Re: Beer Reefers for Everyone


The topic of freight car fleets used to move beer would be a great clinic topic for RPM Chicagoland if anyone has some extra time and the inclination to pull it all together! Sounds like there is some knowledge of the St. Louis and Milwaukee fleets here. I can help with photos of the DSDX cars...

Any takers?? <grin>

Mike Skibbe

On Jun 3, 2016, at 2:50 PM, Jeffrey White [STMFC] <> wrote:

Prohibition lives and not just in the South.

Illinois permitted every political subdivision (county, township, city,
ward and precinct) to decide if they were going to be wet or dry after
the repeal of prohibition. The law permitted that decision to be made
either by a vote of the elected representatives (i.e. county board, city
council) or by referendum. The law also states that once that decision
was made, it can only be changed by the same method it was made. In
other words, if the city council or county board voted to go wet, then
the city council or county board could return toe political subdivision
to dry. And if the wet/dry decision was made by referendum, then it can
only be changed by referendum.

This created a patchwork of wet/dry areas in Illinois that still exists.
During the time period we cover, much of rural Illinois was dry.

Of course alcoholic beverages still passed through the dry areas and
often there was a county that was dry but one or more municipalities in
the county were wet.

Anheuser Busch products were brewed only in St Louis until 1951 when
they opened a brewery in Newark, NJ. This later expanded to 9 breweries
in various parts of the country but much of that expansion happened
after the cutoff date of this list.

Busch began pasteurizing their beer in the early 1870s and shipped it

The Anheuser Busch website says this about the company owned cars:

"Refrigerated Railcars- Adolphus expanded the use of refrigerated
railcars, which were first introduced at the 1876 Centennial Exhibition
in Philadelphia. By 1877, Adolphus was using 40 cars built by the
Tiffany Refrigerator Car Company of Chicago. In 1878, Adolphus and three
other businessmen established the St. Louis Refrigerator Car Co., which
later provided Anheuser-Busch with a fleet of 850 refrigerator cars to
transport beer throughout the nation.

Rail-side Ice Houses- Ice was another variable that Adolphus had to
manage in the shipment of his beer to distant markets. Ice melts, so in
order to keep the refrigerated railcars cold, fresh supplies needed to
be stored so that the cars could be repacked. To make sure the company
had an ample supply of fresh ice, Anheuser-Busch built a series of ice
houses and storage depots. When the railcars pulled in after traveling a
distance, they could stop and reload with fresh ice."

I wasn't aware that the company built it's own ice houses. I wonder
where they were located and how long they lasted?

Jeff White

Alma, IL




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