Author Topic: The Secrets of Jacksonville You Should Know About  (Read 5703 times)

Metro Jacksonville

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The Secrets of Jacksonville You Should Know About
« on: October 21, 2013, 03:01:17 AM »
The Secrets of Jacksonville You Should Know About



Jacksonville has incredible stories and most of them are still largely unknown.

Full Article
http://www.metrojacksonville.com/article/2013-oct-the-secrets-of-jacksonville-you-should-know-about

Noone

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Re: The Secrets of Jacksonville You Should Know About
« Reply #1 on: October 21, 2013, 04:18:15 AM »
As always. Thanks for the history.

billy

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Re: The Secrets of Jacksonville You Should Know About
« Reply #2 on: October 21, 2013, 06:35:32 AM »
Where was the Hollywood Bar and Grill located?

Keith-N-Jax

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Re: The Secrets of Jacksonville You Should Know About
« Reply #3 on: October 21, 2013, 06:48:59 AM »
Cool stories, Jax Beer could be rebuilt and turned into a museum.

Tacachale

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Re: The Secrets of Jacksonville You Should Know About
« Reply #4 on: October 21, 2013, 11:56:12 AM »
Jax Brewery was what was called a "regional brewery", which distributed to particular regions on a smaller basis than the nationwide breweries many of us are familiar with today. It was put out of business by the expansions of Busch (Budweiser), Pabst, and Schlitz (now better known for malt liquor) and trends in the industry toward cheaper, lighter beer. Interestingly, it was bought by Jackson Brewery in New Orleans, who appear to have been primarily interested in the name, "Jax" being a nice bar call for "Jackson". They kept it going for another 20 years or so before the pressures of the industry forced them to sell out to one of the macro breweries (Pearl Brewing from San Antonio, who later bought out Pabst and adopted its name, and has since changed hands several more times).

Unfortunately, the company apparently still claims the trademark even though they don't use it, so no one else will be able to make Jax Beer without taking it to court. As I recall Intuition looked into resurrecting it before moving on and picking their current name.

A few old-school regional breweries managed to survive without getting bought out by the macros; I can think of Yeungling and Shiner in Texas. More recently, as some craft breweries have expanded their production while still retaining their independent ownership and focus, there has been a new growth in the market for regional breweries. As they continue to expand, I'd consider Intuition and Bold City much more the inheritors of the legacy of Jax Brewery than Landshark.
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thelakelander

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Re: The Secrets of Jacksonville You Should Know About
« Reply #5 on: October 21, 2013, 01:01:31 PM »


Jax Brewing was founded with financial help of the Schorr family. Jax Brewing's founder, William Ostner was married to the daughter of Jacob Schorr of Schorr-Kolkschneider Brewing Company of St. Louis.  At the time, the family owned breweries in St. Louis, New Orleans, Memphis, Louisville, Green Bay & Appleton, WI and Alton & Waterloo, IL. 

I'm not sure of how it matches up with all of today's local craft breweries in size but it laid off 243 employees right after the passage of the Volstead Act. During prohibition, it employed 45 with a monthly payroll of $6,000, making near beer, ice cream and bottling root beer and ginger ale for the Charles Hires Company. His father in-law's brewery in St. Louis got hit with $25k in fines and shut down by prohibition agents.

From what I can tell, Jax Brewing's region was Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. At it's height, Jax Beer produced 100,348 barrels annually in 1943. 484,377 combined barrels were produced by all Florida breweries that year.  It was around this time that they created the concept of the six-pack.  By comparison, an FTU article last month mentioned that IAW is up to around 6,000 barrels annually.

The popularity of the aluminum can eventually did them in.  The company was making a lot more money from cold storage (started doing this during prohibition) and decided to focus on that growing market instead of beer production.  The old 130,000 square foot plant still stands in Durkeeville on West 16th Street.  Here's a quote on canning from one of the founder's sons that I included in Reclaiming Jacksonville:

Quote
According to Jack Ostner, World War II was also to blame: "The boys got back from somewhere they hadn't been before, and that's when the nationals began to take over. Then cans came in and the national companies could absorb the cost of cans (the cans cost more than the product) by charging them off to freight."
« Last Edit: October 21, 2013, 01:50:37 PM by thelakelander »
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thelakelander

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Re: The Secrets of Jacksonville You Should Know About
« Reply #6 on: October 21, 2013, 01:14:59 PM »
Some pics of the old brewery today that didn't make it into the Reclaiming Jax book:

The plant office on West 16th Street. The cold storage warehouse in the background replaced the brewery's boiler house and smoke stack after the switch from beer production to cold storage.


