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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Milwaukee Brewing History

Beer Brewing History in Milwaukee

Long before Wisconsin became America's Dairyland, Wisconsin was a beer state. Brewing began in Wisconsin in the 1830s, and by the 1890s, nearly every community had at least one operating brewery. Breweries were as much a part of Wisconsin communities as churches and schools. They supplied steady employment to workers, bought grain from local farmers who in turn often fed brewery by-products to their livestock, and they frequently sponsored community festivals, youth groups, and sports teams. Brewing was intimately tied to Wisconsin's people, particularly its German immigrants, who brought their knowledge and skills with them to North America. Despite beer's popularity and importance to community life, from its beginning the brewing industry fought numerous attempts to restrict its consumption and distribution. Nineteenth century temperance activists and, most profoundly, in the twentieth century prohibition legislation both curtailed its influence.

The process of mashing, boiling, and fermenting grain dates back thousands of years. Beer came to northern Europe around 55 BCE with Julius Caesar's Roman legions and by the Middle Ages, it had become part of everyday life because the boiling and fermenting process made it relatively free of contamination. European settlers brought their beer with them to North America. The first commercial brewery opened in New Amsterdam, now New York City, in 1612. As immigration and settlement increased and the population moved westward, breweries followed, and by the 1850s, Milwaukee was contending with St. Louis for brewing supremacy.

Although Owens Brewery is generally considered the first commercial brewery in Wisconsin (opened in 1840), some evidence seems to suggest that at least two others, one in Mineral Point and one in Elk Grove, were operating before 1840. As Owens Brewery grew, its success soon brought competition, not only in Milwaukee, but across the state. Between 1848 and 1849, twelve breweries opened in Wisconsin: Adam Sprecher in Madison, Frederick Heck in Racine, and August Fuermann in Watertown were among the most prominent brewers. By 1860, nearly 200 breweries operated in Wisconsin, over 40 in Milwaukee alone. Virtually every town had a brewery and in some cases, towns formed around breweries.

The growth of the beer industry in Milwaukee was directly related to the city's large number of German immigrants. In the 1840s, Milwaukee began to take on a distinctly German character as waves of immigrants seeking economic opportunity and, particularly, religious and political freedom settled in the area. German consumers' demand for lager, a German brew, greatly expanded the city's beer industry and provided a large customer base for brewers. Many of these German immigrants were experienced brewers, too, saving owners both time and money in training. The skills and experience of the German immigrants combined with Milwaukee's abundant natural resources -- a good harbor, lumber for barrels, and ice for storage -- to make Milwaukee, and Wisconsin, a giant in the brewing industry.

Despite beer's popularity among Wisconsin immigrants and the rapid growth of breweries, alcohol consumption became a controversial issue in Wisconsin. Many of Wisconsin's first white settlers came from New England, which was a stronghold of temperance. Temperance societies formed around the state, and even Milwaukee, the center of Wisconsin brewing, had one (the Sons of Temperance Grand Division) by 1848. Several northern states passed prohibition laws in the 1850s, and although Wisconsin did not go that far, an 1849 law made tavern owners responsible for any costs associated with supporting drunkards. Not surprisingly, Wisconsin's German population bitterly opposed the law, arguing that it undermined individual responsibility and imposed too harsh a penalty on tavern owners. In 1851, the Legislature replaced the law with a milder version.

Several more attempts were made to restrict alcohol production and consumption in the 1850s but no major measures were passed again until the 1870s. In 1872, the Legislature passed the Graham Law, which again made tavern owners responsible for selling liquor to known drunks. Milwaukee's city attorney challenged the law but the Wisconsin Supreme Court held that the Legislature had the right to regulate the sale of alcohol. With no luck in the courts, German Americans shifted attention to the politicians themselves, helping to defeat the Republican administration that had passed the Graham Law in 1873. The Graham Law was replaced the following year with a law that encouraged towns to work with taverns to prevent drunkenness. The new version of the law turned out to be a workable compromise for both German Americans and temperance activists, staying in effect for many years.

Temperance represented something far more complicated in Wisconsin than a simple battle between those who drank and those who did not. German immigrants often remained strongly attached to their historical and cultural roots, frequently taking uniform stands on political and social issues such as alcohol and German-language education in schools (see "Americanization and the Bennett Law"), and resisting efforts at assimilation to Yankee cultural norms. Moreover, saloons were increasingly seen as urban institutions and came under attack by rural people who sought to resist the problems associated with them. Temperance, therefore, became symbolic of battles between Yankees and Germans, urban and rural residents, and teetotaling Protestants and seemingly more broad-minded Catholics. All of these forces grew in intensity, particularly during World War I when anti-German sentiment was especially strong, and contributed to the passage of national prohibition, the Volsted Act, in 1919.

