Government By The Brewers?
by Adolph Keitel
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E-text prepared by Bruce D. Thomas



For thirty years intimately associated with the brewing industry




Ballot Box (Illustration.)

I. My thirty years' intimate association with the brewers

II. Prohibition banishes crime

III. What is beer?

IV. Non-alcoholic beer is a mysterious compound of drugs

V. Beer is a habit forming drug

VI. Why beer is not a fit drink for the home

VII. Beer is not a temperance drink

VIII. The decreased alcoholic content of beer will increase drunkenness

IX. Brewers' grains are considered dangerous for cows milk

X. Brewers assault distillers to hide their own crimes

XI. Abolition of crime and vice would decrease the sale of beer

XII. Crime is planned in saloons

XIII. The beer traffic does not recognize the sanctity of the home

XIV. A vice complaint

An every-day vice scene (Illustration)

XV. Laws are openly violated

XVI. Another vice backed by brewers

Cabarets and tango dance resorts

How a New York brewer advertises his cabaret resort

XVII. Millions expended in corrupting elections

United States Brewers' Association exposed

XVIII. How Chicago Brewers have tried to prevent a "dry" vote

XIX. Brewers fear woman suffrage

XX. People resent government by the brewers


When it was found impossible to suppress my writings by attempts to bribe me, men were hired to poison me. After the failure of this plot to dispose of me, I was subjected to almost unbelievable insults, persecution, humiliation and injustice in the courts.

A friendly federal judge was besought to stop me by an injunction. The United States Circuit Court of Appeals set it aside.

Four futile attempts were made to influence the Post Office authorities to deny me the use of the mails.

I was twice presented with the alternative of either agreeing to stop the publication of the truth or being thrown into jail on "framed" libel charges. I chose the jail rather than renounce the right of the freedom of the press guaranteed me by the constitution of my country.

When even the jail could not silence me, a diabolical attempt was made to bury me alive in an institution for the insane, but when it was found impossible to discover the slightest trace of insanity, or drive me insane during a sojourn of a month among maniacs, I was released.

I verily believe that the honesty of the alienists in charge of the institution alone saved me from a living death.


"The very nature of the business of the brewer makes it imperative that they retain a strong hold on the ballot box. By those methods alone have they been able to exist in the past. By those methods alone, can they hope to save themselves"



For about thirty years I have been closely allied with the brewing industry and was daily brought in contact with the brewers.

I have been interested in a number of breweries as a stockholder. I have been intimately associated with many brewers throughout the country. I am therefore thoroughly familiar with the inner history of the beer business and the political corruption, crime, vice and degeneracy closely interwoven therewith.



Naturally, I am not a prohibitionist. Nevertheless, I dispute the contention of the brewers that they did not oppose but, instead, actually approved the enactment of the recent "bone-dry" prohibition legislation forbidding transportation of alcoholic beverages into states which prohibit the sale and manufacture of intoxicants, on the ground that its drastic measure would have a "reactionary effect" and thus result in the return of a number of the present "dry" states into the "wet" column. Vaporings of this sort sound very much like the old sour grape story and have their origin in the fertile brain of the publicity manager of the beer trust.

Absence of drunkenness, law and order, and the reduction of crime to a minimum, have invariably followed the "dry" wave.

Prohibition has emptied the jails, and the people are gratified with the new order of things. Everybody is happy except the liquor interests.

A town in Georgia, having no further use for its jail, not having had an occupant for a long time as the result of the bone-dry law, has rented it out for another purpose.

The most remarkable proof comes from the national capital. Washington became saloonless on November 1, 1917. During the month of November— the first dry month—official figures made public by the commissioners, comparing arrests for drunkenness during November, 1917, and the same month a year ago, show that during November, 1917, 199 arrests for drunkenness were made, as against 838 for November, 1916, a reduction of 639, or 76 per cent. The greatest number of arrests for any one week in November, 1917, were 61, while the greatest number for the same period a year ago were 218.

In Decatur, Ill., which went "dry" four years ago, the population has increased from 25,000 to 45,000. It is claimed that the criminal cases have lessened 90 per cent, that the building of factories and houses has increased 30 per cent, that 2,700 savings depositors in banks were added and that there were 37 per cent less cases of public charity yearly.

Nor will the loss of revenue permanently affect conditions. The enormous wealth of the country will soon adjust that phase of the situation.

Authorities assert there is no license city that keeps within its budget, whereas there is no dry city that is not financially improved by the ousting of the brewers.



In the well known European beer drinking countries nothing but hops and malt are permitted in brewing.