The remaining section of the brewhouse. The upper floors were demolished in the 1970s.


four story ice plant/cold storage warehouse added in 1925


Bottling plant loading docks. This was added in 1933 in anticipation of handling beer production after the end of prohibition.


Abandoned rail spur adjacent to bottling plant.
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Cheshire Cat

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Re: The Secrets of Jacksonville You Should Know About
« Reply #7 on: October 21, 2013, 01:23:33 PM »
Very cool Ennis.  Thanks for the pics.   Loved the article as well.
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Tacachale

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Re: The Secrets of Jacksonville You Should Know About
« Reply #8 on: October 21, 2013, 05:17:35 PM »


Jax Brewing was founded with financial help of the Schorr family. Jax Brewing's founder, William Ostner was married to the daughter of Jacob Schorr of Schorr-Kolkschneider Brewing Company of St. Louis.  At the time, the family owned breweries in St. Louis, New Orleans, Memphis, Louisville, Green Bay & Appleton, WI and Alton & Waterloo, IL. 

I'm not sure of how it matches up with all of today's local craft breweries in size but it laid off 243 employees right after the passage of the Volstead Act. During prohibition, it employed 45 with a monthly payroll of $6,000, making near beer, ice cream and bottling root beer and ginger ale for the Charles Hires Company. His father in-law's brewery in St. Louis got hit with $25k in fines and shut down by prohibition agents.

From what I can tell, Jax Brewing's region was Florida, Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. At it's height, Jax Beer produced 100,348 barrels annually in 1943. 484,377 combined barrels were produced by all Florida breweries that year.  It was around this time that they created the concept of the six-pack.  By comparison, an FTU article last month mentioned that IAW is up to around 6,000 barrels annually.

The popularity of the aluminum can eventually did them in.  The company was making a lot more money from cold storage (started doing this during prohibition) and decided to focus on that growing market instead of beer production.  The old 130,000 square foot plant still stands in Durkeeville on West 16th Street.  Here's a quote on canning from one of the founder's sons that I included in Reclaiming Jacksonville:

Quote
According to Jack Ostner, World War II was also to blame: "The boys got back from somewhere they hadn't been before, and that's when the nationals began to take over. Then cans came in and the national companies could absorb the cost of cans (the cans cost more than the product) by charging them off to freight."

I've been reading a great article by Martin Stack on the place of local and regional breweries in the early American brewing industry. Their influence has been totally overlooked. It basically argues that while national breweries drove the growth of the industry from 1865 to 1890, from 1890 until prohibition the regional and local breweries were the real playmakers. While they (usually) made considerably less beer than the national shippers, they avoided their high shipping and marketing costs by focusing on their city or region, and made a niche for themselves by having typically more competitive cost, quality and affiliated saloons.

The smaller breweries that survived Prohibition, like Jax, never recovered their previous high share of the market. Especially after World War II, the national breweries were able to beat out the competition by selling consistency. During the war people had also gotten used to the weaker, lighter flavor and the macros sold that as another plus. Later on, they were also in a better position to take advantage of comparatively expensive technologies like canning, as you mention. Subsequently, the brewing industry has gotten good at promoting silly gimmicks.

So Jax's number was up, but since the rise of craft brewing, new independent breweries are rising to the point that the term "regional brewery" is making a comeback. Traditionally, "microbreweries" only applies to small operations; the Brewers Association sets the limit at 15k barrels per year. But as some independent breweries have grown beyond that, they can still be considered a "regional craft brewery" if they meet other conditions (which are largely designed to let Sam Adams be called a "craft brewery" despite making a ton of beer).

Intuition, Bold City et al are in good company as they continue to grow and expand their distribution in and outside the First Coast. They may never be the size of Jax Brewery, but they have a lot in common in terms of scope, spirit and local impact.
Do you believe that when the blue jay or another bird sings and the body is trembling, that is a signal that people are coming or something important is about to happen?

Wacca Pilatka

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Re: The Secrets of Jacksonville You Should Know About
« Reply #9 on: October 21, 2013, 06:01:32 PM »
Is the Jax plant office currently in use?
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thelakelander

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Re: The Secrets of Jacksonville You Should Know About
« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2013, 06:03:24 PM »
No.
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BoldBoyOfTheSouth

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Re: The Secrets of Jacksonville You Should Know About
« Reply #11 on: January 31, 2014, 09:40:47 AM »
I really enjoy this series & hope to see more.   Hope to see this turned into a book one day.