MEMORIAL DEDICATION CEREMONY TO COMMEMORATE PIONEER DELAWARE BREWER
The First State’s Father of Lager Beer Inspired an Industry
September 28, 2021
Wilmington, Delaware – The gravesite of Delaware’s Father of Lager Beer, Christian Krauch, has been without a marker since his death 150 years ago. To correct this historic oversight and recognize the sesquicentennial of Krauch’s death, a newly-placed monument is being unveiled at the Wilmington & Brandywine Cemetery on Saturday morning, October 23, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. The public is encourage to attend the dedication ceremony.
Delaware beer historian and author John Medkeff Jr. organized the publicly funded campaign, which concluded in early September. The Krauch family, Wilmington Brew Works, and two organizations to which Krauch once belonged – Washington Lodge No. 1 and the Delaware Saengerbund and Library Association – assisted with the fund-raising effort.
According to Medkeff’s book Brewing in Delaware (Arcardia Publishing), Krauch was one of America’s earliest lager beer brewers and certainly one of the most influential figures in the state’s brewing history.
Krauch got his start brewing in his Philadelphia saloon after his arrival from Bavaria in 1838. Two years later, German brewer John Wagner arrived in the Quaker City with what is believed to have been the first lager yeast to reach U.S. shores. By 1850, Krauch relocated his saloon and brewing business to the burgeoning city of Wilmington and introduced lager beer to the First State. He was a respected elder of Wilmington’s German community and helped found the singing club that would later become the Delaware Saengerbund.
Though Krauch never realized financial success in his lifetime, he inspired the next generation of Wilmington brewers. With the popularity of and demand for lager beer dramatically increasing after the Civil War, Krauch disciples John Fehrenbach and Joseph Stoeckle helped transform the once modest brewing occupation into one of Delaware’s largest and most profitable industries.
Fate would not be as kind to Christian Krauch. By 1860, his humble brewing operation was eclipsed by Wilmington beer manufacturers. At the time of his death in 1870, Krauch was practically penniless and was buried in an unmarked grave.
Krauch’s contributions to Delaware history were largely forgotten. However, in recent years, his name and legacy have been invoked both in Medkeff’s book and by Wilmington Brew Works’ flagship helles lager beer, Krauch’s Creation.
According to Wilmington Brew Works CEO Craig Wensell, “We’ve been happy to assist in properly recognizing Christian Krauch. As a brewery with local roots, it’s important to look at our city’s past as much as we look to the future. We named the first lager beer we produced after Krauch because of the historic impact he had on Wilmington and Delaware brewing in general.”