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History on tap

MRHC fundraiser highlights local brew culture’s past

By AMY GRIGAS

Journal Staff Writer

MARQUETTE — Prohibition on alcohol was passed into law in 1919 and went into effect across the nation in January 1920. But before that, individual states were able to vote on banning booze, and Michigan was an early supporter.

Michigan was the first state to vote on and approve Prohibition, and it was also the first state to vote to reverse the law when it ended in 1933.

These were just some of the facts discussed Wednesday for a Brew History fundraiser at the Marquette Regional History Center.

“We always try to come up with creative, fun, different fundraisers. You know, there are a lot of the same and we really try to be different,” said Cris Osier, executive director of the history center. “We have a lot of great historical images and stories and factual information about brewing in Marquette’s past, so what better way then pairing it with Craft Beer Week.”

Wrapping up Sunday, Marquette’s Craft Beer Week began Tuesday and includes the 11th annual U.P. Fall Beer Festival, which is organized by the Michigan Brewers Guild and takes place today at Mattson Lower Harbor Park.

The history center partnered with Ryan Engemann of Upper Peninsula Brewing Co. for the fundraiser.

Engemann brewed a collaboration brew with Drifa Brewing and Cognition Brewing Co. called Rhyma Sahti, a traditional Finnish ale for the event. Available to sample from Blackrocks Brewery was its Drei Kaiser pilsner, which was made to honor the historic Drei Kaiser beer. Ore Dock Brewing Co. had its Porter, Reclamation IPA and Saison available to sample.

Attendees were able to taste five different beers, have appetizers and listen to the presenters.

“We wanted to bring three experts in different ways to share stories and to have it be a learning experience as well,” said Osier.

Engemann started off the presentations for the night with a brief history of Upper Peninsula Brewing Co. and a history of each beer that was available to sample.

Bill Van Kosky, a history center member who also hosts programs, has been a bottle collector for 50 years. He told of his hobby scouring the Upper Peninsula digging for bottles and expanding his knowledge of brewing history.

Russ Magnaghi, a local historian and retired professor from Northern Michigan University, has written books on Prohibition and its impact on Upper Peninsula, which he discussed Wednesday.

Local radio personality and history buff Jim Koski shared stories about nightlife and different bars in town from past generations.

For more information on the Marquette Regional History Center, visit www.marquettehistory.org.

Amy Grigas can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 243. Her email address is agrigas@miningjournal.net.