With Prohibition, many breweries began to make near beer while others began to produce soda, ice cream, and cheese. Some brewers made malt syrup and other products which individuals could use for home brewing. Many breweries eventually had to close--some forever. In 1926, Wisconsin voters approved a referendum amending the Volsted Act that allowed the manufacture and sale of beer with 2.75 percent alcohol. In 1929, voters repealed Wisconsin's prohibition enforcement law, the Severson Act. Pledging loyalty to the "will of the people" as expressed in these referendums on alcohol, Wisconsin Senator John J. Blaine proposed a constitutional amendment for the repeal of prohibition. The U.S. Senate modified Blaine's resolution to satisfy antiprohibitionists and passed the measure without delay. On December 5, 1933, the Twenty-first Amendment was ratified and national prohibition ended.

Today, brewing remains an important part of Wisconsin life, although the brewing industry has changed dramatically from its small community origins. Consolidation and commercialization has brought national, and even international, distribution for some Wisconsin breweries, while a few small brewers have survived through niche marketing and regional loyalty.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Breakfast with Santa Muskego Lions Club

The Muskego Lions Club is proud and excited to announce its 42nd annual Breakfast with Santa event! Enjoy one of Muskego's greatest holiday traditions! Here are the details:

What: Breakfast with Santa
When: Sunday, December 13, 2015, from 8am-12:30pm
Where: Muskego High School, cafeteria

Please use the entrance on Woods Road


Adults - $6
Children 4-12 - $3
Under 4 - Free
Photos - $3 each or 2/$5

There will also be raffles, local crafters, a girl scout bake sale, and face painting!

Walker's Point Milwaukee

Walker's Point: A Place Worth Visiting

Walker's Point is a neighborhood that lies south of the Third Ward and the eastern part of the Menomonee River Valley. Founded by George H. Walker in 1835 as a fur trading post, the area is now noted for being mostly an industrial neighborhood, with housing scattered in pockets throughout the area, particularly on the eastern end of Walker's Point.

Over the past several years there have been a lot of changes in Milwaukee’s Walker’s Point neighborhood. New restaurants and businesses are replacing many of the vacant, rundown buildings. This area was once dominated by manufacturing and industry, drawing waves of German, Polish and, more recently, Hispanic immigrants to work the plentiful blue-collar jobs. With the factory preeminence diminished, many of the unused industrial and warehouse spaces are being repurposed for a new generation. Walker’s Point’s boundaries are fairly fluid, but the neighborhood commonly is defined by the Milwaukee River to the north, the expressway to the west, Beecher Street to the south and by Lake Michigan or the inner harbor to the east. “We are a neighborhood of craft industries and makers,” says Joaquin Altoro, vice president of the Walker’s Point Association. “In truth, the maker history goes so far back here that it is part of the DNA of the neighborhood, even today.”

Many food and beverage makers have settled into the Walker's Point area. Urban cheese factory, Clock Shadow Creamery (138 W. Bruce St.), opened three years ago and has the distinct honor of being Milwaukee’s first cheese producer. Purple Door Ice Cream (205 S. 2nd St.) arrived in 2014 and creates some of the most delicious ice cream you’ll find. These are just two examples of local businesses which go out of their way to work with local farmers and other area producers, following green and sustainable practices.

If craft beer or spirits are more your thing, Walker’s Point has plenty of places to whet your whistle. One of Milwaukee’s newest breweries, Brenner Brewing Company (706 S. 5th St.), not only makes delicious beer, but also supports the local arts and music scene and offers space in the same building as the brewery for artists’ use. Milwaukee Brewing Company and Central Standard Craft Distillery (613 S. 2nd St.) are separate businesses but share a building. Interestingly, the head distiller for Central Standard used to be a brewer for Milwaukee Brewing Company. The well-established Great Lakes Distillery (616 W. Virginia St.) is perhaps the best-known distiller in the state.

