Contributor biographical information for Philadelphia beer : a heady history of brewing in the cradle of liberty / Rich Wagner.


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Beginning in 1980, when he set out to visit all nine of Pennsylvania’s breweries that were still in business, the author’s path seems to have been one of total immersion. Traveling throughout the state, he began to notice the hulking remains of long-gone breweries dotting the landscape and set out to create a photographic inventory of all standing brewery buildings in Pennsylvania. At the time this book was written, he had visited well over four hundred sites and found something to photograph at nearly half of them. By 1983, Rich tried his hand at home-brewing and, before long, had set up a gas-fired system in a friend’s basement, utilizing an old beer keg as a kettle. In 1990, he interpreted colonial brewing using replicas of seventeenth-century equipment at Pennsbury Manor, a reconstruction of William Penn’s country estate on the Delaware River. Within three years, he had worked with a cooper over an eight-month period to manufacture his own system, starting with two cypress logs. That year, he went on a cross-country journey to demonstrate brewing techniques of antiquity. He was a high school science teacher who traveled extensively during the summers, visiting national parks and geologic sites throughout the nation and, during the 1980s, as the craft brewing renaissance began to take hold, found many craft breweries to visit as well. To date, he has visited well over six hundred breweries throughout the United States and Canada. His research into Pennsylvania breweries continued, becoming deeper and more serious as he visited libraries and historical societies and amassed a great deal of information. Rich became involved with breweriana collectors and joined some of their organizations. He also became connected to the Society of Industrial Archeology. Rich developed tours of breweries past and present for Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, the Lehigh Valley, Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and south-central Pennsylvania. Some of these were sponsored by breweriana clubs and others by historical societies and other organizations. He published guidebooks to go with each tour, and he also issued a number of posters. Finally, the inevitable came when his avocation overtook his vocation. Rich took very early retirement from his teaching career in order to participate in the emerging craft brewing industry. He attended the Siebel Institute of Technology in Chicago, where he received a diploma in brewing technology and spent seven years working in Philadelphia’s craft breweries. He has spent a decade as an officer of District Philadelphia, Master Brewers Association of the Americas, most of that time as secretary and membership chair. He currently spends his time researching and writing about Pennsylvania breweries and brewing techniques of antiquity. He is a public speaker and demonstrates colonial brewing. For more information, visit his website: http://pabreweryhistorians.tripod.com.


Library of Congress subject headings for this publication:
Brewing industry -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia -- History.
Beer industry -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia -- History.
Breweries -- Pennsylvania -- Philadelphia -- History.
Philadelphia (Pa.) -- History.