Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Pieces of Peoples

On June 18, 1974 the equipment and fixtures of the Peoples Brewing Company were put on the auction block. The brewery had been closed for almost two years and the Small Business Administration was now seeking to recoup some of its losses after Peoples had defaulted on the $390,000 loan the SBA had guaranteed. Buyers representing Pabst, Leinenkugel’s and other brewing concerns were on hand looking to scoop up brewery supplies on the cheap. But the best deal may have been made by an Oshkosh kid named Dave Gehrke. “I decided to walk over and check things out,” Gehrke says. “I was hoping to come away with a free souvenir, so I found the auctioneer and asked him. He wanted to get rid of a pesky 14 year old (me), so he told me I could rummage through the file cabinets in the business office.”

The pictures below show what he came away with. These are printer’s art-boards from the mid-1950s containing designs for the Peoples logo and, what were then, their new tap handles. They’re one-of-kind pieces; the sort of stuff collectors of breweriana go wild for. Nice to know that while the big guys were licking their chops over the bones of the brewery, an Oshkosh kid was preserving a few small piece of our brewing history.

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