Here beer is a concoction of corn, rice, hops, malt, glucose, preservatives and other drugs—and, in most cases, it has nothing in common with real beer other than its artificial foam and color.

A leader of public opinion made the statement in the United States Senate that "Beer that is brewed in this country is slop. They say it is 'good for the health.' I never saw a man who drank it who was not a candidate for Bright's disease or paralysis."

Mr. J. Frank Hanly, editor of the National Enquirer (Indianapolis), and former Governor of Indiana says: "Nor will the people be deceived by the fallacious contention that beer is a safe and harmless drink. Every laboratory in America refutes it. Every sociologist knows better. Every scientist of reputation condemns it. The management of every great industrial interest, compelled by economic necessity, seeks its complete overthrow."

"The average beer drinker consumes more alcohol than the average whiskey drinker"



Numerous Processes are now in use for making non-alcoholic beer and the ingredients used are usually cloaked in deep mystery.

In a recently patented process for the production of non-alcoholic beer it is admitted that salt, gum arabic, quassia, a pepsin compound and meta-bisulphite of potassium, or another suitable drug, are some of the materials used in brewing the non-alcoholic product.



Eminent physicians ridicule the claim of the brewers that beer, even assuming that it were pure and unadulterated—and entirely free from poisonous drugs and chemicals—is a beverage of high food value and ranks with milk as a blood producer.

A bulletin issued by the Department of Health of the City of New York in relation to the question of alcohol as food states that ten cents worth of beer provides 240 calories of food energy, while ten cents worth of oatmeal will provide 3,720 calories.

There is no question that the indulgence in beer is merely an acquired habit. To those who have not cultivated it, its taste is generally repugnant.

Total abstinence for a while invariably cures the habit. I have been told by a number of former strong adherents to the cause of the brewers, residing in territory now "dry", that even they are wondering why they ever saturated their systems with beer. Physicians condemn its use and claim that the widespread idea that alcohol is a stimulant is wrong. Beer is fast becoming an outcast.

Fresh fruit juices, notably grape juice and apple cider, and other satisfying beverages, well flavored, with a considerable food value, are daily growing more popular and will take the place of beer.

"To rid the saloon of crime and vice would decrease the sale of beer"



The alcoholic content of beer has been about four per cent. The alcoholic content of the quality of whiskey generally sold over the bar is about forty per cent—and frequently much less. It can therefore be readily seen that the quantity of alcohol contained in a large glass of beer, even with the recent slightly reduced alcoholic content, is equivalent to about that contained in an ordinary drink of whiskey, which is sufficient to intoxicate any person not accustomed to its use.

It is nothing unusual, even in the case of confirmed drinkers, to feel at times the intoxicating effect of a single glass of beer, especially when taken upon an empty stomach or when the system may not just be in proper condition.

Brewers are recommending beer to expectant and nursing mothers and as a fit drink for the home. But, on the other hand, they prefer to employ men who have not acquired the beer drinking habit.

The most valuable men advocating the "wet" cause fight shy of beer. They know what it is made of. Many saloonkeepers never touch it, nor will they employ bartenders unless they are total abstainers.

"If the saloons and other public drinking places were ousted, but the breweries permitted to operate, drunkenness, crime and vice would invade the home"



It can not be denied that people drink beer for its alcoholic effect—and that most of the intoxication is caused by beer.

Brewers claim that beer is a "true temperance drink," but they are careful to add—if taken in moderate quantities.

If beer were ever consumed in moderate quantities it would result in a fifty per cent reduction of the beer output of the country. It would force most of the brewers out of business—and I doubt if any saloon could earn enough money to pay the rent of the place. For that reason brewers can not afford to encourage the enactment of laws abolishing "treating," despite their public statements that they are in favor of its suppression.

In discussing the question with an acquaintance whom I know to be a very moderate drinker of beer only, he advanced the much heard argument that a glass of beer will harm no one. He said that he occasionally dropped into a saloon to take a glass of beer. When I asked him if, when he had gone into a saloon he had ever run across some friends and, to be a good fellow, he had been obliged to take a number of glasses, he replied "yes"—and that they had made him drunk.

"Brewers can not afford to abolish 'treating'"



The decree of President Wilson that beer brewed henceforth in the United States during the pendency of the war shall not contain more than 2.75 per cent alcohol by weight, which is equivalent to 3.4 per cent by volume,[Footnote: This does not include ale and porter, the alcoholic content of which is permitted to remain considerably in excess of that of beer.] and that the amount of grain used in its manufacture shall be reduced to approximately seventy per cent of the volume used heretofore, will not decrease intoxication, but it has caused intense jubilation among the brewers. They pronounce it a great victory over the "dry" forces, and they have lost no time in again broadly proclaiming the virtues of their product and its "food" value.

