Topics

Beer Shipments in 1950


David Payne
 

I attempted to search for this subject before asking here ...

How prevalent were beer shipments by rail in 1950 and what type(s) of cars were principally used to handle this business? Particularly, I am interested in shipments destined for Georgia or Alabama.

Thank you.

David Payne


Dave Nelson
 

In 1950 Georgia was #9 in the list of states who received beer by rail
shipments, about 2.68% of all such shipments nationally. I don't see the
number of carloads that required... it's around here somewhere and I just
need to find it.

Roughly half of all rail shipped beer originated in the Midwest. In order
of most shipments, WI, IL, OH, MO.

Dave Nelson

-----Original Message-----
From: STMFC@yahoogroups.com [mailto:STMFC@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
David
Sent: Wednesday, November 06, 2013 2:07 PM

How prevalent were beer shipments by rail in 1950 and what type(s) of cars
were principally used to handle this business? Particularly, I am
interested in shipments destined for Georgia or Alabama.

Thank you.

David Payne


Andy Laurent
 

Beer shipments typically travelled in kegs in reefers.  Milwaukee had a good concentration of breweries, served by CMSTPP...lots of URTX and western cars.  I've posted a picture in the files section of PFE 66317 being unloaded in Algoma, Wisc on the Ahnapee & Western house track by a beer distributor.  The carload would have originated in Milwaukee at Schlitz.

File name is "-HH06770 R L Holtz Beer Load 1952.JPG"
Andy Laurent


Clark Propst
 

I included a list of beer cars to and from a small distributor in a rural Minnesota town in my Naperville handout. I will copy it to this email, but I’m sure with this groups format the thing won’t stay together. Hope you’ll be able to figure out the columns?

This beer is most likely from either the Twin Cities or Milwaukee.

FAIRFAX Minn.
DATE INITIALS NUMBER LADING TYPE SERIES INBOUND OUTBOUND BUSINESS
5/28/1947 BREX 78337 BEER RS 78200-78699 INBOUND FULLERTON BOTTLING
5/29/1947 BREX 78337 EMPTIES RS 78200-78699 OUTBOUND FULLERTON BOTTLING
6/26/1947 SFRD 32448 BEER RS 31656-33155 INBOUND FULLERTON BOTTLING
6/26/1947 SFRD 32448 EMPTIES RS 31656-33155 OUTBOUND FULLERTON BOTTLING
7/22/1947 ART 23766 BEER RS 22979-24999 INBOUND FULLERTON BOTTLING
7/22/1947 ART 23766 EMPTIES RS 22979-24999 OUTBOUND FULLERTON BOTTLING
8/21/1947 WFEX 66311 BEER RS 65000-66349 INBOUND FULLERTON BOTTLING
8/23/1947 WFEX 66311 EMPTIES RS 65000-66349 OUTBOUND FULLERTON BOTTLING
8/29/1947 FGEX 45400 BEER RS 43500-46797 INBOUND FULLERTON BOTTLING
8/30/1947 FGEX 45400 EMPTIES RS 43500-46797 OUTBOUND FULLERTON BOTTLING
9/19/1947 ART 20933 BEER RS 20000-20999 INBOUND FULLERTON BOTTLING
9/19/1947 ART 20933 EMPTIES RS 20000-20999 OUTBOUND FULLERTON BOTTLING
10/25/1947 FGEX 11637 BEER RS 11350-13999 INBOUND FULLERTON BOTTLING
10/25/1947 FGEX 11637 EMPTIES RS 11350-13999 OUTBOUND FULLERTON BOTTLING
2/5/1948 WRX 9124 BEER RS 9000-9999 INBOUND FULLERTON BOTTLING
2/5/1948 WRX 9124 EMPTIES RS 9000-9999 OUTBOUND FULLERTON BOTTLING
5/5/1948 NP 90168 BEER RS 91000-91249 INBOUND FULLERTON BOTTLING
5/5/1948 NP 90168 EMPTIES RS 91000-91249 OUTBOUND FULLERTON BOTTLING
5/21/1948 ART 22156 BEER RS 22141-22818 INBOUND FULLERTON BOTTLING
5/21/1948 ART 22156 EMPTIES RS 22141-22818 OUTBOUND FULLERTON BOTTLING
6/4/1948 WFEX 65801 BEER RS 65000-66349 INBOUND FULLERTON BOTTLING
6/4/1948 WFEX 65801 EMPTIES RS 65000-66349 OUTBOUND FULLERTON BOTTLING
7/12/1948 MDT 4537 BEER RS 4000-4999 INBOUND FULLERTON BOTTLING
7/13/1948 MDT 4537 EMPTIES RS 4000-4999 INBOUND FULLERTON BOTTLING

