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As It Was: Rogue Valley Craft Beer Dates to Pioneer Days

Rogue Valley craft beer dates to pioneer days.  One of the first brewers was Viet Schutz of Jacksonville, Ore.  Over the years, many others have brewed their own suds.

In 1939, Sam Kroschel owned the A-One Brewing company in Medford Ore, and sold King Cole beer.  At 15 cents a bottle, it did not sell well, especially because beer drinkers could get three bottles for 25 cents of Rainier Brewery’s Brown Derby beer.  Kroschel lowered the price of a bottle of King Cole to 10 cents.

That same year, Kroschel began selling another beer by the keg only called A-One. His brew master, Adolph Binder, had strong opinions about properly enjoying beer.  He said, in these words, “Beer is at its best when released from the brewery. Through long experience and practice, the brew master knows just when the time is ripe when the beer is ‘tops.’”

He said to secure a rich, thick, and creamy foam, beer must be served in glasses washed grease-free with baking soda and cold water.

Said Kroschel, “Properly served, the ultimate degree of perfection is attained…a beer brilliant to the eye and refreshing to the taste.”

Sources: "Medford Brewery Introduces A-One Draft Beer Here." Medford Mail Tribune, 31 Mar. 1939, p. 5; "New Equipment Is Added to Brewery." Medford News, 21 July 1939, p. 1.

Alice Mullaly is a graduate of Oregon State and Stanford University, and taught mathematics for 42 years in high schools in Nyack, New York; Mill Valley, California; and Hedrick Junior High School in Medford. Alice has been an Southern Oregon Historical Society volunteer for nearly 30 years, the source of many of her “As It Was” stories.