Brewed with Style: The Story of the House of Heileman
No matter where your local watering hole is located, you have probably thrown back a brew or two from the house of Heileman. From Washington to Georgia, from Massachusetts to Arizona, the House of Heileman has criss-crossed the country’s brewing history, controlling over 400 brands of beer. Brewed with Style tells the story of how the little brewery from LaCrosse, WI became a force to be reckoned within the brewing industry.
The history of Heileman begins in 1850, when Gottlieb Heileman started a brewery in LaCrosse. When Gottlieb died in 1878, his wife Johanna took over the company, one of the first women to ever command the respect of running a brewery. Her guidance set the recipe, which allowed this brewery to run right through Prohibition. A number of presidents would take the helm after her death in 1917, including a son-in-law. The brewery was a strong regional player throughout the upper Mississippi River Valley.
This was to change dramatically when Roy Kumm took the reins in 1957, and began purchasing one small regional brewer after another. In 1967, he took the company into the South with the purchase of the George Wiedemann Brewery of Newport, KY, which brought Heileman into new territory. This new division quickly fueled the expansion machine. When Kumm took over, Heileman was the 39th largest brewery in the country. In 1971, when he died, Heileman was a 100-plus million dollar business, ranking a solid number 15 among U.S. brewers.
With Kumm’s passing, the son-in-law tradition continued as Russell G. Cleary took over. Heileman would now become a power in the bakery and snack foods industries. Cleary continued the expansions by purchasing Associated Breweries in 1972, Rainer & Grain Belt in 1977, Falls City in 1978 and Carling National in 1979. Heileman battled Schlitz, Pabst and eventually Alligator Bond from Australia.
The two authors do an exceptional job, giving the reader a front row seat on the 50 yard line of the gridiron beer battles. Open an Old Style and watch the saga of Heilman unfold over the last 157 years. When your journey is complete you will have new heroes, with names like Gottlieb, Roy and Russell. Brewed with Style was truly written with style.