Clark Propst
Mason City Iowa


Douglas Harding
 

And don’t forget that Anheuser-Busch owned The Manufacturers Railway Company (reporting mark MRS) in St. Louis. MRS was shut down in 2011 after the AB brewery switched to trucks for shipping their brewery products. And Coors in Golden Colorado is also a heavy user of rail for shipping beer. I have seen a number of insulated boxcars at their plant when visiting the Railroad Museum in Golden.

 

I believe a lot of beer was shipped in insulated boxcars, ie RBLs. The MRS cars looked like reefers, but with no ice bunkers. Years ago I used some MDC 36’ reefer kits, minus the ice hatches, to model some MRS beer cars for my 1949 era layout. Lettering came from Clover House. The MRS cars were not lettered as being beer cars or lettered for AB, to protect the cargo. Stories abound of break ins of cars containing beer and so marked.

 

Doug Harding

www.iowacentralrr.org

 


Andy Sperandeo
 

The table came through fine, Clark,

And to back it up, photos we studied for Model Railroader's Beer Line layout project showed Schlitz in Milwaukee loading primarily RS reefers with outbound product. The beer mostly wasn't refrigerated, but the reefers were used for their insulation at a time when insulated boxcars (RBLs) were much less common than they were later.

So long,

Andy


Alexander Schneider Jr
 

Was the insulation needed to avoid spoilage in summer, freezing in winter or both?
 
Assuming the beer was at about 60 degrees when shipped, and had to be kept above 32 to prevent freezing, how long could it be in transit at say 20 degrees? 0 degrees? Presumably there would be some solar heat gain but negligible in the winter.
 
Did the shipper or the railroads have tables to guide their shipping clerks?
 
Alex Schneider

From: Andy Sperandeo
To: "STMFC@..."
Sent: Thursday, November 7, 2013 9:16 AM
Subject: Re: [STMFC] Re: Beer Shipments in 1950



The table came through fine, Clark,

And to back it up, photos we studied for Model Railroader's Beer Line layout project showed Schlitz in Milwaukee loading primarily RS reefers with outbound product. The beer mostly wasn't refrigerated, but the reefers were used for their insulation at a time when insulated boxcars (RBLs) were much less common than they were later.

So long,

Andy






Dennis Storzek
 

 



---In STMFC@..., <doug.harding@...> wrote:

 

I believe a lot of beer was shipped in insulated boxcars, ie RBLs. The MRS cars looked like reefers, but with no ice bunkers. Years ago I used some MDC 36’ reefer kits, minus the ice hatches, to model some MRS beer cars for my 1949 era layout. Lettering came from Clover House. The MRS cars were not lettered as being beer cars or lettered for AB, to protect the cargo. Stories abound of break ins of cars containing beer and so marked.

 

Doug Harding

www.iowacentralrr.org


The MRS cars of the fifties were AAR class RB, Refrigerator, Bunkerless. RBL's (Refrigerator, Bunkerless, Loader equipped) are mostly too modern an innovation for the era of this list. Since most breweries didn't own their own railroads, or equipment, they shipped in what the railroads could provide, which was RS produce reefers being used un-iced as insulated cars.


Dennis Storzek

 


pennsylvania1954
 

Hi David--A local friend models the Milwaukee's Beer Line in 1954 as part of his larger layout. A Beer Line email list can be found at  http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/Beerlinemodelers/conversations/topics. Lots of good photos. Pabst and Blatz breweries were serviced by that line, but the predominant shipper was Schlitz.


