Former Sebewaing Brewing Company Employee, Kenneth Bolzman Passes

Bolzman, Kenneth H.

Ken Bolzman With 1957 Ford C-900 Tilt Cab Delivery Truck on Northeast Corner of Brewery

Ken Bolzman With 1957 Ford C-900 Tilt Cab Delivery Truck on Northeast Corner of Brewery

Our loving husband, father,grandfather and great grandfather passed away Saturday, November 7, 2015 at the university of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Age 83 years. The son of the late Herman and Ida (Haag) Bolzman was born October 25, 1932 in Sebewaing, Michigan. He was a member of Faith Lutheran Church. He was employed at Sebewaing Brewing Co. as a Driver/Salesman and retired from Aflac. Mr. Bolzman enjoyed sports, hunting, mowing lawns, playing cards but most of all enjoyed spending time with his family. He was a member of the American Legion Post #18. He served his country in the U.S. Army during the Korean Conflict. While he was in the Army he was a member of the NATO rifle team and the team won many awards.

Left behind to cherish his memories are his wife the former Ruth V. Armbruster whom he married July 10, 1953, his children and their spouses; Sandy and Doug Griffith, Carol Campbell, Jeff and Sondra Bolzman, Bob Bolzman, Doug and Deborah Bolzman, fifteen grandchildren; eight great grandchildren; his sisters-in-law and brother-in-law; Annabelle and Irene Bolzman, Ted and Dixie Armbruster, many nieces and nephews. In addition to his parents he was also preceded in death by his brothers; Howard, Vern, Maurice and Floyd, his sisters; Aldine, Helen, Alice and Edna. The family would like to extend a special “Thank You” to the staff of the S.I.C.U. unit at the University of Michigan Hospital for the kind and compassionate care our loved one received during his time of need.

Funeral and Committal Services will take place Wednesday, November 11, 2015 at 11:00 a.m. at Faith Lutheran Church. Officiating will be Rev. Daniel C. Meckes with private interment in Floral Gardens Cemetery. The family will be present at the Gephart Funeral Home, Inc. on Tuesday from 2:00 to 8:00 p.m. to receive family and friends. The Bay County Veterans Council will be at the funeral home on Tuesday at 3:00 p.m. to perform Military Honors. Mr. Bolzman will be taken to the church on Wednesday to lie in state from 10:00 a.m. until the time of service. Those planning and expression of sympathy may wish to consider donations to Faith Lutheran Church.

Brewer’s Best, Remember The Name …

Brewers Best Ad 3Brewers Best Ad 2Brewers Best Ad 1Several vintage ads appear here for Brewers’ Best, a short-lived New York City franchise opportunity, Brewer’s Best Associates, Inc., which was located at 620 Fifth Avenue. The ad for their Pilsner Beer is from 1947. Their slogan was about remembering their name, “The New Big Name in Beer.” Unfortunately, it did not work out as they had hoped.

Brewers Best was brewed at about 25 different small breweries around the US. One of the locations was Sebewaing.  A list of brewers associated were:

Brewers Best Breweries

The headquarters in New York was essentially a sales office. This brand had national distribution through the network of small brewers who brewed the beer under contract.  A full brochure for Brewers’ Best can be seen here.

Dr. John E. Wurm, President and General Manager of the Sebewaing Brewing Company

Dr_Wurm1Dr. John E. Wurm graduated from the Ontario Veterinary College at the University of Guelph in 1902. At the time of his registration he was resident of Ubly, Michigan.  He was born in Bingham Township, Huron County, Michigan in Nov of 1878 to John Wurm and Katherine Hoffmeyer.

These photos are one of several resources that ultimately led to linking the families of Henry Wurm and Elizabeth Lein of Zurich, Ontario to the families of Dr_Wurm_ResidenceDaniel Wurm and Catharine Erb of Michigan. While studying in Canada, John Wurm maintained contact with the Ontario branch of the family. These photos were received from the daughter of Edmund Daniel Wurm who recalled that Dr. Wurm was a relative but the actual relationship was by then unknown.

Dr. Wurm married Sarah Elizabeth Munroe on 3 Jan 1906 in Millersburg, Michigan. Sarah was born on 19 Dec 1869 in Elgin, Ontario and died on 3 Jun 1928 in Sebewaing, Huron County, Michigan.

