" by Ed Stroh
Johann Bernhard Stroh was born on 20 August, 1821 at 10:00 PM in the Parish of Kirn, an der Nahe, in the County of Kreuznach and the Governmental District of Coblenz. In 1822 this area became the western - most district of Prussia and was known as Rhenish Prussia. His father, Georg Friedrich, was a landowner and 2nd generation inn keeper and brewer. His mother was Juliana, born Nonweiler. The Stroh family was one of the four oldest in Kirn. The original family name was Stroh-schneider (straw cutter). Konrad Strohschneider arrived in Kirn about 1540 from nearby Kreuznach. Over the generations the family transitioned from being shoe cobblers, to being bakers and finally inn keepers and brewers. Bernhard was the youngest of three children; a brother, Carl Peter (1807-1853) and a sister, Anna Catharina (1809-1853).
Bernhard first appears in the Detroit Directory for 1852-53 showing the correct census of the city for 1852. He is listed under the name of Bernard Straw. It is not known whether this was an attempt on his part to Anglicize his name (Stroh = straw) or if the directory publishers took this upon themselves. His occupation is listed as 'brewer' and it indicates that he is living in a house on Hastings between Fort and Congress.
With the increase in capacity and sales Bernhard had the confidence to marry Eleonore Hauser On Sunday 28 July, 1853 in Detroit. The witnesses at the ceremony were August Gallet and George Schwenk . It is not known how the two met but there is an interesting theory.
Eleonore's older brother, Engelbert, is listed in the city directory as a beer peddler and living at 63 Catherine, just up the street from Bernhard's address on the other side of Brush. In all probability the two knew each other through business with the end result of Bernhard meeting Engelbert's sister.
Within a year Bernhard and Eleonore's first child, Bernhard Jr., was born 15 June 1854. Over the next fourteen years the other seven children were born in the following order:
- Julius: 3 February, 1856
- Laura: 14 May, 1857 (She died 15 December, 1858 and is buried with her parents in Elmwood Cemetery)
- Cornelia (Nellie): 1859
- George Bernhard: 5 April, 1861
- Emil: 23 September, 1862
- Rose: 2 September, 1866
- Robert: 2 July, 1868 (He died 3 May, 1869 and is buried with his parents in Elmwood Cemetery)
Extract from USA 1870 Census
Name: Bernard Stroh
Home in 1870: Michigan, USA
Value of real estate: $100,000
Value of personal estate: $10,000
Son: Bernard Stroh; age 16; born in Michigan.
Son: Julius; age 14; born in Michigan.
Daughter: Nelie; age 11; born in Michigan.
Son: George; age 9; born in Michigan.
Son: Emil; age 5; born in Michigan.
Daughter: Rosa; age 3; born in Michigan.
Extract from Find A Grave
Name: Bernhard Stroh, Sr.
Birth: 20 August 1822 in Germany
Death: 24 June 1882 in Wayne County, Michigan, USA
Note: Businessman. He left Germany in 1848, and joined a group of German settlers in Brazil for three years before arriving in America. He landed in Buffalo, New York heading by way of the Erie Canal. The boat he was on docked in Detroit. So Stroh took it upon him self to venture into the city. He liked what he saw and decided to stay. With a few hundred left from the Brazilian business venture he started a small brewery at 57, Catherine Street in Detroit. Soon after establishing his German brewery local patrons in Detroit aquired a desired taste for his German lager beer. Bernard Stroh would have his sons personally cart small kegs of beer to his customers by wheelbarrow. For over a century now, local Detroiters have enjoyed the same "fire-brewed" taste that the Stroh Family created over 150 years ago.
Spouse: Eleonore Hauser Stroh (1833 - 1868)
Burial: Elmwood Cemetery, Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, USA
Extract from Wikipedia
The Stroh Brewery Company was a beer brewery located in Detroit, Michigan. In addition to its own Stroh's brand, the company produced or bought the rights to several other brands including Goebel, Schaefer, Schlitz, Augsburger, Erlanger, Lone Star, Old Milwaukee, Red River, and Signature, as well as manufacturing Stroh's Ice Cream. The company was taken over and broken up in 2000 but some of its brands continued to be made by the new owners. Stroh's beer is currently made by the Pabst Brewing Company.
The Stroh family began brewing beer in a family-owned inn during the 18th century in Kirn, Germany. In 1848, during the German Revolution, Bernhard Stroh, who had learned the brewing trade from his father, emigrated to the United States. Bernhard Stroh established his brewery in Detroit in 1850 when he was 28 and immediately started producing Bohemian-style pilsner, which had been developed at the municipal brewery of Pilsen, Bohemia, in 1840. In 1865 he purchased additional land and expanded his business. He adopted the Lion's Crest from the Kyrburg Castle in Germany and named his operation the Lion's Head Brewery. (The lion crest is still visible in its advertising and product labels.)