In the research for that line in the early 50's, we found that many Schlitz shipments were in Dairy Shippers Despatch Company (DSDX) RS and RB reefers dedicated to Schlitz. From what we have found the RS cars were  formerly wood MDT cars. The Accurail wood reefers seem close enough so a small fleet has been painted and lettered for DSDX. The RB cars, at least the 4000 series, were custom built steel cars with small reefer side doors but without ice hatches or bunkers. These cars have a unique side panel and rivet pattern so no easy model is available. "Close enough" is achieved with several IM steel reefers with boxcar roofs, again painted and lettered for DSDX. Keg beer was not pastuerized so temperature control was important. It was less an issue for pateurized bottled beer. On the model railroad, op sessions are in September so ambient heat can be an issue. The normal practice is to ship kegs only in cars with ice hatches.


The photo of the PFE reefer with Schlitz kegs is interesting. Although we have accepted that hauling beer in a major reefer line car was certainly possible, until today no photo evidence had been found. Seasonal availability of these cars varied of course but now there is an additional operational possibility.


The early 50's were well before the major brewers began distributing breweries around the country. Schlitz was brewed only in Milwaukee and shipped all around the country by rail. Also the Anheuser Busch brands were only brewed in St. Louis. A-B also had a dedicated reefer line, St. Louis Refrigerator Car Co. (SLRX). (Yes, similar to Swift's SRLX.) Sunshine offers a SLRX kit, and a Atlas (ex-Branchline) wood reefer can be painted and lettered into a very credible car.


Interestingly, one of the books on MILW's Beer Line has a photo showing a SLRX reefer in Milwaukee.


The bottom line is that in 1950 DSDX and SLRX RB and RS cars would have been seen in every part of the country. 


Steve Hoxie

Pensacola FL









---In STMFC@..., <andy.laurent@...> wrote:

Beer shipments typically travelled in kegs in reefers.  Milwaukee had a good concentration of breweries, served by CMSTPP...lots of URTX and western cars.  I've posted a picture in the files section of PFE 66317 being unloaded in Algoma, Wisc on the Ahnapee & Western house track by a beer distributor.  The carload would have originated in Milwaukee at Schlitz.

File name is "-HH06770 R L Holtz Beer Load 1952.JPG"
Andy Laurent


Tony Thompson
 

Doug Harding wrote:
 
 believe a lot of beer was shipped in insulated boxcars, ie RBLs. The MRS cars looked like reefers, but with no ice bunkers. 

       In the steam and transition era, there were (statistically) no insulated box cars. The bunkerless reefers were AAR type RB. The RBL is a bunkerless car with load restraining devices, thus the "L," but these came along later. The relatively few RBs, along with plenty of conventional RS cars, were used in place of the insulated box car in the transition era. There are lots of data to support this.
       There are cargo lists identifying canned goods, including beer, being shipped in RS cars, along with the predominant cargo, kegs. There are similar bits of information for wine shipped in barrels, and a familiar Wilbur Whittaker photo of such kegs being unloaded from a PFE car.

Tony Thompson             Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705         www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, tony@...
Publishers of books on railroad history





Tom Fedor
 

Andy,

I opened your photo and with Photoshop, lightened the interior of the reefer to reveal that the right half of the car's load appears to include stacked cases of beer. The load doesn't appear to be secure. So unless the entire shipment was being unloaded, those cases would definitely shift during movement. If this picture was not a candid moment, maybe that back drop of logo cases was arranged for the photo-op.

I uploaded the file.

-Tom Fedor, Thurmont, MD




---In stmfc@..., <stevehprr@...> wrote:

Hi David--A local friend models the Milwaukee's Beer Line in 1954 as part of his larger layout. A Beer Line email list can be found at  http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/Beerlinemodelers/conversations/topics. Lots of good photos. Pabst and Blatz breweries were serviced by that line, but the predominant shipper was Schlitz.


In the research for that line in the early 50's, we found that many Schlitz shipments were in Dairy Shippers Despatch Company (DSDX) RS and RB reefers dedicated to Schlitz. From what we have found the RS cars were  formerly wood MDT cars. The Accurail wood reefers seem close enough so a small fleet has been painted and lettered for DSDX. The RB cars, at least the 4000 series, were custom built steel cars with small reefer side doors but without ice hatches or bunkers. These cars have a unique side panel and rivet pattern so no easy model is available. "Close enough" is achieved with several IM steel reefers with boxcar roofs, again painted and lettered for DSDX. Keg beer was not pastuerized so temperature control was important. It was less an issue for pateurized bottled beer. On the model railroad, op sessions are in September so ambient heat can be an issue. The normal practice is to ship kegs only in cars with ice hatches.


The photo of the PFE reefer with Schlitz kegs is interesting. Although we have accepted that hauling beer in a major reefer line car was certainly possible, until today no photo evidence had been found. Seasonal availability of these cars varied of course but now there is an additional operational possibility.


The early 50's were well before the major brewers began distributing breweries around the country. Schlitz was brewed only in Milwaukee and shipped all around the country by rail. Also the Anheuser Busch brands were only brewed in St. Louis. A-B also had a dedicated reefer line, St. Louis Refrigerator Car Co. (SLRX). (Yes, similar to Swift's SRLX.) Sunshine offers a SLRX kit, and a Atlas (ex-Branchline) wood reefer can be painted and lettered into a very credible car.


Interestingly, one of the books on MILW's Beer Line has a photo showing a SLRX reefer in Milwaukee.


The bottom line is that in 1950 DSDX and SLRX RB and RS cars would have been seen in every part of the country. 


Steve Hoxie

Pensacola FL









---In STMFC@..., <andy.laurent@...> wrote:

Beer shipments typically travelled in kegs in reefers.  Milwaukee had a good concentration of breweries, served by CMSTPP...lots of URTX and western cars.  I've posted a picture in the files section of PFE 66317 being unloaded in Algoma, Wisc on the Ahnapee & Western house track by a beer distributor.  The carload would have originated in Milwaukee at Schlitz.

File name is "-HH06770 R L Holtz Beer Load 1952.JPG"
Andy Laurent


rwitt_2000
 

I had an uncle who worked for Pabst in Milwaukee and I recall sometime in the mid-1950s he took a new job as a fork lift operator loading refrigerator cars. So at some time those "stacked" cases were on pallets and had to be secured in some manner - with bands? I never thought to ask my uncle how they loaded beer in reefers before pallets and fork lifts.


Taverns in Wisconsin actually used a lot of beer in cases. Some patrons thought it was better than draft. There also were "shorty's", I believe 7 oz bottles, that sold for less than the usual 12 oz bottle and these also came in cases.


Bob Witt



---In STMFC@..., <FrederickJct@...> wrote:

Andy,

I opened your photo and with Photoshop, lightened the interior of the reefer to reveal that the right half of the car's load appears to include stacked cases of beer. The load doesn't appear to be secure. So unless the entire shipment was being unloaded, those cases would definitely shift during movement. If this picture was not a candid moment, maybe that back drop of logo cases was arranged for the photo-op.

I uploaded the file.

-Tom Fedor, Thurmont, MD




---In stmfc@..., <stevehprr@...> wrote:

Hi David--A local friend models the Milwaukee's Beer Line in 1954 as part of his larger layout. A Beer Line email list can be found at  http://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/Beerlinemodelers/conversations/topics. Lots of good photos. Pabst and Blatz breweries were serviced by that line, but the predominant shipper was Schlitz.


In the research for that line in the early 50's, we found that many Schlitz shipments were in Dairy Shippers Despatch Company (DSDX) RS and RB reefers dedicated to Schlitz. From what we have found the RS cars were  formerly wood MDT cars. The Accurail wood reefers seem close enough so a small fleet has been painted and lettered for DSDX. The RB cars, at least the 4000 series, were custom built steel cars with small reefer side doors but without ice hatches or bunkers. These cars have a unique side panel and rivet pattern so no easy model is available. "Close enough" is achieved with several IM steel reefers with boxcar roofs, again painted and lettered for DSDX. Keg beer was not pastuerized so temperature control was important. It was less an issue for pateurized bottled beer. On the model railroad, op sessions are in September so ambient heat can be an issue. The normal practice is to ship kegs only in cars with ice hatches.


The photo of the PFE reefer with Schlitz kegs is interesting. Although we have accepted that hauling beer in a major reefer line car was certainly possible, until today no photo evidence had been found. Seasonal availability of these cars varied of course but now there is an additional operational possibility.


