Milwaukee Breweries

Valentine Blatz

Source: History of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, The Western Historical Company, Chicago; A.T. Andreas Proprietor, 1881, pg. 1462

VALENTINE BLATZ, brewer, was born October 1, 1826, at Mittenberg-on-the-Main, Bavaria.  His father, a man of influence, was also a brewer by occupation.  Young Blatz attended school until he was fourteen years of age, entered his father's establishment, where he remained four years; spent four more in visiting the celebrated breweries of Germany and examining their methods; emigrated to America in 1848; remained one year more at his trade in Buffalo, and then came to Milwaukee.  Two years more he worked and amassed $500, which he put into the establishment, employing four hands and turning out during the first year five hundred barrels of beer.  Mr. Blatz was the first to manufacture the beer which has made Milwaukee famous the world over.  The story of his splendid success in business is best told in the history of the immense brewery which bears his name.

Valentine Blatz Brewing Company BuildingVALENTINE BLATZ' CITY BREWERY
This institution located at the corner of Broadway and Division streets, and occupying nearly the whole block, is the outgrowth of a small brewery erected in 1846 by John Brown, which had a capacity of about eighty barrels per annum.  Mr. Brown remained in the business until 1851, when the property came into the hands of Valentine Blatz, the present proprietor.  At that time the buildings were all small, and there were sold that year but 150 barrels of beer.  The cellars were capable of storing only eighty barrels.  During the following year 350 barrels were sold, and from that time the business steadily increased to such an extent that the sales amounted, in 1868, to 16,000 barrels, and reached, in 1874, 53,548 barrels.  The sales for 1879 were 86,000 barrels, and in 1880 amounted to 125,000 barrels.

In 1868 the buildings for malt-house and malt-kilns commenced.  The malt-house at that time could hold only 50,000 bushels.  Since the above date its capacity has been increased to 200,000 bushels per annum.  In 1868 a portion of the houses, on the ocrner of Johnson street and Broadway, were built, and in 1870 the same were completed.  IN 1872 a terrible conflagration destroyed all the malt-and ice-houses, together with their contents.  Yet, through the energetic efforts of the owner, they were re-erected, more solidly and substantially than before, in the incredibly short time of three months after the fire.  Since then the business has taken on larger dimensions, and has been extended all over the United States.  Agencies of this prosperous house have been established in New York, Boston, Chicago, New Orleans, Memphis, Charleston, Savannah, and in all the principles cities of the Union.  The beer manufactured by him has a well-earned reputation, and is known to be of excellent quality.  The Valentine Blatz beer was awarded the highest premium at the Centennial Exposition at Philadelphia.  Mr. Blatz now increasing the capacity for storage from 30,000 to 40,000 barrels.

There are about one hundred men employed by this concern.  To Mr. Blatz is due the credit of establishing the first bottling department in Milwaukee.  Orders were frequently received from the places to which the shipment of barreled beer could not be attempted, on account of the climate.  Therefore, in 1875, Mr. Blatz established a bottling department, the management of which was entrusted to Messrs. Torchiani & Kremer, who are located at the southwest corner of Broadway and Knapp street, one block distant from the brewery building, and occupying about one-half block.  IN 1875 Messrs. Torchiani & Kremer bottled 6,000 barrels, or 128,000 dozen bottles.  The department has been gradually increased, and in 1880 there were put up 15,000 barrels, or 289,000 dozen bottles of beer.  The bottling department employs about seventy hands, partly children.  Mr. Blatz purchases barley in California, and hops in Germany and the East.  He has three patent ice-houses and five spare ice-houses.  The annual consumption of ice is fully 30,000 tons.  Mr. Blatz conducts his private coal yard, cooper shop, carpenter shop, machine shop, and owns many railroad cars.  Beer is shipped to all parts of the United States, and to Mexico, and in the Summer season from six to eight car-loads per day depart from the brewery.  There is invested in the business $1,000,000.

TORCHIANI & KREMER, sole bottlers of Val. Blatz' premium export lager beer, corner Broadway and Knapp street; business established in 1878, by the present proprietors, who succeeded Sam. Rindskopf.  Amount of sales in 1878, 27,200 dozen; in 1879, 144,500 dozen, and in 1880, 289,000 dozen.  About seventy hands are employed.  This celebrated beer, the demand for which has so greatly increased, as will be seen by the foregoing figures, is shipped to all parts of America, as well as foreign countries, including Mexico, Cuba, Australia, Japan, etc., to all of which points regular monthly shipments are made.

H. TORCHIANI, of the above firm, was born in Hamburg in 1845; came to Milwaukee in 1878, having been previously engaged in business in New York, Quincy, Illinois, and Chicago, for several years.

JOHN KREMER, of the above firm, was born in Villmar, Nassau, on November 26, 1846; came to Milwaukee when eleven years old, and was educated here; was engaged in photographing until 1878, when he commenced his present business.

JOHN B. BLATZ, chief engineer in the Blatz Brewing Company establishment.  Is a native of Milwaukee, born in 1848; has held his present position eight years.  He was married in November, 1873, to Miss Louisa Freisel.  They have three daughters.  He is a member of the West Side Turners and the I.O.O.F. Aurora Lodge No. 145.

JACOB DUERR, foreman of Valentine Blatz' cooper shops, residence No. 538 Thirteenth street, was born in Baden, Germany, in 1855.  He learned his trade in his native land; came to America in 1877, and to Milwaukee in 1879.  He has always been in the cooper business.  He first worked for Jos. Schlitz.  He now has thirteen men under his charge.  In 1880 he was married to Miss Elizabeth Feuser, a native of Milwaukee.