Monday, August 11, 2014

OBC in '63

Here’s a sunny look at how things were going at the Oshkosh Brewing Company in 1963. In January that year Brewers Digest, a trade publication for the brewing industry, ran a feature article on OBC and its new owner David Uihlein. It’s a friendly piece written by Nancy Moore Gettelman, who was no stranger to David Uihlein. Gettelman was the wife of Tom Gettelman, the last president of the A. Gettelman Brewing Co. of Milwaukee. The Uihlein family owned Schlitz and had known the Gettelmans for decades.

Thanks to Austin Frederick, you can now read it yourself. Austin recently came across a copy of the article at Folklore in Oshkosh. He’s scanned it and made it a downloadable PDF on his excellent history blog. To get your copy, go HERE and click the image to download the file.

As you read the article, notice the contradiction that’s inherent in much of what David Uihlein has to say about beer and the brewing industry. Here’s a little background for that: Uihlein purchased OBC in 1961. At that time, Schlitz was still the second largest American brewery and the Uihlein family owned 82 percent of all Schlitz stock. That fact shadows Uihlein’s talk of small business and independence.

Three years after this article appeared, OBC was in precipitous decline. And two years after selling OBC in 1969, Uihlein was voted onto the board of directors of the Jos. Schlitz Brewing Co. Uihlein certainly didn’t come here to destroy the Oshkosh Brewing Company, but you can hardly blame people in Oshkosh for thinking that he did.

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