Top Menu

Wooden Barrels and Iron Men

In 1881, the brewery workmen of Cincinnati drew up a number of demands to be presented to the brewer. These were:

1. A reduction of work day from thirteen to ten and a half-hours.
2. A reduction of Sunday work from eight to four hours.
3. A minimum wage of $60 a month.
4. Freedom for the worker to seek board and lodging wherever he liked.

&#151Herman Schluter, The Brewing Industry and the Brewery Worker’s Movement in America, 1910

Before you even get to the dedication page of St. Louis Brews: 200 Years of Brewing in St. Louis, 1809-2009 the authors offer a page of similar quotes and an explanation. “When co-author Henry Herbst began toying with the idea of doing a book on St. Louis brewing history, he though that Wooden Barrel and Iron Men would make a good title, serving as something of a tribute to the vital ‘little guys’ in the brewing industry. . . . Simply put, there would have been no beer barons, the stars of this book, without the hard work and expertise of their employees. May this book also serve to preserve their efforts.”

This weekend I’ll be drinking to Iron Men — and thinking I’d like to write a book called Iron Men and Wooden Barrels (a small edit) — and to authors Henry Herbst, Don Roussin and Kevin Kious. I don’t want to bore you with the whole FTC thing still again but I bought this book the moment I saw was selling it, signed by the authors no less. However, I once had a pleasant conversation with Herbst and he said something I used in a story. Consider my endorsement of his book tainted if you like.

Or give this song by Steve Earle a listen and think FTC every time he sings FCC.

Added Oct. 19: Today I learned that Henry Herbst has died. Sad news, but at least he got to see his book in print.


3 Responses to Wooden Barrels and Iron Men

  1. Alan October 16, 2009 at 7:33 pm #

    You, being an American and not amongst we northern Loyalist refugees, ought to seek meaning in the Society of Cincinnati. “Respectable, United, and influential” might be a good motto for craft brewers.

  2. Alan October 17, 2009 at 8:55 am #

    You’re right. I have no idea what connection I was making either.

  3. Stan Hieronymus October 17, 2009 at 3:50 pm #

    Not sure about the connection, but you are right about the motto.

Powered by WordPress