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tv   Miller Beer Brewing in Milwaukee  CSPAN  May 26, 2019 11:44pm-12:01am EDT

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fcc commissioner brandon carr talks about 5g and robo calls. he is joined by margaret harding mcgill, technology reporter for politico pro. >> we have elevated mobile calls to the top enforcement priority at the fcc. we are actually voting at our next open meeting on another address thiso issue. we are taking a lot of action to do it. i know it is an annoyance to consumers. it can be used for fraudulent activity. we are very focused on helping to solve this problem. announcer: monday at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span two. >> miller brewing company was founded here in 1855. next, we learn more about its history and the brewing history of the city.
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>> the word iconic is sometimes overused, but miller is certainly an iconic company in milwaukee' s presence. the company began here in 1855 and has been here ever since. it is the last of the major brewers still with us today. it was founded by frederick miller, an immigrant from germany who arrived here in 1855. he was born in 1824 in southern germany, the center of your culture. he came here with $9,000 in gold on his person. milwaukeearound in was kind of an obvious choice. a lot of reasons for that. barley becomes malt. hops are certainly a key ingredient. both are grown here. had winters at the time before refrigeration was done mechanically. importantly, this was the most german city in america. german triangle of
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milwaukee, cincinnati, in st. louis. all three became brewing centers on the strength of their german populations. milwaukee had a majority of germans. you have a lot of taste for beer here. he set up shop in what was called the plank road brewery just behind me here. the plank road went from milwaukee to a small town 60 miles from here. it had been started a few years before by members of a family that also started the pabst brewery. they did not make it. one died, one moved away. you have this vacant brewery. year, 1856, he made 1200 barrels, not even a morning's worth for milwaukee today. that was the seed. we are going to head down into the cave, the only surviving structure on campus. hand dug in 1849 at the then plank road brewery.
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the cave system here was built in 1849. by workers at the then plank road brewery. it was all hand done, making it the oldest surviving structure in milwaukee. the chamber we are in here is 15 feet wide, 18 feet high, and at one point stretched an additional 600 feet behind that mural behind us here. at one point we had 10 caves of that size which could store up to 12,000 barrels of beer. imagine, if you will, a series of large wooden storage racks similar to a wine cellar, stacked high with barrels. the primary purpose of the caves was to keep your cold, which we did through a sophisticated system called ice. each winter we would harvest delivered,s, have it it cost about $.72 a ton, packed it along the walls and covered
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it with sawdust and straw. the insulated nature of being underground was enough to keep ice intact with a median temperature between 36 and 40 degrees year round. the following winter, we would harvest more ice. that is how we kept beer cold for the better part of 50 years until the advent of mechanical refrigeration. now, unfortunately, this is the last surviving chamber of that cave system. the rest have either collapsed in on themselves or deteriorated beyond the point where they can be safely repaired. others, we intentionally filled in to accommodate building of new buildings as we expanded our brewery. >> other brewers who were active here, there were more than two dozen brewers. -- breweries in milwaukee before the civil war. around the same time frederick miller arrives here, he made a name for himself, so he became kind of a player, but never became during his lifetime more than the fourth-largest brewer in milwaukee. fourth or fifth place here is
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good for first in virtually every other american city. brewing played a huge role in milwaukee's economy for the first generation or two of city hood. milwaukee becomes a city back in 1846. what went on over the years, from the 1840's to the 1860's, they began to help grow the local market. there just were not enough germans here to drink all that beer. the more impressive ones became shipping brewers, and that meant adding market area year-by-year. a really big help was the chicago fire of 1871. that wiped out about half of chicago's breweries. milwaukee breweries were only too happy to fill that vacuum. to satisfy chicago's thirst. i think in the years after the fire of 1871, there was a full train of milwaukee beer going to chicago every day of the week. they didn't get off the mat, the chicago brewers, because milwaukee kind of filled that
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vacuum. that was really important in terms of milwaukee having this huge population center just 90 miles away. there was only one year back in 1891 the most important project -- for a while milwaukee was a major leather tanning center, a major flour center. what really kind of shifted milwaukee's perspective was manufacturing rising beginning in the 1870's or so, and until the recent past, what they call durable goods were our most important products. that is the metal bending. everything from machine tools, to howitzers during the war efforts, turbines, marine diesels. those became our stock in trade. the fact that you did not go down to a corner store to buy a mining shovel meant that they weren't advertising those on the mass market, but brewing, they were.
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even though 1890 was the only year it was our most important product, because of that advertising, it became cemented in the national consciousness that that milwaukee equals beer. >> welcome to our brewhouse. the brewing process begins one floor above us. we will combine water, cereal grain, and barley in a large tub called the mash tub. we will cook that for two to three hours into a substance called mash, which you can think of as brown, runny oatmeal. it will then flow down into one of our large copper kettles. think of that as a giant industrial sized coffee filter. we are going to strain out the spent grains and barley hops for the rich, sweet, sugary liquid we are after called wort. the wort will flow down into the brew kettles. we are going to take those spent grains and barley hops and dry them out.