Rockwell Automation has their headquarters in Walker's Point. The Allen-Bradley Clock Tower, part of the Rockwell complex, is an icon of the neighborhood and is the world’s largest four-faced clock, as listed in Guinness World Records. Esperanza Unida, a community-based nonprofit organization, is located on the western end of Walker's Point. Data security software provider and ZIP file creators PKWARE relocated their headquarters to the neighborhood in 2014. Local architecture firm Plunkett Raysich Architects, LLP relocated from its long-time location on the northwest side to the neighborhood in May of 2015. Walker's Point has recently been referred to as the "Fifth Ward," by real estate agents and promoters, as it is becoming increasingly desirable as a place to live, work and visit.

WCTC Small Business Connections Networking Group

Click the image to enlarge. Here are details for the upcoming Waukesha County Technical College Small Business Connections Networking Group meeting on Wednesday, 12/2/15, from 6pm-9pm.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Independent Music Stores Milwaukee

Independent Record and Music Stores in the Milwaukee Area

Milwaukee is great for independent music stores when you know where to find them. This guide will help you discover the best of them.

The Exclusive Company
Address: 1669 N Farwell Ave, Milwaukee
Phone Number: 414-271-8590; Website:
As America's Oldest Full-line Independent Record Store, The Exclusive Company has seen the music industry transition from 78s to digital downloads. Prior to opening the doors of its first retail location in 1956, The Exclusive Company’s founder and current president, Mr. G., got his entrepreneurial start in the early ‘50s by selling records out of the trunk of his car and at flea markets. A few short years later, in 1956, Mr. G. opened the first Exclusive Company location on Main Street in West Bend, WI. The Exclusive Company currently has 7 locations throughout Wisconsin in Appleton, Green Bay, Greenfield, Oshkosh, West Bend, Janesville and on Milwaukee's East Side.

Off The Beaten Path
Address: 1938 N Farwell Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53202
Phone Number: 414-224-1550; Website:
From the Owner: "With a variety of offerings to choose from, I'm sure you'll be happy with our Record Store. Look around our website and if you have any comments or questions, please feel free to contact me. Whether you are looking for some rare LP's or CD's, stereo equipment or rock memorabilia we have something to fit your style."

Acme Records
Address: 2341 S Kinnickinnic Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53207
Phone Number: 414-882-9797

The Exclusive Company
Address: 5026 S 74th St, Milwaukee, WI 53220
Phone Number: 414-281-6644; Website:
Indie record store buying, selling & trading new & pre-owned music (LPs, CDs), movies & games.

RushMor Records - Music & Video
Address: 2635 S Kinnickinnic Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53207
Phone Number: 414-481-6040; Website:
From the Owner: "We offer NEW/used vinyl and compact discs, DVDs, t-shirts and more.
Rushmor specializes in modern rock, punk & hardcore, progressive/Euro-rock, rockabilly, and heavy metal music. IMPORTS from around the World! We PROUDLY support local independent music.

Bullseye Records
Address: 1627 E Irving Pl, Milwaukee, WI 53202
Phone Number: 414-223-3177
A good old-fashioned independently owned and operated used CD and record shop. New LPs are also stocked according the employees' and owners' whims. Well organized by 2 guys who know a lot about the music they're selling.

Always check about opening times before visiting, as these can vary quite a lot. Remember that with independent stores, things work very differently from place to place. This, after all, is the joy of having them!

Bay View Milwaukee

About Milwaukee's Bay View Neighborhood

Milwaukee is an extremely diverse city, and nearly every neighborhood has its own unique atmosphere and look. Bay View is one of the best known neighborhoods in Milwaukee, and its residents are fiercely proud of their piece of the city.

Bay View Statistics

Population: 18,071
Median Age: 38.2
Median Income: $42,954
Average Home Price: $129,415
Parameters: Bay View is roughly bordered by Lake Michigan to the east, Morgan and Oklahoma to the south, I-94 and 1st Street to the west, and Jones Island to the north.

Because its boundaries are quite imprecise, and have changed many times, many south-siders not technically in the neighborhood do still consider themselves as Bay View residents.

In 1855, the first train depot in the area was constructed here on South Bay Street, creating a new link between Milwaukee and the bustling port of Chicago, 100 miles to the south. Then, in 1868 the Milwaukee Iron Co. Was established, and Bay View quickly turned into a thriving village of steel workers. On May 5, 1886, this working class solidarity would result in tragedy when Wisconsin National Guardsmen fired on a crowd of striking workers, killing seven. Known as the Bay View Tragedy, this event was the worst display of government backlash against organized workers in state history.

Today, Bay View maintains its blue-collar feel, although properties along the lake of course run higher than in interior parts of the city. Despite it's working class roots, you'll find that most parts of Bay View retain a high owner occupancy rate, and that the homes and properties are very well kept. Housing stock in the area varies from small cottages built by steel workers in the 1800's to Victorians and Milwaukee bungalows. Bay View's early days as a village helped create a degree of self-sufficiency for residents of today.