The slightly reduced alcoholic content of beer will still be ample to produce a high state of intoxication if, as is usually the case, it is consumed immoderately. In substantiation of my contention I need but cite the irrefutable fact that a barrel of beer holding 31 gallons would still contain a whole gallon of alcohol.

Where the great danger lies is that the widely heralded reduction of the alcoholic content and the claim of the brewers that beer is now to be classed as a true temperance drink will tend to greatly deceive the public and thus largely increase its consumption, in most cases to cause "the same intoxicating effect as before."

Besides, it has already become a common practice among many misguided drinkers to produce the desired "kick" by pouring whiskey, and even plain alcohol into the beer.

In my opinion, therefore, the reduced alcoholic content will make the consumption of beer still more harmful than before, because, instead of diminishing drunkenness, it will have the opposite effect—and the brewers will be the big gainers because the new order of things will not only largely increase their output, but it will also reduce the cost of production without cutting the selling price. And, by reason of their increased output, they will use the same amount of grain as before.

Even with the reduced alcoholic content the beer drinker will consume more alcohol than the whiskey drinker.



As an argument against the extermination of the breweries the claim is made that a part of the grain used in brewing is converted into a cattle feed which is a great "milk producer."

Brewers' grains are the residue of barley malt and corn grits. They consist principally of barley hulls.

Corn stalks are also fed to cattle, but they have very little food value without a considerable addition of whole grain. Brewers' grains, as a milk producer, are a very poor substitute for the grain from which beer is brewed.

Authorities claim that brewers' grains produce functional disturbances and disease in the cow—and milk from such cows is not safe for infants.

Brewers' grains are not allowed to be used for the cows that yield milk and butter for Copenhagen, the capital of the country that leads the world in dairy farming.

"The closing of the breweries can alone remove the objectionable conditions inseparable from the beer traffic"



A nation-wide campaign has been set in motion by the brewers to beguile the public by assaulting the distillers.

Distillers rarely sell direct to saloons as the brewers do.

Distillers do not own or back saloons.

Distillers are therefore not responsible for the lawless conditions of which the public complains—nor were they ever accused of stuffing the ballot box.

Whiskey leaves the distillery in an unadulterated condition, while beer is drugged at the brewery.

The average beer drinker consumes more alcohol than the average whiskey drinker.

The National Advocate (New York) maintains that "beer is a greater peril to manhood, home and society than whiskey ever has been or can be."

Are the attacks upon the distillers merely a ruse to conceal the fact that officers, directors and thousands of stockholders of the largest brewing companies in all parts of the country are either wholesale or retail whiskey dealers, or saloon keepers, or both?

If the brewers are sincere in their promise to divorce beer from whiskey, why have they not closed their own whiskey stores?

Why have they not placed a ban upon the sale of whiskey in all the saloons which they own and operate themselves?

Why have they not forbidden the sale of whiskey in all saloons? What is there to prevent it?

Is it not a fact that, with few exceptions, the so-called owners of saloons, not operated by brewers themselves, are merely slaves of the brewers, the latter owning either the property or the lease, the license and a chattel mortgage upon the fixtures in the place?

The truth is that a saloon keeper can not exist if his business should be restricted to the sale of beer—and the closing of a saloon means a loss to the brewer.

I quote here again from an editorial written by Mr. J. Frank Hanly, former Governor of Indiana, which appeared in the National Enquirer (Indianapolis), of which he is the editor, as follows:

"When the writer of this editorial was a candidate for the nomination for Governor of the State of Indiana it was not the distilling interests of the State, but the brewers, that sought to wring from him a promise that in consideration for his nomination he should, if elected, permit no temperance legislation during his term. It was the brewing interests of Indiana, not the distillers, that sought on the eve of election, after his nomination in spite of their opposition, to extort a like promise as the price of his election.

"It was the president of the Indiana Brewers' Association, and not a representative of the distillery interests of the State, that walked into the Governor's office in Indianapolis, and with the arrogance of a Hun announced that he had come to say to the Governor that a township and ward remonstrance law which the governor had recommended to the General Assembly for enactment could not be passed by the legislature. . . . .

"In all the history of the political and civil life of the American people there has been no combination or organization of power so brutal, so domineering, so corrupt, or so dead to every sense of civic interest or concern as the brewers of America. They have been and are the chief criminals, and no camouflage to which they may resort will save them. The people will see beneath the false pretense the bare, naked facts. The legislatures of the States will be organized into firing squads, and the beer trade will be compelled to meet its fate."