On 25 Sep 1929, Dr. Wurm married Lulu Goulet. Lulu was born on 1 Jun 1888 in Toledo, Ohio and died in 1947 at Caseville, Huron County, Michigan.  Dr. Wurm died on 7 Jun 1945 in Pigeon, Huron County, Michigan.  At the time of his death, Dr. Wurm was President of Farmers and Merchants State Bank and President & General Manager of the Sebewaing Brewing Company.

Dr. Wurm led the brewery for nearly a decade through some difficult years.  From 1936 to 1945, the brewery was still defining itself.  It made the transition from the goose in flight as a mascot to real lions!  Dr. Wurm was responsible for bringing live lions to the brewery in 1939.  For more on this, see this story here.  A few years after his death, the brewery made another mascot transition from the lion to the well known pheasant.  With World War II, there were material shortages of rubber, metal, and other resources for such things as delivery of beer and the metal int eh bottle caps.  This guy was a remarkable man!

Brewers Association

The Saline Observer, October 8, 1953The Michigan Brewers’ Association ran ads in newspapers throughout Michigan during the 1950’s.  The example to the right is one such advertisement that happens to feature Sebewaing’s own Wildfowl Bay.  These ads appeared in the Sebewaing Blade.  This particular ad was found in the Saline Observer October 8, 1953.  I am sure it appeared in the Sebewaing Blade around the same time.

Listed in these ads throughout the 1950’s were these six Michigan breweries:

Altes Brewing Company
Frankenmuth Brewing Company
Goebel Brewing Company
Pfeiffer Brewing Company
Sebewaing Brewing Company
Strohs Brewing Company

The Brewers Association today is very active and is a heavy supporter of the microbrewery industry.  The orgnaization’s history timeline is below.

1942 – The Small Brewers Committee, a precursor to the Brewers Association of America first meets at Palmer House in Chicago to discuss raw materials supply and other common issues of small brewers. One early issue the committee fought for was supplies of tin for crowns to seal beer bottles.

1976 – The Brewers Association of America secures a small brewers tax differential on the first 60,000 barrels for brewers under 2 million barrels per year.

1978 – Charlie Papazian and Charlie Matzen form the American Homebrewers Association (AHA) in Boulder, Colo., with the publication of the first issue of Zymurgy magazine, announcing the new organization, publicizing the federal legalization of homebrewing and calling for entries in the first AHA National Homebrew Competition.

1982 – The Great American Beer Festival® debuts at the Harvest House in Boulder, Colo.

1983 – The Association of Brewers is organized to include the American Homebrewers Association and the Institute for Brewing and Fermentation Studies to assist the emerging microbrewery movement in US.

2005 – The Association of Brewers and the Brewers’ Association of America merge to form the Brewers Association.

2009 – 1,595 American craft brewers produce just under 9.1 million barrels of beer, as craft brewers continue steady growth and beer drinkers turn toward more flavorful craft brewed beers from small and independent breweries.

2011 – Excise tax recalibration companion bills S. 534 and H.R. 1236 are introduced to Congress. The number of operating U.S. brewery climbs to 1,989 for the calender year.

2012 – Brewers Association history is summarized by BA Board of Directors and BA Staff (listen to audio here)

2013 – Craft breweries continue to open at a rate of more that one per day.

For more information, checkout their website at

Labels of Sebewaing Beer in 1957

Breweries Licensed 1945-1957In a Google publications via the University of Michigan Library, a document titled “Brewery Highlights” was discovered listing the labels of beer available nationwide in 1957.  In it, there are three labels of beer printed that were brewed by the Sebewaing Brewing Company.  On pages 94, 95, and 96, the labels documented are Club, Sport, and Sebewaing.  Click on the page number to see the published page.

This publication helps to establish what labels were available at the time of the publications.  To date, documentation has not been located to establish definitive dates as to when Old Style, Stock Ale, and Brewers’ Best ended and when other labels like Sport, Club, Golden Pheasant, and Sebewaing began.  Pride of Michigan definitely has a start date tied to the name change in 1964.

In the same publication, an interesting chart displays the brewery decline from 1945 to 1957.  The chart is pictured on the left and can be seen clearer by clicking on it.  The publication can be seen in its entirety at this link.

These old documents help to piece bits and pieces of information to narrow down facts and timelines.