The main thoroughfares of Kinnickinnic Avenue, Howell and Oklahoma, among others, are dotted with shops and restaurants, and other entertainment venues -- in fact, over the past decade, the small, independent character of these main streets have attracted a number of young entrepreneurs to the neighborhood, who in turn have opened a number of unique businesses. As a result, Bay View could easily be considered one of the most fashionable neighborhoods in Milwaukee.

Celebrities From Wisconsin

Wisconsin Celebrities

Here is a small sampling of the great minds and talent to come out of Wisconsin.

Wisconsin can boast of giving birth to many great and well-loved celebrities who have now become famous around the world. The list is extensive, but here are some of the best-known ones.

American character actor Al Molinaro was loved by television audiences for his recurring roles on The Odd Couple and Happy Days. He was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on June 24, 1919 and played the supporting roles of the policeman Murray the Cop on The Odd Couple and drive-in owner Al Delvecchio on Happy Days. He later made guest appearances in many other television series and commercials.

U.S. Representative Paul Ryan is a Republican from Wisconsin who, in the 2012 presidential election, was the running mate of Republican nominee Mitt Romney. Ryan was elected to become speaker of the House in late October 2015. He was born on January 29, 1970, in Janesville, Wisconsin and has been serving as the U.S. representative of Wisconsin's Congressional District 1 since 1999. He became the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee in January 2015.

Mark Ruffalo is an environmental activist and actor who has become known most recently for his portrayal of Bruce Banner/The Hulk in the movie 'The Avengers.' Born on November 22, 1967, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Mark Ruffalo made his stage debut in 1990, and a decade later his career took a major turn with a role in the film You Can Count on Me. Parts in such high-profile films as Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Shutter Island followed, and 2012 took Ruffalo to a new level of fame when he portrayed the Hulk in the smash live-action film The Avengers.

Marissa Mayer led the development of Google's most successful products for more than 10 years and was appointed CEO of Yahoo in 2012 at the age of 37. She has said "I helped build Google, but I don't like to rest on (my) laurels. I think the most interesting thing is what happens next." Born on May 30, 1975, in Wausau, Wisconsin, Marissa was appointed CEO of Yahoo in 2012. Prior to joining Yahoo, she spent 13 years at Google, where her work in product development largely contributed to the site's unique look and feel. At the time of Mayer's Yahoo appointment, she was one of only 20 female CEOs in charge of a Fortune 500 company.

Chris Noth is an actor who is best know for his roles as a detective on the television drama series Law & Order and as Big on HBO's Sex in the City. Chris was born November 13, 1954, in Madison, WI. He made his feature film debut in Smithereens in 1982. In the late 1980s, Noth moved increasingly from theater toward roles in film and television. In 1990, he landed the role of Detective Mike Logan on the critically acclaimed drama series, Law & Order. In 1998, he took the role of Mr. Big on the HBO series Sex and the City.

Tyne Daly is an award-winning actress of stage and screen, known for a wide array of projects that include ‘Cagney & Lacey,’ ‘Judging Amy’ and ‘Gypsy.’ Born in 1946 in Madison, Wisconsin, Tyne Daly came from a thespian family and went on to pursue an acting career of her own, starring as a policewoman in The Enforcer (1976) and then as Mary Beth Lacey in the hit cop series Cagney & Lacey.

Actor Gene Wilder become extremely famous when he played the title character in Mel Stuart's film adaptation of 'Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory.' Gene began his movie career in 1967's Bonnie and Clyde, but he became famous as a favorite of writer/director Mel Brooks. His wacky roles in films such as Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, Blazing Saddles and Young Frankenstein have made him an unforgettable comedy icon. In his later years, Wilder has become a serious novelist, writing a memoir and several novels. He was also married to fellow actor/comedian Gilda Radner.

Les Paul was a musician who designed a solid-body guitar in 1941, which then was a new type of instrument. He said “The only reason I invented these things was because I didn't have them and neither did anyone else. I had no choice, really.” Les designed a solid-body electric guitar in 1941, but by the time it was ready for production by Gibson in 1952, Leo Fender had already mass-produced the Fender Broadcaster four years earlier, thus beating Paul to popular credit for the invention. However the Les Paul acquired a devoted following, and its versatility and balance made it the choice instrument of many rock guitarists.

And then of course, there is Liberace.