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they are high in protein. we are able to sell those to local farmers for cow and chicken feed. as i mentioned, every single drop of beer we produce here is brewed in one of the six kettles down here. they are stainless steel inside and out, and 18 feet deep. they are much bigger than you can see here. at this stage, we are going to add the hops to the beer. they give it its bitter flavor and act as a preservative. after we have boiled them for about an hour, an hour and a half, we are going to strain out remaining solid ingredients and pump them over to our fermentation facility through an underground piping facility that runs under the street below. fermentation is where we add yeast. for many beers we still use the same strain of yeast our founder brought over in his pockets from germany. fermentation, it is a living organism, yeast is. it is going to digest the sugars produceches and
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essential byproducts. one is carbon dioxide, which gives it the bubbles. the other is alcohol. the entire process takes eight to 10 days. when we are done we are going to strain out the remaining yeast. we are going to sell that to local pet food companies. brewers yeast is a listed ingredient on any of your pet food. chase. may have come from a facility like ours. -- chances are it may have come from a facility like ours. we now send over to our aging facility. there we are going to keep it in large tanks away from light where it is going to blend together in a process called mellowing for about 10 days to two weeks. we are going to filter one final time. isaining impurities -- it finally ready to be bottled. the entire process depending on the brand is anywhere from three weeks to a month.
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for miller lite it takes exactly 21 days start to finish. miller high life, it is 25 days area -- 25 days. >> prohibition was a long, painful timeout that took away what had been a critical source of license revenue for local governments. i calculated a lot of licensed ins would have ended up inflation to pay for every library in the city it was a hit culturally. people had been accustomed to relaxing with a brew after work. some people described communal living rooms. they were the poor men's pub. there was the loss of a social outlet. the breweries had to do something else. pabst made everything from processed cheese to machine parts. they all made some form of soda
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water. .hey all made malt tonic they all made malt syrup. it was not illegal to make it. it was illegal to sell it. the public library could not keep the brewing manuals on the shelves. all these home brewers were hard at work. even though they tried to keep the doors open, it was never more than a fraction of capacity before prohibition. in miller's case it was really surprising. decided, what would be take? what is -- they decided $5 million is what they would take for the whole operation. -- the after prohibition same assets were listed for sale for $300,000. there were no takers.
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it really took the economic value, hollowed out the economic value. until 1933.ome back when beer came back, miller was among the brewers. all the majors are still in milwaukee. like a champagne cork being released. thispent-up demand created almost a frenzy of people wanting milwaukee beer. in to pick uping cases, a trucker comes in from wasings, montana, it really , finally, the drought is over and people are able to satisfy their thirst again. >> welcome to our distribution center. -- thewery consists of
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total area is 200,000 square feet. that is five nfl football field side-by-side. store up to 750,000 cases of beer at any one time. that sounds like a lot. it certainly is. we have the capacity to package up to 600,000 cases of beer each and every day. that does not give us much time or space to keep things. everything you see here is going to get shipped out and replaced with new products within the next 24 to 38 hours. each truck can carry 2000 2500. that sounds like a lot. let me put that in perspective. if you were to drink at a six pack a day each and every day it would take you 22 and a half years to drink all the beer on just one semitruck. between 200 and 250 of those every day.
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>> long story short, there has been a lot of consolidation. a lot of merger acquisition activity in the beer market internationally. in pabst's case, they were purchased by a california investor in 1996. that left miller as the old 19th century brewer, the last one standing. the big change here was the purchase by phillip morris in 1969. they were master marketers. what they did was in 1972, they bought a brand called light beer from chicago that had been marketed as a diet pure for women. they really -- diet to be your -- diet beer for women. they retooled it.
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every professional athlete in the country was enlisted. the result was between 1969 and 1977, miller moved from number seven in the country to number two. it was a remarkable case study of how you market your way to success area it really established miller brewing is not just the last major standing in milwaukee, but with anheuser-busch, one of the largest in the country. and we is just indelible are looking at everything from the miller high life theater where you see shows downtown to the miller park where the rivers play. -- the brewers play. ofis a tangible expression economic legacy that remains important in the present. announcer: our cities to her staff recently traveled to milwaukee to learn about its rich history.
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to watch more video from milwaukee and other stops, visit c-span.org/cities tour. you are watching american history tv >> next on "the presidency," for the east tennessee historical society, james k. polk scholars talk about his ancestry, politics and policies. this panel was part of the two day conference marking the completion of the 60 year project to assemble and edit polk's papers at the university of tennessee. >> ok, i think we are ready to begin. my name is connie lester. i am an associate professor at the university of central florida. i have moved forward from polk. i worked on his papers as a graduate student and i have moved forward from polk. my area of expertise is the end of reconstruction to world war

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