Monday, June 21, 2010

Introducing The Peoples Brewing Company of Oshkosh

On June 21, 1913 The Peoples Brewing Company of Oshkosh announced they were open for business. The company introduced itself with a half-page advertisement in the Daily Northwestern that showed off their new brewery, told of the beers they were producing and asked the people of Oshkosh to give them a shot, “A Trial Is All We Ask.”

Daily Northwestern June 21, 1913
It was a quick start to a large-scale brewing business that had been little more than an idea bouncing around a table at the Revere Hotel two years earlier. In November of 1911, William C. Kargus, a former employee of the Oshkosh Brewing Company, filed articles of incorporation for what would become Oshkosh’s first and only cooperatively owned brewery. By the end of 1911, the group led by Kargus and Joseph J. Nigl had gathered approximately 200 shareholders and were looking for a brewhouse. They tried to purchase Charles Rahr’s Oshkosh brewery in January of 1912, but the deal fell through so they decided to build their own. A week later Peoples Brewing bought a block of land between Fifteenth and Sixteenth Streets on the east side of South Main. Construction of the new brewery began in April of 1912 (a couple blocks away The Oshkosh Brewing Company was just then wrapping up construction of its new brewery). A carpenter’s strike temporarily delayed construction, but a year and a month later the plant was fully operational and spilling out beer.

The first two beers Peoples Brewing produced were Asterweiss, a pasteurized, light-bodied, low-alcohol, beer sold in clear bottles; and their “Standard” beer, which would eventually come to be known as Aristos. Aristos sounds like the interesting one. It was their full-bodied, draught beer served from brown, pint bottles or wood barrels. Wood Barrels! I’m not much for nostalgia, but wouldn’t it be great to have an Oshkosh beer served from a wood barrel again?


  1. I have an old peoples brewing co bottle opener with the telephone no. 334 on it. Must be fairly old with a number like that.

  2. Phone numbers that were only 3 digits long are usually from a time when there were less than 1000 phones in the city.