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Detroit Beer & Brewing History with John W. Stroh III & James W. Tottis

Thursday, January 30th 2014
7pm – 8:00pm

No cover

Detroit Drunken Historical Society and WSU Press present Detroit Beer & Brewing History featuring a conversation with John W. Stroh III and James W. Tottis.

Join us at Detroit’s legendary Dakota Inn Rathskeller as John W. Stroh, III (CEO of The Stroh Companies, Inc.) leads us through the rich history of Detroit brewing in conversation with Detroit liquor historian James W. Tottis. 

Detroit’s large-scale beer and brewing culture began in the 1830s and continued until 1985, when operations ended with the closing of the Stroh Brewery. While Stroh Brewery had become Detroit’s largest by the turn of the century, during that 150-year stretch, dozens of breweries opened in the metropolitan area, and several thrived for generations. From early Anglo-Saxon ale brewers to the present revival by microbrewers, Detroit’s brewing history features an impressive ethnic and economic diversity of entrepreneurial families experiencing fortunes and failures throughout the years while contributing to an impressive culture of brewing that continues today.

About the speakers:

John W. Stroh III has been the chairman and chief executive officer of The Stroh Companies, Inc. since May 1999. He has been a member of the Board of Directors of The Stroh Companies, Inc. and its subsidiary SBC Holdings, Inc. (the former The Stroh Brewery Company) since 1989. The Stroh Companies owns the office building known as 300 River Place in Detroit along with several other operating and financial investments. Involved in various civic activities, Mr. Stroh is a founding director of the Detroit Riverfront Conservancy and also serves as director of the Detroit Downtown Partnership and the Metropolitan Affairs Coalition. Mr. Stroh is a past member of the Board of Directors of the Detroit Institute of Arts and serves as vice-chairman and member of the Audit and Building Committees. He has formerly served on the boards of SRAM Corporation of Chicago, the Rock Island Company of St Paul, MN, and River Place Financial Corporation of Detroit.

James W. Tottis, formerly a curator in the Department of American Art at the Detroit Institute of Arts, is currently an independent curator advising individuals and institutions on subjects related to American art. He is also the author of The Guardian Building: Cathedral of Finance (WSUP, 2008).

About the presenting organizations:

Wayne State University Press is the publisher of Brewed in Detroit: Breweries and Beers since 1830 (1999) by Peter H. Blum, the only comprehensive history of the brewing industry in the Detroit metropolitan area. Now in its third printing, Brewed in Detroit continues to inform local beer enthusiasts, collectors, and history buffs. Books will be available for purchase the night of the event.

More info:

The Detroit Drunken Historical Society is a social group that meets to drink and talk. Then they listen to a local history presentation. And then they drink and talk some more. Teetotalers are also encouraged to join. More info:

About the venue:

The Dakota Inn Rathskeller was opened on August 1, 1933 by Karl Kurz, the grandfather of Karl E. Kurz, the present owner. Eighty years later, Detroit’s only authentic German bar is still going strong.More info: