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    Why The Name of the New Stroh’s IPA Reflects the Company’s Past
    Featured image provided by Wystan via Flickr

    Some drink it while they’re mowing the lawn. Others prefer it while sticking their feet over the side of a boat. Many Detroiters remember their fathers and grandfathers drinking it after a long day of work. This week, we’re thinking about an iconic Detroit brewer, Stroh’s, and the legacy they’ve built in this city. We’re also thinking about them because of the new Stroh’s IPA.

    In 2016, the company moved back to Detroit after a long stint in Milwaukee, and to commemorate their return, they released their first new Stroh beer in decades: a Bohemian-style pilsner. But before we get too excited about all this, we want to dive into the brand behind the lion-themed crest that adorns their cans and bottles.

    A Bit of History

    Bernhard Stroh immigrated to the United States during the German revolution in 1848. Before that, he apprenticed with his father. Two years after arriving in the US with, as Forbes puts it, with “$150 and a coveted family recipe for beer,” Stroh established a brewery of his very own in Detroit and called it Lion’s Head Brewery.

    The name, of course, came from his logo, but his logo came from Kyrburg Castle in Kirn, Germany. The symbol eventually would come to stand for Detroit’s beloved beer.

    Upswing and Decline

    The company survived Prohibition by transitioning from beer to ice cream. In the 1980’s, six generations after they started, the Stroh family were working hard to become nationally recognized brewers. First they acquired F&M Schaefer, another brewing company founded by a German immigrant. After that, they bought Schlitz, which turned them into the third largest brewing company in the country.

    However, this put them in competition with long-established companies like Anheuser-Busch and Coors. By 1999, the company was in such decline that they were purchased by Miller Brewing and Pabst. Over the next decade, the Stroh family slowly ran out of money while Pabst steadily sold and brewed their beers.

    Old Sign Despite New Stroh's Beer

    Stroh’s sign on brick. Detroit, MI. // Image by Kathy Drasky via Flickr

    The Stroh Revival

    The year was 2016. The craft beer boom was in full swing, especially in West Michigan where Founders and Bell’s were the stars of the scene. Low-cost brands like Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR) had already been co-opted by “hipster culture,” and you could still buy Stroh’s in cans. That August, however, something amazing happened.

    After years of remaining dormant, Stroh’s announced that they were releasing a new beer: a Bohemian-Style Pilsner from a treasured archival recipe. Beer lovers rejoiced.

    On top of this announcement was the news that the company was going to brew this new Stroh’s in Detroit again after years of brewing elsewhere. Their new location would be Brew Detroit LLC in Corktown, a 68,000-square-foot facility that also brewed (and still brews) for local favorites like Atwater and Motor City Brewing Works.

    A New Stroh’s IPA Emerges

    On Wednesday, May 9th, Brew Detroit had a “first pour” event to celebrate the release of their latest brew, Perseverance, an India Pale Ale (IPA). It seems like the perfect name to represent a company that’s been through so much. The Stroh legacy has survived for 168 years, helping millions of hard working people unwind after long days of work. The name also reflects the city where the company started and where they have returned to; a city that has been through tough times in the past few decades, and is now on the rise.

    “With the heart of a lion and the strength of Detroit we are still here, still brewing.”

    It’s a quote on the new Stroh’s website that we think sums up their legacy perfectly, and it’s a sentiment we feel is worth drinking to.

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