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In Heaven There Is No Beer

But as the song goes, “that’s why we drink it here” and in the late 1800s there was ample opportunity to do just that. Especially in the Chicago area where over 100 breweries were in operation during those years. One of them, which started its history as the Joseph Jerusalem Brewery, happened to be in my family.

Joseph Jerusalem was born in Prussia in 1836 and after leaving school, emigrated to the US where he learned the trade of a brewer in New York. Following an opportunity, he moved to Chicago where he was employed as a journeyman brewer. Four years later, in 1870, he opened his own brewery. It was one of the many casualties of the Great Chicago fire of 1871 (the one allegedly started by Mrs. O’Leary’s cow) but he was able to rebuild from the ashes and resume the production of his Weiss (white) Beer, with its refreshing taste and lower alcoholic content. Weiss Beer was first brewed in Bohemia and is part of Bavaria’s 500 year old tradition.

Joseph married Ulricke Giese in 1872 who ran the company following her husband’s death in 1877. She remarried Gustav Eberlin in 1891 who renamed the brewery after himself and took control of the company but when he died in 1903, she once again had to take the reins and guide the brewery through the first decade of the 20th century.  The family run Eberlin Weiss Brewery finally closed its doors in 1908 after 40 years of beer production.

Karl Gustav Eberlin was the 2nd great-granduncle of my daughter-in-law.

Michael Ondrasik and Home Video Studio specialize in the preservation of family memories through the preservation of film, videotape, audio recordings, photos, negatives, and slides. For more information, call 352-735-8550 or visit our website.