Because brewers control the saloons, it is also within their power to suppress "treating," stop the operation of disorderly hotels and private drinking rooms in conjunction with saloons, stop bookmaking and other forms of gambling, in short, remove any and all of the undesirable features connected with the saloon which are objected to by the public—but any serious disturbance with existing conditions would decrease the sale of beer.



The brewers know that the saloons are the meeting places of lawbreakers and disreputables, that they enter the side doors leading to private rooms where burglaries, holdups and other crimes are planned and the booty is divided—yet, brewers will make no real effort to improve these conditions.

Is it surprising that the public is clamoring for the complete elimination of the breweries?



On the other hand, if the saloons and other public drinking places were ousted but the breweries permitted to operate, drunkenness, crime and vice would invade the home.

If the people are determined to remove the objectionable elements inseparable from the beer traffic, they must close the breweries.



The Juvenile Protective Association of Chicago filed the following complaint with the Chief of Police:

"Schoenhofen's Hall

"One of the waiters serving drinks was no older than 14 years. At midnight this boy was sitting at one of the tables half asleep trying to support a drunken man. Fifty minors were illegally present. Ten minors drank intoxicants. Three minors were intoxicated. Twenty soldiers were drinking intoxicants. About fifteen soldiers were intoxicated. One of the soldiers dancing was so drunk that the girl could hardly hold him up. There were four instances of kissing, five of embracing, three of improper handling, and one fight."

The Peter Schoenhofen Brewing Company operates the largest brewery in Chicago.

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I want to say here, however, that not all the brewers are as black as they are painted. There are some among them who are clean and honest men who, bitterly resent the lawless methods of their colleagues.

Upon the request of the respectable element I have frequently warned the brewers of the country that nothing could save their industry unless they made up their minds to become law abiding citizens and stop fooling the people.

I have warned them on many occasions that they had no right to enlist the sympathy of the people as long as they persisted in defying the laws enacted by the people, but my warnings fell upon deaf ears.

What can cause greater hostility toward the brewers than the fact that midnight closing and Sunday laws are openly violated with their knowledge and connivance and that political influence and the liberal use of money will gain them immunity from prosecution?

Has it not frequently been said that the "dough bags" of the brewers control the courts and influence their decisions?

"Absence of drunkenness, law and order, and the reduction of crime to a minimum, have invariably followed the 'dry' wave"




How little my advice was heeded was clearly shown by, the appearance of a comparatively new vice—openly aided and abetted by brewers— which in a few years has spread its poisonous tentacles to all parts of the country. I refer to


What more can inflame the mind of the public against the brewers than these vulgar and liquor flowing twentieth century dives, especially when the fact is considered that many of these gilded hells are owned and operated by brewers themselves?

In many European cities similar resorts are classed among houses of ill repute and the same police regulations are applied to them. Here, they are brazenly advertised as "afternoon teas" to lure the unwary.

In my travels I have visited many of the most prominently advertised places of this kind in different parts of the country to study the habitues.

It can not be denied that most of these dives are the rendezvous of the demimonde, breeding places of vice, crime and degeneracy, and an ally of the white slave traffic.

They are keeping the divorce mills busy. Their glitter has led astray, caused the disappearance of and has driven to suicide innumerable young women, particularly from among those who have come from rural districts to seek employment in large cities. They have made criminals of many young men because their salaries would not permit them to lead the fast life of their newly made friends.

The principal source of profit to the keepers of these dives is, of course, the sale of alcoholic drinks—in most cases grossly adulterated despite the unreasonable prices exacted for same.

Female performers are frequently expected to drink with the patrons. Usually these women are paid a commission on the drinks they can persuade their dupes to purchase.

Scenes of indecency are openly indulged in by both sexes as the result of the excessive consumption of alcoholic drinks.

A recent development of the cabaret is the "hostess." Her duty is to "introduce" men and girls. In many instances hotels of questionable character are operated as an adjunct to these places.

The managers of a number of large hotels which have built up a reputation for respectability and exclusiveness have long ago seen the handwriting on the wall and therefore wisely placed a ban upon this evil. Ladies refuse to stop at hotels that attract an undesirable element by the operation of cabarets and present-day dances.

The fact that many of these places which are owned and operated by brewers themselves continue in full blast again discredits the statements of their press agents that "the cabaret must go."

Will the brewers continue their policy of defying the people until nation-wide prohibition will put a stop to these drunken orgies?