Bernhard Stroh's original beer selling operation consisted of a basement brewing operation and was then sold door-to-door in a wheelbarrow. The new beer (Stroh's) sold door-to-door was a lighter-lager beer, brewed in copper kettles; copper kettles enhanced the rich flavor of the beer, promoting carmelization of the wort "while the fire brewed distilling made the beer lighter", thus forming a tradition of "pure water beers" without the heavier mineral content. Making the "new beer" lighter did not reduce the flavor.
Bernhard Stroh Jr. took charge of the brewery on the death of his father. He changed the brewery's name to the B. Stroh Brewing Company. With the introduction of pasteurization and refrigerated rail cars, Stroh was able to ship some of his beer as far as Florida and Massachusetts. In 1893 Stroh Bohemian Beer won a blue ribbon at the Columbian Exposition. The company's name was changed to The Stroh Brewery Company in 1902. In 1908, Bernhard Stroh's brother Julius Stroh took over the brewery. After a tour of famous European breweries, he introduced the European fire-brewing method in the Stroh brewery. Common in Europe before World War I, the fire-brewing process uses a direct flame rather than steam to heat beer-filled copper kettles. The company claims that the resulting higher temperatures bring out more of the beer's flavor.
During Prohibition, Julius Stroh operated the business under the name The Stroh Products Company, producing near beer (beer with its alcohol extracted), birch beer, soft drinks, malt products, ice cream, and ice. Though production of most of these items ceased when Prohibition ended in 1933, a special unit of the brewery continued to make Stroh's Ice Cream (this facility remained in Detroit until February 2007, when the operation was moved to Belvidere, Illinois, though the distribution facility in Detroit still remains).
Upon Julius Stroh's death in 1939, his son Gari Stroh assumed the presidency. Gari's brother John succeeded him in 1950 and became Stroh's chairman in 1967. Gari's son Peter, who had joined the company following his graduation from Princeton University in 1951, became president in 1968.
In 1964 the company made its first move toward expansion when it bought the Goebel Brewing Company, a rival across the street. The company had decided it could no longer compete as a local brewer and was about to move into the national scene. One reason was a costly statewide strike in 1958 that shut down Michigan beer production and allowed national brands to gain a foothold. When Peter Stroh took over the company in 1968, it still had not regained the market share lost in the strike 12 years previous.
Stroh ended a 40-year relationship with a local advertising agency for a large national agency and began targeting the larger national market. Led by creative director Murray Page, Stroh's came up with the slogan "The One Beer...", and by 1971, Stroh Brewery had moved from 15th to 13th place nationally. In 1972, it entered the top 10 for the first time. A year later it hit eighth place. Peter Stroh's willingness to depart from years of tradition enabled Stroh's to survive, but the changes were hard to swallow for many Stroh's employees. Stroh broke the company's tradition of family management and recruited managers from companies such as Procter & Gamble and Pepsico. He also introduced a light beer, Stroh's Light.
By 1978, Stroh's served 17 states when it produced 6.4 million barrels of beer. By this time, the original Detroit facility was 66 years old and had a capacity of seven million barrels annually. As it became difficult to make efficient shipments to new markets in the East, the company recognized that it required a new brewery. The F&M Schaefer Brewing Company had fallen victim to the Miller beer wars and Stroh's took over all of Schaefer's stock. In 1981, the combined breweries ranked seventh in beer sales. In addition, Stroh was able to take advantage of Schaefer's distributors in the northeastern part of the country. The acquisition also brought Stroh three new brands: Schaefer and Piels beers, and Schaefer's Cream Ale. The company now had a volume of over 40,000,000 barrels (6,400,000 m3) and 400 distributors in 28 states, Washington D.C., Puerto Rico, and other Caribbean islands.
In 1982, Stroh bid for 67 percent of the Schlitz Brewing Company. By spring of that year, Stroh had purchased the entire company, making Stroh's the third largest brewery in America. During the takeover, Schlitz fought a fierce battle in the courts trying to remain independent. Schlitz finally accepted the takeover when Stroh raised its offer from an initial $16 per share to $17, and the U.S. Justice Department approved the acquisition once Stroh agreed to sell either Schlitz's Memphis or Winston-Salem breweries.
On February 8, 1985, Stroh announced that it would close its 135-year-old brewery on Detroit's east side. Chairman Peter Stroh said that the facility was simply outdated and had no room to expand. The structure was imploded the following year.
Changing tastes and lifestyles began to eat into the company's success. Heavy debt\emdash the brewer took on over $500 million to finance its acquisition of Schlitz\emdash drained Stroh's ability to compete. Declining sales and severe financial problems conspired to put an end to a long brewing tradition. Cutbacks and layoffs failed to halt the bleeding. Peter Stroh, chairman of the company his family had founded a century and a half earlier, negotiated a deal to sell most of his beer operations to Coors Brewing Company. According to industry analysts, acquisitions made by Stroh's in the fiercely competitive beer industry ultimately made it weak. But the deal with Coors fell through and in 1987 Stroh's raised cash by redeveloping its former headquarters into Brewery Park, a modern office complex. Stroh's attempts in the mid- and late 1980s to diversify into other beverages\emdash such as White Mountain Cooler, a fruit-flavored drink with 5 percent alcohol, and Sundance sparkling-water fruit drinks\emdash met with little success. Stroh's sold its Stroh's Ice Cream operation to Dean Foods Company in 1988.
