Beer and Sauerkraut

I went with my sister to the Miller brewery and then around the old neighborhood.  Below are the boiler vats.   They are eighteen feet deep.

Miller Genuine Draft is good beer.  Miller Highlife & Miller Lite are not.  Miller also has a partnership with Leinenkugel, which is very good and it distributes Pilsner Urquell and Fosters, both of which are among my favorite beers.    It was fun to see where they were made. 

This is King Gambrinus, the patron saint of beer.  This statue is in the “cave”, caverns dug into the hill where they used to keep beer cold before refrigeration.  They used to gather ice from the local lakes during the winter and pack it around in the caverns.  This cooled the temperature during the summers.  Evidently the ice would last until the next winter.  People lived closer to their environment in those days.   You have to be more innovative if you have to do more than flick a switch to get air conditioning.

The plant in Milwaukee makes a half million cases of beer a day and all this beer moves out EACH day.  This plant serves the upper Midwest and around 40% of the beer goes to Chicago.  Five other plants around the country serve other regions.  

BTW – According to the Bier Reinheitsgebot (beer purity law) issued by Wilhelm IV of Bavaria in 1516 all beer sold can be made of only malted barley, hops, water, and yeast.   This rule still applies on Germany.   Beer can be made from any grain.  Miller mixes in some corn with the other ingredients and Budweiser uses rice.  That means by German rules these are not really beers.

Only 1600 people work at the plant and half of them are corporate staff.  That means that around 800 workers make all that beer.  The plant is mostly automated.  I was thinking again re the loss of jobs.  Those jobs have not gone to China; they have just gone away.  below is the Miller warehouse, clean, tidy and almost w/o workers.  A half million cases will move through it today.  You can easily see the jobs that automation takes.

On the other hand, other jobs are created but hard to see.   My cousin Tony works for a company that runs webpages called and   The firm was founded in 2006, has about a dozen employees and distributes furniture around the country – w/o a significant bricks and mortar operation.  We still think in the old industrial model where lots of people come together in one place.  The new model has people distributed thinly and in small groups.   It is hard to get used to it.

Anyway, we had another beautiful fall day.  Milwaukee has nice parks as you can see from the pictures. Above and below is Humboldt Park.  Pictures cannot capture such a glorious day.  Even if the visuals could be perfect, you would not have the smell, sound and feel of the day.

I also drove down to Franksville.  It is not a major tourist spot.  It used to be where they made Franks Kraut.  I don’t know if they still do, but I did see lots of cabbage fields.  The brand is actually owned by the Ohio based Fremont Company, makers of all sorts of Kraut and catsup.  Franksville is interesting for me because it was for a long time the edge of my biking world, as far south as I could reasonably ride and return in one day.   It is still familiar.  below is a cabbage patch.

Below a pumpkin patch near Franksville in Racine County.