The early 50's were well before the major brewers began distributing breweries around the country. Schlitz was brewed only in Milwaukee and shipped all around the country by rail. Also the Anheuser Busch brands were only brewed in St. Louis. A-B also had a dedicated reefer line, St. Louis Refrigerator Car Co. (SLRX). (Yes, similar to Swift's SRLX.) Sunshine offers a SLRX kit, and a Atlas (ex-Branchline) wood reefer can be painted and lettered into a very credible car.


Interestingly, one of the books on MILW's Beer Line has a photo showing a SLRX reefer in Milwaukee.


The bottom line is that in 1950 DSDX and SLRX RB and RS cars would have been seen in every part of the country. 


Steve Hoxie

Pensacola FL









---In STMFC@..., <andy.laurent@...> wrote:

Beer shipments typically travelled in kegs in reefers.  Milwaukee had a good concentration of breweries, served by CMSTPP...lots of URTX and western cars.  I've posted a picture in the files section of PFE 66317 being unloaded in Algoma, Wisc on the Ahnapee & Western house track by a beer distributor.  The carload would have originated in Milwaukee at Schlitz.

File name is "-HH06770 R L Holtz Beer Load 1952.JPG"
Andy Laurent


Tim O'Connor
 

Back before belt rails and bulkheads I think shippers built various
kinds of braced structures nailed to the box car floors, or they used
dunnage to brace the load, and all of this became waste when the car
was unloaded. Reefers must have been more problematic with their metal
floors...

Tim O'Connor

I had an uncle who worked for Pabst in Milwaukee and I recall sometime in the mid-1950s he took a new job as a fork lift operator loading refrigerator cars. So at some time those "stacked" cases were on pallets and had to be secured in some manner - with bands? I never thought to ask my uncle how they loaded beer in reefers before pallets and fork lifts.

Taverns in Wisconsin actually used a lot of beer in cases. Some patrons thought it was better than draft. There also were "shorty's", I believe 7 oz bottles, that sold for less than the usual 12 oz bottle and these also came in cases.

Bob Witt


Dennis Storzek
 

 



---In STMFC@..., <rwitt_2000@...> wrote:

I had an uncle who worked for Pabst in Milwaukee and I recall sometime in the mid-1950s he took a new job as a fork lift operator loading refrigerator cars. So at some time those "stacked" cases were on pallets and had to be secured in some manner - with bands? I never thought to ask my uncle how they loaded beer in reefers before pallets and fork lifts.


===========================
I worked with a guy years ago who had worked at the old Meister Brau brewery in Chicago, for one day only, loading freight cars with beer. Given his age, this must have been about 1958 or 60. He recalled that the shipping department had four car spots, and four doors, all used concurrency. A roller conveyor ran from the end of the bottling line to extensions run into the center of each car. There was an employee whose job it was to divert the cases that came down the line to each car in turn.

In each car four men worked. Each picked a corner of the car and walked a continuous circle, grabbing a case in turn and adding it to the stack in his corner as the car slowly filled. He said the work really sucked, but at least you could drink all the beer you wanted, but the beer was warm, and as the day wore on it made him sick. The loaders were all day labors, skid row bums that worked a day to get some money with no intention of coming back the next. My buddy said that one day was enough for him, and he never went back either.

Dennis


Tony Thompson
 

Bob Witt wrote:

 
I had an uncle who worked for Pabst in Milwaukee and I recall sometime in the mid-1950s he took a new job as a fork lift operator loading refrigerator cars. So at some time those "stacked" cases were on pallets and had to be secured in some manner - with bands? I never thought to ask my uncle how they loaded beer in reefers before pallets and fork lifts.

       The standard ice reefer in the first half of the 1950s, with four-foot door opening, could not be loaded with a fork lift and pallets (nor could a SFRD car with five-foot opening). This Pabst recollection clearly refers to the plug-door reefers (both ice and mechanical) of the second half of the 1950s.

Tony Thompson             Editor, Signature Press, Berkeley, CA
2906 Forest Ave., Berkeley, CA 94705         www.signaturepress.com
(510) 540-6538; fax, (510) 540-1937; e-mail, tony@...
Publishers of books on railroad history