|Arthur L. Schwalm|
He managed the brewery through its most expansive period and gained a prominence within the larger brewing community that few regional brewers enjoyed. He was vice-president of the Wisconsin Brewers Association and a director of the American Brewers Association. He would also be the last member of the original families who formed Oshkosh Brewing to lead the company.
When Arthur died in 1961 at the age of 76, he was still president of Oshkosh Brewing. The obituary that appeared for him in the Oshkosh Northwestern mentions that his interest in brewing was probably sparked by his grandfather, Leonhardt Schwalm, whom he never met. The piece omits any influence his father, Theodore Schwalm, may have had upon him. Two months after Arthur’s death, the company was sold to David V. Uihlein, of the family who controlled Milwaukee’s Schlitz Brewing.
|A. Thomas Schwalm|
From the vantage point of the 1940s, that ending to the story would have been entirely unexpected. Arthur Schwalm had groomed his son, A. Thomas Schwalm, to follow him into the beer making business and for a time, that’s the path he trod. After Graduating from the University of Wisconsin, A. Thomas Schwalm was trained as a brewer and was brewmaster for the Oshkosh Brewing Company through the 1940s.
But A. Thomas Schwalm’s brewing days came to an abrupt end in 1950 when his father-in-law, Oscar J. Hardy, died. Hardy was the owner and publisher of the Oshkosh Daily Northwestern and when he passed, A. Thomas Schwalm left the beer business and took over the paper with his brother-in-law, Samuel W. Heaney. Together they ran the Northwestern as co-publishers until 1994. A. Thomas Schwalm passed away in 1997. The following year the Northwestern was sold to Ogden Newspapers.
|Thomas Hardy Schwalm|
There was still beer in the Schwalm blood, though. A. Thomas Schwalm’s son, Thomas Hardy Schwalm, would follow the paternal tradition and establish a career in the beer business working for Schlitz, Strohs and in 1994 he became president of Barton Beers Ltd., then the largest independent beer importer in the United States. But Thomas Hardy Schwalm’s real claim to fame would be the SoBe line of teas and energy drinks. Yes, those big bottles filled with glowing fluid that you see at every gas station from coast-to-coast were conceived by an Oshkosh beer man. We’ve come a long way from Theodore Schwalm and the days of Chief Oshkosh Pilsner.