Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Press Release: "Ambitious Brew," a book by Maureen Ogle.

I've purchased the book, but not started reading. A review will appear at the conclusion. Somehow, I'm aproaching this with a degree of skepticism that isn't merited by advance reviews, both on-line and from my friend Maury, who made the initial recommendation. Must be the Curmudgeon in me.

The book is available locally at Destinations Booksellers in New Albany.


Pabst Brewing Co. was originally named Best Brewery, founded by German immigrant Jacob Best in 1844. Jacob’s son Phillip took over the company and would later meet Frederick Pabst, who went on to marry Phillip’s daughter. Best Brewery was already bottling Best Select with the famous blue ribbon around the neck of the bottle, signifying the first-place position it earned in several competitions—often winning against its rival, Budweiser.

Under Best’s tutelage, Frederick Pabst mastered the craft and business of brewing, and bought a stake in the company when it went public, eventually becoming President. In 1889 the name of the brewery was changed to Pabst Brewing Company. Naturally, like any modest German, Frederick continued advertising the superiority of the brewery’s most famous drink, but changed its label to read Pabst Blue Ribbon.



The epic story of the most American drink, from the immigrants who invented it to the upstart microbrewers who revived it.

By Maureen Ogle

Pabst, Schlitz, Anheuser-Busch: the names are ubiquitous from TV ads, banners at football games, summer barbeques. Beer might seem as American as baseball, but that has not always been the case. A wave of German immigrants arriving in the middle of the nineteenth century were the re-creators of the pleasures of the biergartens they had left behind. They became beer barons with successes, vast wealth, and their transformation of American life. Through temperance movements, Prohibition, and anti-German sentiments during both World Wars, they persevered to turn beer into the national drink.

When the big brewers emerged from the dark ages (1918-1932) they realized they faced a country that had to learn to drink beer again. With new innovations in marketing, advertising, and packaging, beer became bigger (and blander) than ever before – setting the stage for the emergence in the 80s of a new generation of microbrewers who have become the success stories in today’s market and whose ambitions reshaped the drink.

AMBITIOUS BREW “pubbed” on October 2nd, 2006—FIND IT NOW in your local bookstore.

MAUREEN OGLE is a historian whose previous books include All the Modern Conveniences and Key West. She lives in Ames, Iowa.

For more information, please contact:

Peter Horan
Harcourt Trade Publishers
15 E 26th St
New York, NY 10010

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