OSHKOSH - A new effort is underway to try to preserve a part of our area's culture -- that's been brewing for a long time.
Oshkosh was home to several breweries, which brought success to the city for a time and now two Oshkosh writers are telling the history of beer in their city.
As an historian and native of Oshkosh, Ron Akin has wanted to put his city's story into a book.
Well, part of the story anyway.
"Contribute to the history of our area. It's a most interesting history and the breweries are a big part of that," explained Akin.
Akin and his co-author Lee Reiherzer wrote and published "The Breweries of Oshkosh: Their Rise and Fall."
The two men described Oshkosh's brewing history and their book at the local library Monday night.
It began with a large influx of German immigrants in the 1800s.
"They liked to drink beer, they liked to make beer, it was part of their culture," said Akin.
The city was home to about 12 breweries over about a 130 year period. The most famous being the Oshkosh Brewing Company which made the popular Chief Oshkosh Beer.
"After prohibition, until 1971, actually, 1972 and that was the best selling beer ever produced in Oshkosh," explained Reiherzer.
Prohibition was a challenging time. Many people turned to home brewing and larger secret operations called "wildcat breweries."
"I like to say there really was no Prohibition Era in Oshkosh," joked Reiherzer, and many of the breweries survived.
But eventually in the 60s and 70s they all fell prey to another enemy.
"Big breweries from St. Louis and Milwaukee and Detroit could produce beer at a lesser price," said Akin.
And in the place the Oshkosh Brewing company today stands houses, the other breweries ended up in much the same way.
"Most of the old breweries are gone now," said Reiherzer.
But they live on in the photos, advertisements and stories gathered in this book.
"The artistry was so unbelievably beautiful," said Akin.
Akin told FOX 11 they began selling the book in August. So far they've sold 700 copies.
You can find a link to buy the book online on Reiherzer's blog here: http://oshkoshbeer.blogspot.com/ or you can find it at several area stores: Apple Blossom Books, Camera Casino, O'Marro's Public House, Originals Mall of Antiques and Star Gallery.
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