A lot of the focus in beer today focuses on the now. There is a wealth of history that exists and on this episode of the Drink Beer, Think Beer podcast host John Holl is talking with Clint Lanier, the author of “Ted Mack and America’s First Black Owned Brewery: The Rise and Fall of Peoples Beer.”
There are some excellent history books about beer that exist in the world. Most will focus on broad categories, but there are some that do a deep dive into a single topic or person that really give us a sense of time, place, and purpose.
There are often lessons to be learned about where beer is today.
This is from the blurb:
Born a sharecropper in rural Alabama in 1930, Theodore A. (Ted) Mack, Sr., fought in the Korean War and then played football at Ohio State while earning a college degree. Brewing and selling beer, he believed, would be just another peak to attain.
After all, it couldn’t be more challenging than his experience in organizing buses to the March on Washington or picketing segregated schools in Milwaukee.
This is the story of Mack’s purchase of Peoples Brewing Company in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Though he had carefully planned for the historic acquisition, he underestimated the subtle bigotry of Middle America, the corruption of the beer industry, and the failures of the federal government that plagued his ownership. Mack’s ownership of Peoples Brewing is an inspirational story of Black entrepreneurship, innovation and pride at a time when America was at an important racial justice crossroads.
The author is Clint Lanier. He’s is an assistant professor of English at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico. His writing about travel, history, food and drink has appeared in the Huffington Post, Eater, and Fodors.