How a New York Brewer Advertises His Cabaret Resort

The following advertisement appeared in

The New York Times:




I have also many times urged the brewers to break away from their national organization, the United States Brewers' Association— also known as the Brewers Trust—because I felt convinced that they would sooner or later lay themselves open to exposure and criminal prosecution, and that it would further increase the hostility toward their industry if they should persist in their attempts to defeat the prohibition movement by the expenditure of money in corrupting elections, legislation and public officials.

Political contributions amounting to many millions of dollars, based upon the annual output of brewers throughout the country, are turned into their association.

Other enormous sums are collected from those who sell to brewers. They are expected to join a "league of manufacturers and dealers" organized to fight prohibition. From invoices rendered to brewers for goods purchased a certain amount is retained.

Officials of the United States Brewers' Association declare that checkbooks, bank passbooks, checks, stubs and correspondence are destroyed monthly, and that the only record left is the money the association has in bank.

That my warnings were justified was amply proven when, not long ago, the large brewing companies in the state of Texas were indicted charging them with the distribution of many millions of dollars to promote anti-prohibition legislation and the payment of the poll taxes of thousands of persons so that they could vote against prohibition. All of these breweries except one pleaded guilty to the charges against them and paid penalties aggregating $276,000, also expenses incurred by the Attorney General's office, totaling about $10,000, and the court costs, and they accepted an injunction restraining them from violating the state anti-trust laws and contributing to political campaigns in the future.

One hundred large brewing companies in the State of Pennsylvania, and officers of the United States Brewers' Association, were indicted by a Federal Grand Jury, charging conspiracy in the unlawful expenditure of money to influence elections at which votes for federal officials were cast.

The office of the United States Brewers' Association in the City of New York was raided and its files were seized. The secretary of the association was committed to jail.

It was alleged that these brewers raised and spent a fund exceeding $1,000,000, to influence the election of a United States senator and thirty-six members of the lower House of Congress and to pervert to selfish and sordid purposes the government of the nation.

The United States Attorney charged in court that these brewers had boasted in their circulars of their ability to poison the ranks of organized labor through labor unions, to kill at one session of Congress two hundred bills inimical to the liquor interests, and to capture entire states at elections.

Fines aggregating $50,000 were imposed upon thirty-three of these brewing companies. The United States Brewers' Association was fined $10,000—the maximum amount possible under the Federal law.

Federal authorities have hinted at a nation-wide traffic in election corruption. Intimations have come from the same source that similar indictments may be handed down against brewers in all parts of the country.

But even the scandalous exposures in Texas and Pennsylvania will not stop their interference with elections.

The truth is that the very nature of the business of the brewers makes it imperative that they retain a strong hold on the ballot box. By those methods alone have they been able to exist in the past. By those methods alone can they hope to save themselves.

In New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania, the mere suggestion to keepers of saloons, hotels and other places where liquor is sold that the "dry" wave may soon put them out of business usually brings forth the reply: "Our state will never go 'dry.' The brewers have too much money. They can buy all the votes required, as well as public officials, to kill any legislation hostile to them."



In Chicago, heretofore considered by the brewers one of their greatest strongholds, in order to enable the people to vote whether the city shall remain "wet" or become "dry," the law requires the filing of a petition with a certain number of signatures, but the brewers opposed even the right of the people to vote upon this important question and in glaring advertisements boldly advised them to withhold their signatures.

Attempts were also made to intimidate the circulators of the petitions by threatening them with prosecution for perjury unless they personally knew that all the signers were registered voters.

In spite of these methods, 148,802 signatures were obtained, 42,302 more than the 106,500 names required under the law.

Attempts made by politicians to defer the election for a year on the plea of "economy" were also unsuccessful. In many quarters same was branded as another ruse on the part of the brewers to prevent a "dry" vote.

"The beer traffic does not recognize the sanctity of the home"



Women know that the abolition of the beer traffic will prevent their children from becoming drunkards and criminals.

Women know that the abolition of the beer traffic means a full pay envelope on Saturday—a happier home—and more food and clothes for them and their children.

Women know that in the states where the beer traffic has been ousted, wage earners who formerly spent the greater part of their earnings in saloons have, since the advent of the "dry" wave, invested their savings in a house and lot, and in a few years were able to pay off the entire indebtedness—and now are masters of their own home.

That's the reason why brewers greatly fear the votes of women and why they consider woman suffrage the stepping stone to prohibition.



It is not the beer traffic alone, but the social and political crimes of the brewers, which is leading to rapid prohibitory laws all over the country.

People resent government by the brewers. People resent the election of legislators and other public officials, city, state and national, to serve ends hostile to social decency, to rule by the people, to the very life of the nation.


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