Rudolph J. Schaefer, Jr. was my great-grandfather. We knew him as “Pie.” In 1980/1981, about a year before his death, he published “The Schaefer Story”. It’s a written account of his family – the Schaefer family – from 1752 in Wetzlar, Germany through May, 1981 in the suburbs of New York City. The foreward is from July, 1980 but there are notes included from 1981 – making me think there were some additions after the original writing. There are a total of 5 chapters in The Schaefer Story. Chapter IV is currently the only chapter included here due to the fact that it presents the entire Schaefer Beer story – it’s the public side of The Schaefer Story and the side that will be interesting to beer historians, fans of beer and all Schaefer People. Chapter IV is also a first-hand account from the man who ran the brewery from 1927 to 1968. The other 4 chapters touch on the brewing business but are more about the life of R.J. Schaefer, Jr and his family before him. We’ll see how it goes with Chapter IV before getting into the other chapters. At the very least I will add some brewery-specific excerpts from those chapters.
The text was tape recorded by RJS, Jr. and transcribed by Mary C. O’Connell, which was her profession. As a result the text tends to ramble, tack, jump and jibe. Chapter IV is 10,760+ words and there was no breakdown in the original text. My intent in rewriting The Schaefer Story is to stay as close to the original text as possible. Therefore, in lieu of inventing my own break down, re-chaptering, etc. I’ve chosen to simply break Chapter IV into 4 sections of somewhat equal length. So, if you intend on coming back to it, keep tabs on the section you’re reading.
Any comments, additional info, critique, etc. is welcome and is a major contributor as to why this is in a blog format. Also, from what I know of Pie, as a creative and forward-thinking marketing mind, I think he would have embraced the digital age, social media/networking, etc. and would enjoy reading The Schaefer Story on the web.
As the blogger, I am simply trying to preserve the history of The F. & M. Schaefer Brewing Company which, after becoming somewhat intimate with the text, transcends the history of just one brand of beer and enters into the realm of the history of the brewing industry, and maybe industry in general, from 1842 through Prohibition and into 1981 – 139 years in all. Within and throughout the text you’ll notice highlighted links to other web pages/sites. Hopefully these links will help paint a bigger, broader picture of the story.
There is much more to come in this story – both from the original text and other on- and off-line sources. Max’s Diary was just added – Maximilian’s (the M in F. & M.) personal diary from his Wetzlar, Germany to NYC voyage. In fact, the story is still developing. Schaefer is still a brand, now owned by the Pabst Brewing Company, and is still America’s oldest lager. I’ve setup a Twitter channel where I try to share small bits of Schaefer history, aggregate and share what others are saying about Schaefer, etc. If you are “Schaefer People,” following @schaeferstory on Twitter will be a good way to stay in, and become part of, the story.
Enjoy and please bring your comments.