The Way It Was


Published:

PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF THE BURTON HISTORICAL COLLECTION, AUTOMOTIVE HISTORY COLLECTION (LAZARNICK COLLECTION)

1907​Ask anyone what Detroit is largely known for, and autos will likely be the knee-jerk response. That may be true today, but there was a time when that answer was only part of the equation. Detroit was also known as a producer of pharmaceuticals, seeds, cigars, railroad cars, stoves, shoes, shipping parts, music publishing, and beer. As The Detroit Almanac points out, there were 29 breweries in Detroit in the 1870s alone. Many, such as Stroh’s, Goebel, and Pfeiffer, were founded by German immigrants. Bernhard Stroh began brewing his yet-to-be famous fire-brewed Bohemian beer in Detroit in 1850. In time, the name Stroh’s defined Detroit as much as Vernor’s, Sanders, Awrey’s, and Hudson’s. This circa-1907 photo of men unloading Stroh’s beer cases reveals two things the area was famous for. Aside from the Stroh’s name, the trucks were made by the Rapid Motor Vehicle Co., which were manufactured in Pontiac beginning in 1902. General Motors bought the company out in 1909, which was the start of GMC Truck. Eventually, times turned flat for Stroh’s as it attempted to expand too quickly. Stroh’s stopped brewing in Detroit in 1985, and, in 1999, sold its brands to the Pabst and Miller brewing companies. But in August 2016, Stroh’s started brewing in Detroit again. In an agreement with Pabst, Brew Detroit in Corktown created its version of Stroh’s Bohemian-style Pilsner, based on an original recipe, and the brand is readily available once again. You can’t help thinking old Bernhard would like to hoist a foamy glass of Stroh’s in approval. 

Edit Module
Edit Module Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

A Survivor’s Story

A West Bloomfield resident shares his memories of living under occupied Poland during World War II

What’s in the Stars for Detroit

Under the pseudonym AstroTwins, celebrity astrologers Ophira and Tali Edut found their calling as undergraduates at the University of Michigan. Here, the identical twins share their predictions for metro Detroiters.

The Way It Was

Nash Metropolitan, 1958

Holiday Giving: Children's Charities

Help make the holidays merry and bright for little ones by donating to these charities.

Web Exclusive: Meeting the Beatles

Fifty years ago, a Detroit-area teenager won a contest to meet The Beatles.
Edit Module
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Most Popular

  1. Under Wraps
    Lionel Perkins, senior project design engineer for camouflage at GM North America, unveils his...
  2. Heavyweight Estate
    Cadillac King Don Massey's property hits the market
  3. Machine Learning
    The next wave of artificial intelligence is making critical decisions in health care
  4. The Meat of the Matter
    The latest West Village eatery, Marrow, carves a space for Detroit’s meat-eaters
  5. Food Recipe: Middle Eastern Spiced Roasted Carrots
    The mother-daughter team behind recipe development site, Crowded Kitchen, cooks up mindful dishes...
  6. Metrics of Mary Jane Motoring
    Research in a modest lab at John R and Mack addresses questions about cannabis and driving and...
  7. All About the Zip Sauce
    Food blogger and Instagram sensation, Seoung Lee, a.k.a. @chowdowndetroit, says Eddie’s Gourmet...
  8. Detroit’s Got Spirits
    Inside the local craft distillery boom from Ferndale to Ann Arbor and beyond
  9. Eating in Translation
    What happens when centuries-old vegetarian traditions are transported across oceans
  10. Driver's Ed
    We’ve got auto questions, leading authorities have answers