History in a Bottle: How Historic German Immigrants Used Beer to Claim Citizenship

When historic Brewmaster Christian Heurich immigrated to the US in 1866, he brought his German brewing knowledge, and hired hundreds of German immigrants to manufacture the beer for his Chr. Heurich Brewing Co (1872-1956). We can credit German immigrants like them for introducing the nation to lager drinking and tavern culture. However, their influence was not without controversy, and it caused debates in the early 20th century about immigration, race, and citizenship.

How did German immigrants use beer to claim local and national citizenship? How did these claims change with the US’s entrance into WWI and influence the move towards Prohibition? How does the history of German beer in DC help us understand histories of immigration, race, and statehood in DC? How does this history help us explore and advocate for equity in our city today?

On Saturday, October 21st from 12-4pm join the Heurich House Museum and DC’s Historic Preservation Office (DC HPO) for History in a Bottle: How Historic German Immigrants Used Beer to Claim Citizenship in Washington, DC.

Explore stations with Nikki Grigg, a PhD candidate volunteering with DC HPO on different archaeology projects, and DC HPO staff. Learn about late 19th - early 20th century glass beer, liquor, and soda/mineral water bottles, growlers, tankards, stemware, and tavern/taproom/beer garden tobacco pipes and spittoons artifacts from the DC HPO collection.

Learn more about Chr. Heurich Brewing history and visit the museum’s exhibit “HOME/BREWED” while grabbing a taste of the museum’s public history project, historic revival Senate Beer, with our partner Right Proper Brewing Co.

Right Place Studio will also be in the garden engraving glassware, including new 12 oz Senate Beer glassware.

This event is free. RSVPs are requested. The museum’s biergarten, 1921, will be open and feature a selection of local craft beers for purchase. Glass engraving is for purchase.


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