Stroh then implemented a three-pronged strategy to revitalize the company: developing new products, brewing beer under contract for other brewers, and expanding overseas. The new product area was critical because the explosion in beer brand and types of beer in the 1990s undermined the market share for all established brands. Stroh's strategy when seeking to enter the market for a new type of beer was to extend one or more of its existing brands. In the increasingly popular non-alcoholic beer segment, for example, Old Milwaukee Non-Alcoholic was introduced in 1991, while Stroh's Non Alcoholic debuted in 1993. Old Milwaukee NA quickly became one of the top three selling non-alcoholic brews. In the ice beer category, Stroh launched Old Milwaukee Ice, Schlitz Ice, Schlitz Ice Light, Bull Ice, and Schaefer Ice, all in 1994. Another hot category in the early and mid-1990s was the packaged draft beer; Stroh made its presence felt in this category as well with Stroh's Draft Light, Old Milwaukee Genuine Draft, and Schlitz Genuine Draft.
Another important new product area was specialty beer. Its popularity in the 1990s was led by the hundreds of microbreweries that arose to craft the beers, not by the industry leaders. Stroh and the other leaders, however, were not shut out of this category; in some cases they purchased all or part of microbreweries, in others they formed units to produce specialty beers. Stroh did both. It purchased the Augsburger brand in 1989 and over the next several years developed and introduced both specialty and seasonal brews under the Augsburger name. In 1994, Stroh launched Red River Valley Select Red Lager, a regional premium specialty beer produced by a division of the company's St. Paul, Minnesota, brewery called Northern Plains Brewing Company. Two years later, Red River Honey Brown Ale was introduced.
The international market provided growth opportunities for Stroh that were very limited in the stagnant, hyper-competitive U.S. market. In 1986 Stroh International, Inc., was created to begin to tap into these markets. Canada, India, Japan, Mexico, and Russia were the main targets of Stroh's overseas push. From 1992 through 1995, Stroh's international sales grew each year at rates exceeding 50 percent. In 1994, the company entered into a licensing agreement with Rajastan Breweries, Ltd. (located outside Delhi) to produce, distribute, and market Stroh's and Stroh's Super Strong beers in India. Stroh's was the first foreign beer brand to be launched in India, and the first to be sold in cans. Rajasthan Breweries sold Stroh's all over India; the brand is still recognized and remembered in India despite its not having been sold there for several years. The following year, an agreement was reached with Sapporo Breweries Ltd. of Tokyo whereby Sapporo began distributing Stroh's beer nationwide in Japan. By 1995, exports comprised more than 10 percent of overall Stroh sales.
In early 1995, William Henry assumed Peter Stroh's CEO position to become the first non-Stroh family member to hold that position for the company. The following year Stroh finally landed a long-sought-after target when it acquired Heileman for about $290 million. The Heileman purchase brought more than 30 brands to the Stroh family, many of which Heileman had itself acquired since its founding in LaCrosse, Wisconsin, in 1858. Among the more important brands were Colt 45 malt liquor, which when combined with Schlitz Malt Liquor, gave Stroh more than half of the malt liquor market.
Stroh neared the start of the 21st century in a much stronger position than it had entered the 1990s, but by the end of the decade, Stroh finally gave in to the pressures of the larger brewers and was acquired.
The end finally came on February 8, 1999, when Stroh announced that the 149-year-old brewer was selling its labels to the Pabst Brewing Company and Miller Brewing Company. John Stroh III, now company president and chief executive, said of the decision to sell: "Emotionally, it was an extremely difficult one to make, knowing that it would impact our loyal employees, and recognizing that it would mean the end of our family's centuries old brewing tradition that had become, in essence, an important part of our identity."
After the company's dissolution in 2000, some Stroh brands were discontinued, while others were purchased by other breweries. The Pabst Brewing Company acquired the most Stroh/Heilman brands. It currently produces Colt 45 malt liquor, Lone Star, Schaefer, Schlitz, Schmidt's, Old Milwaukee, Old Style, Stroh's, and St. Ides. The Miller Brewing Company got Mickey's Malt Liquor and Henry Weinhard's. Most other Stroh/Heileman brands disappeared after 2000.
Bernard married Eleonore HAUSER on 28 Jul 1853 in Detroit, Michigan, USA. (Eleonore HAUSER was born on 20 Feb 1833 in Baden-Württemberg, Germany, died on 13 Dec 1868 in Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, USA and was buried in Elmwood Cemetery, Detroit, Wayne County, Michigan, USA.)